TT Games' The Lord of The Rings Game cover

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TT Games Shows off The Lord of the Rings Game They Never Made

June 23, 2020

By: Robert N. Adams

 
 

TT Games is best known for the LEGO games, but they had one interesting little project that has never seen the light of day until now. Company Founder Jon Burton was positively obsessed with making a game set in the universe of The Lord of the Rings. TT Games' The Lord of The Rings game was certainly ambitious — and they spent more than a million dollars trying to get it made.

Check out the latest video from Jon Burton's GameHut to get a first-ever look at TT Games' The Lord of the Rings game that never was:

 

"Over a decade ago — back in 2008 — Warner Bros. announced that they were making two new movies based on The Hobbit," Jon Burton began in a new video on GameHut. "I was a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, and although we were making LEGO games at the time, I really wanted to make a Hobbit video game to release alongside the movie. Not a LEGO game — a movie tie-in instead."

Once that decision was made, they were able to make a pitch to Peter Jackon and then-director Guillermo Del Toro... and things got a little wild.

 
 
TT Games' The Lord of the Rings Game The One Ring
The One Ring is a helluva drug.

'It All Got A Little Out of Hand'

Burton's enthusiasm for making this game on the Xbox 360 led to the creation of a seriously in-depth pitch that is almost a full game in its own right.

"We'd have six months or so to prepare a demo and then we'd pitch it to [Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro] in New Zealand in February 2009," Burton explained. "I was a firm believer that film tie-ins should recreate the movie as closely as possible to give the player the experience of living the movie, so I decided our playable demo should demonstrate this using The Lord of the Rings as a template."

 
 

TT Games' The Lord of the Rings game slowly came into form, eventually turned into four complete levels and five tech demos, each of which was based on iconic moments in The Lord of the Rings films.

TT Games' The Lord of The Rings Game Levels and Tech Demos
Left: Four complete levels based on scenes from the first movie. Right: five tech demos, each of which showed off technical capabilities of the game.

Four fully polished, playable levels were created based on the first film (seen above). These would let players experience the movie through the medium of gaming, featuring a mix of stealth elements, quick-time events, and combat.

Perhaps more interestingly, TT Games' The Lord of the Rings game also featured five tech demos, each of which demonstrated one particular technique:

  • Amon Hen - Aragon battles the Uruk-Hai in the woods, demonstrating how combat would work.
  • Weathertop - Frodo and Sam must avoid the Nazgul at Weathertop; this showed stealth mechanics and Frodo using The One Ring to hide in the Wraith-world.
  • Sauron [...] - A recreation of the opening battle from The Fellowship of the Ring which showcased large numbers of A.I. enemies on the screen at one time.
  • The Shire - Frodo and Sam wander about in the open world.
  • Rivendell - A cutscene sequence using motion capture to recreate a conversation from the film.

"So, we basically went way too far and spent way too much money making this demo," Jon Burton said plainly.

 
 

The game certainly looked very impressive for an Xbox 360 title. Unfortunately, it never got made... but we may get to see it someday anyway.

TT Games' The Lord of The Rings Game Aragorn
One of the tech demos featured Aragorn fighting hordes of Uruk-Hai, because that's always fun.

TT Games' The Lord of the Rings Game Might Still See The Light of Day

Ultimately, Warner Bros. decided against having a game so closely based on the movie; instead, they preferred to have something set in the same world but providing a new story and experience. Thus ended the short life of TT Games' take on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

That said, it's not all doom and gloom. Jon Burton says that he's open to showing off full playthroughs of what exists of this massively-expensive demo, so we may get an in-depth look at these levels from the man who lead their creation. Do make sure to leave a comment on the video if that's something you'd like to see.

While we never got this epic adventure from TT Games, they still managed to make games in The Lord of the Rings universe of a different sort — you can still get LEGO The Lord of the Rings and LEGO - The Hobbit from TT Games on Steam for $19.99 apiece.

Would you have wanted to play TT Games' The Lord of the Rings game or The Hobbit game? What's your favorite game based on The Lord of the Rings franchise? Let us know in the comments below!

A photograph of Robert N Adams
Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!