Electronic Arts released The Lord of the Rings: Conquest in January and as it turns out, it was their last crack at the franchise. Their rights to produce Lord of the Rings video games have expired.

EA has had its hand in ten different LOTR games, including tie-ins for the films The Two Towers and Return of the King. Their best effort was probably the 2004 real-time strategy game Battle for Middle-earth, developed in-house by Red Alert 3 studio EA Los Angeles.

Variety reports that the video game rights are now back with New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Warner Bros. has its own video game publishing unit these days - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment - so they'll likely hang onto the LOTR franchise now rather than licensing it out. Who wouldn't want to publish tie-in games for the possible two Hobbit films, after all? There's such a huge fan base for the franchise that games not specifically tied to films could be very lucrative as well.

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