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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
Video game
DeveloperSnowblind Studios
PublisherWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
PlatformPlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360
Release date2011
GenreAction, Role-playing game
ModesSingle player, two/three-player co-operative, online[1]
RatingESRB: M[2]

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is an upcoming role-playing video-game developed by Snowblind Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows. The game takes place during the War of the Ring but adapts the seldom-mentioned battles that took place across Eriador and Rhovanion. The game will be released in 2011.



Whilst the Fellowship of the Ring travels towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring, Sauron has sent one of his most cruel servants, the Black Númenórean Agandaûr, to the North to destroy Rivendell and defeat the Free Peoples of Eriador and Rhovanion. The player controls his own fellowship, a trio of fighters - a Dúnadan "Ranger of the North," an elven "Loremaster of Rivendell" and a dwarvern "Champion of Eriador" - to get behind enemy lines and have to stop Agandaûr before his plan succeeds.

Although the game includes familiar locations from Middle-earth it doesn't deal with the core story of The Lord of the Rings, instead choosing to create a tale which didn't happen but could have done.[3]


Developed in association with Middle-earth Enterprises, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North explores both original and familiar narrative elements as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment holds the rights to develop video games based on both the literary and motion picture content from The Lord of the Rings. Breaking new ground as a mature RPG video game set in Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North advances the RPG paradigm through innovative online, interdependent co-op play for up to three players who form their own Fellowship to fight Sauron’s forces in the North.

In The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, players can become the heroes in the great battle of the North as part of the epic War of the Ring. Exploring unseen lands, story elements and characters from Middle-earth as well as elements familiar from past feature films, gamers will experience extensive character customization and development, expansive co-op gameplay options and upgradeable weapons, skills and special abilities.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, product announcement[1]

Commentators have noted that this is the first iteration of The Lord of the Rings-based games which is aimed at an older audience - predicted to be the first game in the series to be given and M-rating - with the inclusion of graphic violence and gory bloody detail[4] with players being able decapitate orcs and slash limbs off enemies.[5] The gameplay - in both single and multiplayer modes - revolves around strategically combining the different abilities of the threesome to good effect, for instance the dwarf can find treasure and spot weaknesses in structures whereas the man can find herbs to heal other party members. When in single-player, the other two characters will be controlled by computer AI.[2]

Featured Characters

Featured Locations


Since the first announcement in March 2010, Warner Bros. have periodically released trailers demonstrating various aspects of the gameplay and revealing the characters. All video links are to YouTube, and times are in minutes:

VideoLengthRelease DateDescription
Unite Your Fellowship1:0317 March 2010Teaser trailer; short clips of action and trolls
E3 2010 Trailer1:0310 June 2010
Extended Fellowship Trailer1:3412 August 2010Expanded version of teaser trailer
War in the North @ PAX 20101:22c. September 2010Coverage of Penny Arcade Expo 2010 exhibit
Untold Story1:2217 November 2010Outline of plot with various shots of locations
Snowblind Tolkien Toast 20111:223 January 2011No gameplay; Snowblind's birthday toast
The Black Númenórean1:591 February 2011Exploration of Agandaûr, the game's protagonist
Behind the Scenes: The Untold Story2:3817 February 2011Outline of the several locations of the game
Snowblind Studio Tour2:4211 May 2011No gameplay; A guide through Snowblind's studio
Brutal Combat Trailer1:359 March 2011Coverage of The War in the North's combat gameplay
Pax East Hands-On0:5216 March 2011Coverage of Penny Arcade Expo 2011 exhibit
Blood and Steel: The Combat of War in the North2:3331 March 2011Exploration of game's combat and Middle-earth's darker side
Dev Video: Art Direction Process2:0911 May 2011Coverage of The War in the North's Art, including concept art of several locations
Combat Vignette0:4413 April 2011Gameplay vignette covering the different combat styles
Gameplay Video: Mount Gundabad2:285 May 2011Exploration of the gameplay in Gundabad
Prepare for War: Weapon Development2:0112 May 2011Coverage of weapons
Heroes will Rise1:361 June 2011Teaser trailer


It's a very handsome game with well voiced cutscenes, and places the compelling Lord of the Rings realm in the hands of a developer with solid RPG credentials. Fans of both have good reason to look forward to a unique entry in the series.

Commentators immediately picked up on Snowblind Studios' experience with role-playing games (such as Baldur's Gate and Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest) along with frequent mentions of the more "mature" and "brutal"[9] design of the game, and the desire for an action RPG in the manner of previous Snowblind games.[10]

See Also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 War in the North, "Product Announcement", dated March 17, 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kotaku, "Lord of the Rings: War in the North Eyes-On Impressions: A Party of Three, dated June 17, 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  3. Atomic MPC, "Lord of the Rings: War in the North dev interview, page 1", dated December 22 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  4. Kotaku, "Lord Of The Rings: War In The North Is Cutting Throats, Taking Names, dated June 14, 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kotaku, "There Will Be Orc Blood In Lord of the Rings: War in the North", dated August 27, 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Atomic MPC, "Lord of the Rings: War in the North dev interview, page 2", dated December 22 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: War of the North's Official Site, Locations (accesed at February 6, 2011)
  8. The Lord of the Rings: War of the North's Official Site, Media, Videos, The Black Númenórean, dated February 1, 2011 (accesed at February 6, 2011)
  9., "E3 2010: LOTR: War in the North screens, dated June 14 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)
  10. Kotaku, "The Untold Story Of The Lord Of The Rings: War In The North", November 18, 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)