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New LotR games confirmed

PC RTS sequel, Tactics for PSP.

Electronic Arts has confirmed that two new Lord of the Rings games are currently in development, revealing that both will feature characters, environments and battle scenarios not seen in the Peter Jackson movies.

Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II is the sequel to the popular PC real-time strategy game, and is being developed by EA's Los Angeles studio. We're promised a "deeper, richer, bigger game" complete with "new fantasy races, places, heroes and battles from both the books and the films," according to producer Mike Verdu.

Then there's Lord of the Rings Tactics for PSP, which allows you to lead the Fellowship in their fight for good or control the forces of Shadow and batter everyone to death. It's a tactical strategy game featuring customisable characters and plenty of items, skills and upgrades to earn and collect.

Fighting across famous locations from both the novels and the films, you'll need to think strategically to win each battle - seizing the higher ground, setting up ambushes, trapping enemies and the like in order to save the day. Plus there's four-player Wi-Fi matches and "a unique, simultaneous turn-taking system" that's designed to make sure it all moves along at a healthy pace.

"Now that we are expanding our Lord of the Rings universe to encompass Tolkien's books, we'll be able to combine the visual impact of the films with those complex stories," said producer Steve Gray.

"The RPG genre, in particular, is a great medium for story telling. We are delving into unexplored depths of Tolkien's works to deliver new, compelling and immersive experiences."

EA has yet to announce a release date for either game, but rumour has it that LotR Tactics could be with us by the end of the year.