Fantasy Flight Interactive (FFI), the new studio from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG), have announced their first foray into the video game world. The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game will be released to early access in the coming months to purchasers of the founder packs, before a full free to play release in 2018.
Fantasy Flight Games are famous for their huge franchise tabletop gaming content of board and card games. They have the rights to Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. They have also previously brought popular video games to the board-game world with the X-Com, Witcher and Doom board-games.
The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game was initially released as a tabletop game in 2011 as a co-operative living card game (LCG's have fixed card packs as opposed to CCGs which have random cards in packs), that allowed up to four players to play together to complete quests and battle their enemies.
The video game version will initially release as a single-player narrative game and will share "the same concept as its tabletop predecessor. You’ll take control of heroes attempting to complete a quest in Middle-earth, but instead of representing the quest and the environment with quest cards and location cards, the digital game brings Middle-earth to life with stunning visuals and detailed backgrounds."
There is already stiff competition in the online card game market, with Blizzard's HearthStone, CDPR's Gwent and WotC Magic the Gathering being leaders in a crowded market. Magic: The Gathering famously started life, and the collectable card game world, as a table-top game in 1993, before its digital adaptations success.
In regards to how the free to play will work, FFG says "The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game is the first-ever digital Living Card Game, featuring an in-game economy built around fixed packs and a story-based campaign. There is no randomness inherent in the packs that you unlock through gameplay—you can look at the contents of every pack and know exactly what you are getting. As you gain new cards, you’ll embark on a series of adventures across Middle-earth. Narratively driven and exceedingly replayable, The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game provides a digital card game experience unlike any other game."
With the recent release of FFG's Star Wars Imperial Assault Companion App, which takes the role of the Imperial Player (a role similar to role-playing games Games Master) and allows players to play co-operatively, we could be seeing more and more blending, mixing and cross-overs for board and video games.
The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game page is already live in Steam.
Are you a player of the tabletop LotR LCG? What do you think about the announcement? Which other card games would you like to see enter the video game marketplace?