the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

2004 was a strange time for Lord of the Rings fans. While fans were still debating the emotional ending to Peter Jackson's trilogy and the multiple awards for the final film in the trilogy, the future of the series was also a hot topic. Undoubtedly, the Lord of the Rings films were huge commercial and artistic successes, but the trilogy eventually came to an end and the Hobbit films were released almost a decade later. Of course, Tolkien's books have been around for a long time, but many old and new Lord of the Rings fans weren't too happy with the idea that the end of the films apparently meant the end of an era where we all felt bound together by our love of that fantasy series. The Lord of the Rings lived in the hearts and minds of many.

BingMag.com the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

2004 was a strange time for Lord of the Rings fans. While fans were still debating the emotional ending to Peter Jackson's trilogy and the multiple awards for the final film in the trilogy, the future of the series was also a hot topic. Undoubtedly, the Lord of the Rings films were huge commercial and artistic successes, but the trilogy eventually came to an end and the Hobbit films were released almost a decade later. Of course, Tolkien's books have been around for a long time, but many old and new Lord of the Rings fans weren't too happy with the idea that the end of the films apparently meant the end of an era where we all felt bound together by our love of that fantasy series. The Lord of the Rings lived in the hearts and minds of many.

BingMag.com the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

However, a work A major adaptation of The Lord of the Rings was scheduled to be released in 2004. While the game is largely forgotten by many fans today, at one time it seemed like it could be the start of a new path for the Lord of the Rings IP in the video game industry. This game was not a sequel to "The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age".

In 2002, Electronic Arts announced that Working on two new Lord of the Rings games. The first was a direct sequel to the popular 2002 hack-and-slash action game The Two Towers, and the second was an RPG called The Third Age. Fans didn't know much about the second project at the time, and it seemed like after all these years, a major developer was finally going to make a decent RPG adaptation of Tolkien's work.

BingMag.com the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

Inspiration from Final Fantasy 10

As the development of The Third Age progresses and several videos of this project are released, It became clear that this game was heavily inspired by the 2001 Japanese RPG Final Fantasy 10. While the similarities between the two games undoubtedly drew some attention early on, many believed that The Third Age could be one of the biggest and best games of 2004. The videos looked cool, and Electronic Arts had already released several successful games based on the Lord of the Rings movies. On the other hand, the game development team led by Steve Gray, the former game producer of Square Enix, apparently had a lot of enthusiasm for the project. Also, many fans knowing that The Third Age allows them to play for the last They were content to immerse themselves in Peter Jackson's vision of Tolkien's world. Some even felt that this game could end up being the start of a big series. In any case, the Final Fantasy series had found a special place for itself in those years. This means that when The Third Age was finally released in November 2004 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube, there were high expectations for it. However, despite all the hype and hype, the game didn't turn out to be very promising. In fact, there was a huge gap between the reality of the game and the dream of what could have been. Yet why did a Lord of the Rings-centric game that was mechanically similar to the latest Final Fantasy release at the time end up not having the same success?

Combat System

The third era is the same as Final Fantasy 10, at least from the point of view of gameplay. These two games have similar combat systems and almost identical role-playing mechanics. On the other hand, even some angles of animations and game sequences use Final Fantasy elements. The biggest difference between Final Fantasy X and The Third Age, at least in terms of gameplay, is that The Lord of the Rings either abandons the relatively more complex mechanics of Final Fantasy 10 or simply replaces them with more basic systems.

On the other hand, in While Final Fantasy X featured an incredibly in-depth Sphere Grid system that allowed players to build and upgrade characters almost however they wanted, The Third Age only allowed you to choose between a handful of optional skills. and assign experience points or XP to basic abilities. Also, Final Fantasy 10 was full of side quests, while The Third Age limited players to a handful of clearly defined core activities in each area. Final Fantasy 10 was more challenging in its combats. While Lord of the Rings even had options that allowed the game to do most of the fighting for you.

BingMag.com the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

Lack of challenge

This is one feature of The Third Age's gameplay that will annoy many long-time fans of Final Fantasy and the Japanese RPG style. The game was clearly designed to appeal to the millions of people who have seen the Lord of the Rings movies and those who even dream of a version of Final Fantasy 10 with Lord of the Rings characters. Fans of the RPG genre undoubtedly disagreed with the game being made easy as they believed that the challenge was essential to immersion in the genre.

Limited to the Lord of the Rings trilogy

While Electronic Arts had always wanted to make Lord of the Rings games based on Peter Jackson's wildly popular films rather than the books, the company had no choice. Because Middle-earth Enterprises already had a deal with Vivendi to develop a game based on the books, Electronic Arts could not use the books. In fact, the games of this company should have been based on the movies, or at least they used the content related to this series that existed in the space between the books and the movies. It has put him in a bit of trouble. They were largely limited to the world of movies, and on the other hand, Electronic Arts games had already told the story of those movies. The team eventually settled on an unusual path to making the game. While their game features some of the characters, locations, and moments from Jackson's films, it primarily follows the adventures of new characters whose adventures occasionally intersect with the journey of the Fellowship of the Ring.

BingMag.com the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

New characters

Of course, it is interesting to know that almost all playable characters in this work They are designed to resemble other and very popular Lord of the Rings characters. For example, there is Berthor among the characters, who is very similar to Baromir. Other characters include an elf named Idril, a ranger named Elgost, and a dwarf named Hadd. These characters and other playable characters are not very attractive. The game's writers have tried to give Brethor a mysterious past that will be revealed to you during your adventure in the game, but it's not paid off well enough to make you emotionally connect with it. This is the case for most of the characters in the game, and few of them have acceptable characterization.

However, what really sets these characters apart as forgettable adventures is the amount of time they spend in the game. Playing with the main and real characters of Lord of the Rings takes time. As mentioned, The Third Age may focus on a new group of characters embarking on their own adventure, but there are times when those characters' adventures intersect with the famous journey of the Fellowship of the Ring. Now you might think that they sometimes encounter characters as part of scenes that don't actually exist in the movies, but the writers made a bold decision.

Throughout The Third Age, there are many times when the game asks you to accept that its main characters are somehow behind the scenes at key moments in the movies. have been effective. For example, did you know that Brethor and Elgost were apparently instrumental in winning the Battle of Helm's Deep? Did you know that new characters fought alongside Aragorn and his army of ghosts in the Battle of Gondor? Either way, watching a guy named Brethor help Gandalf fight the Balrog or the characters fight Sauron by shooting him in the eye with swords and arrows might seem funny, but it's strangely entertaining. In fact, the bigger problem with the game and its many references to the movies is that almost all of these references do not contribute to the characterization of the characters and are not as important as they should be.

It seems that if the development team could have It told a completely original story. After all, The Third Age was still clearly designed to emphasize the film's main scenes, and while it would have been fun to play as a group of adventurers going on their own wacky adventures during the various events of the films, they still They exist for the sole reason of giving their developers enough space to use the best moments of the film, without being completely dependent on them. In fact, this issue has made the quality of the game's story not so appealing.

BingMag.com the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

The Third Age It was creative but had many problems. The game had many interesting ideas but did not implement them well and the gameplay was not very satisfying. At a time when games like World of Warcraft, Metal Gear Solid 3, Half-Life 2, and Halo 2 had just hit store shelves, it's no surprise that Fans of The Third Age had high hopes for the game.

Summary

Despite its many flaws, The Third Age was still a Japanese RPG-style adventure set in the world of Overlord. Loops happen. The whole charm of the game was based on Middle-earth alone. This game may not be amazing, but it's fun. As a role-playing work, it at least features various upgrades for your characters, acquiring new equipment, and performing devastating attacks against various enemies. However, if the game had retained a few more elements of Final Fantasy 10's deep combat system, it would have been more successful.

BingMag.com the third era; The story of the Lord of the Rings game, which could become a big role-playing series

Also, once you get over your initial expectations of the game, it will be easier to understand its strange parallel storytelling during 20-25 hours of gameplay. Although the potential of an original story in the Lord of the Rings movie series is always high, but considering the problems related to copyright and so on, the writers' hands have not been so open. On the other hand, the game reportedly sold well at the time, but there has never been even a whisper of an attempt to revive it and its ideas.

This is what The Third's forgotten legacy is. Makes Age so sad. At a time when so many IPs seem to exist solely to put their characters in Fortnite, it's strange to think that Electronic Arts once intended to use The Lord of the Rings as a great excuse to make a version of Final Fantasy. In any case, it is bittersweet to think that The Third Age still has no heir.

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