Emerging games publisher Warner has seen its gaming line-up receive a sizable boost in the arm with the expiration of EA's licensing deal for the Lord of the Ring s franchise – with the rights now back with Warner-owned New Line Cinema.
Variety reports that EA's deal with New Line expired at the end of last year, with the publisher's last LOTR release being the recent Pandemic-developed Lord of the Rings: Conquest.
When the deal was first signed New Line was still operating as an independent studio, but has since gone on to become a Warner label.
And with Warner having made a major mark on the games industry in the last 12 months with titles such as FEAR 2: Project Origin and LEGO Batman – as well as additional releases such as Guinness World Records, Speed Racer and the DLC-only Watchmen – acquiring the LOTR brand is a huge step forwards.
New Line is currently producing two new Hobbit movies, which are scheduled for release in 2011 and 2012.
Variety adds that another Warner property, Harry Potter, is still in EA's hands for the time being, with the publisher's deal including game releases up to and including the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is scheduled for release in 2011.