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Canceled LOTR MMO 'The White Council' Planned On Using The Silmarillion, Had Christopher Tolkien's Blessing Per New Interview

Joseph Bradford Updated: Posted:
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In a new interview with The Gamer's Cian Maher, new details about the long-canceled MMORPG based in Tolkien's Middle-earth have emerged, including claims that the team had the blessing of Tolkien's son and caretaker of his life's work, Christopher Tolkien. 

You might remember back in the late '00s that EA was in the process of creating a MMORPG based in Tolkien's world, titled The Lord of the Rings: The White Council. This MMO, which was never made as EA canceled the project after two years in development, looked ambitious and was not following the traditional path LOTR games did back the - treading on the same ground as the movies. Rather, some interesting facts have come to light thanks to Maher's reporting.

Speaking with the Executive Producer Steve Gray, as well as Creative Director Chris Tremmel, the interview discusses some of the ways the team was powering the game world - including using the latest The Sims engine to power the NPCs themselves, as well as how the game ultimately was canceled thanks to the poor performance of a Godfather game.

One of the more interesting tidbits for Tolkien fans specifically is the claim that the team was negotiating using what is considered the holy grail of LOTR-licenses: The Silmarillion. 

Per Steven Gray, via The Gamer:

“The White Council was a really ambitious open-world Lord of the Rings MMORPG. We were using the Sims 3 Simulator - the latest version at that time - to power the NPCs. It was really about exploring the world of Middle Earth around the time of the movies - though we had also considered having servers that were set back in earlier times, drawing on the mythology in The Silmarillion. It was crazy big and complicated.”

One of the other claims by the team was the Christopher Tolkien himself was on board with the adaptation of his Father's work, something very few LOTR-based entertainment properties can claim as Professor Tolkien was quite the outspoken critic of many, including the movies. 

If you've ever wondered what happened with the old The Lord of the Rings: The White Council MMO, the interview from The Gamer is definitely worth a read. Check it out in full here.

Featured Image via The Gamer


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Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore