Variety's The Cut Scene reports that EA's hold on The Lord of the Rings was up as of December of last year, with Pandemic Studios squeezing out the coolly received The Lord of the Rings: Conquest just as the license expired. The Cut Scene's Ben Fritz theorizes that Warner Bros. Interactive will take up in-house development arms on future titles, cruelly depriving fans of middling Middle Earth adventures, EA-style.
Licensing and Pandemic haven't had the best of histories, if you'll recall.
EA was reported to have had its Batman licensing agreement expire at the same point last year, resulting in a doomed by delay game based on the 2008 film The Dark Knight. That was in development at Pandemic Brisbane, a developer that has since been set free from EA following the Dark Knight debacle.
And remember EA's The Lord of the Rings: White Council? Probably not, since the role-playing game never came out, giving up the ghost little more than a year after it was announced. This is all probably for the best, in the licensing long run.
Fritz also ponders the future of EA's Harry Potter relationship, one that's expected to dissolve after the publisher processes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the transmogrifier in 2011. Licensed games, you'll be missed.
Lord of the Rings game rights now at Warner Bros. [The Cut Scene]