Gameplay Video From Canceled Lord Of The Rings Demo Shows Off A $1 Million Hobbit Game Pitch

There are a lot of games based on the works of JRR Tolkien, particularly Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but some footage has now emerged of one entry that never got made. Jon Burton, the founder of studio Traveller’s Tales–known for their work on Sonic spin-offs and the Lego games–recently revealed a series of demos that the studio made as a pitch for a Hobbit game that was slated to accompany the first movie’s release.

The demo recreates famous moments from The Lord of the Rings franchise, such as Gandalf’s clash with the fiery Balrog, or Frodo and Samwise escaping from the treacherous Ringwraiths. According to Burton, the studio spent more than $1 million on the demos, which he describes as a highly-questionable move in retrospect.

However, Burton traveled to New Zealand to personally show their work to Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro–who was at that point attached to the project–both of whom gave the studio their blessing to make a live-action Hobbit game. As Burton tells it, however, Warner Bros. wasn’t interested in such a project, so it never saw the light of day. Since the film ended up getting delayed by more than a year, Burton says that the cancellation was a blessing in disguise, especially considering that Traveller’s Tales later ended up making Lego versions of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings anyway.

In terms of recent news concerning Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, Amazon is still developing yet another adaptation of Lord of the Rings, this time for TV. The company is also making an MMO to go along with the series, but it’s unclear how far along that is in development.

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