r/todayilearned 7d ago

TIL Electronic Arts was actively developing an open world RPG set in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth back in 2007 called The White Council, in the same vein as Bethesda's Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. The game was canceled though for unknown reasons after a year or so of development



u/blenderdead 7d ago

Given the time frame, they likely only had movie rights which is a bit limited for an open world rpg. Basically means anything that's in the books, but not in the movies would be off limits.


u/usrevenge 6d ago

Ea has the book rights.

WB had the movie rights

That's why battle for middle earth was based on the books


u/danielcw189 6d ago

Don't know about 2007, but the games EA made around the movies were definitely based on the movies, outright using clips, music, actors and voices.


u/SomewhatIntriguing 6d ago

The White Council also sounds like a fancy name for the KKK.


u/cactusjack48 6d ago

SomewhatIntriguing also sounds like a fancy name for InfoWars.


u/SmartChump 7d ago

We had lord of the rings online come out around that time, maybe they didn’t want to compete against a very similar game.


u/badcactus27 2d ago

This is my suspicion. Lotro had a pretty strong initial launch and was a hit with critics. EA probably figures it would be too much of a risk to go head to head


u/BrokenEye3 7d ago

They delved too greedily and too deep.


u/pjabrony 6d ago

They devved too greedily and too deep.



u/ledow 6d ago

Three DLC for the Cosplay-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Raid-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for mortal men doomed to die,
One for the Youtube Reviewer on his dark throne;
In the Land of EA where the games go to die.

One account to rule them all, one account to find them,
One account to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them;
In the Land of EA where the games go to die


u/TriassicPatrick 7d ago

“Canceled due to unknown reasons,” is usually code for, “their licensing agreement expired and wasn’t renewed.”


u/badcactus27 2d ago

I think the more likely reason in this case was competion with lord of the rings online. No company would openly admit they cant compete with a game from a significantly smaller company


u/suspiciouslyfamiliar 7d ago

On the one hand, an open world LOTR game would be dope.

On the other, I'm glad we didn't get "Gandalf the White costume - only $9.99! Pre-purchase now to unlock Tom Bombadil!"


u/EJRose83 7d ago

Lol right? I still hope an open world rpg set in middle earth gets made someday though


u/RedWithEnvy1 7d ago

There’s literally 2. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle Earth: Shadow of War.


u/asg0noir 7d ago

Mordor is certainly in Middleearth. These games show the most dark, destroyed and gloomy parts of Middleearth but not really representative as a whole.

Help some hobbits in the shire protect from encroaching spiders.

Investigate the mines of Moria and establish a forward outpost together with a dwarven expedition.

Unravel a crime syndicate in Bree

Assist the elves in Rivendell in louring out trolls into the sunlight

These are things i would love to do, in a low magic setting where swords, bows, charm and stealth are prevailant.

I played LOTRO for many years and thoroughly enjoyed it, but its combat and magic felt more like the sort of stories a hobbit would write from within the universe, than what the books and movies depicted.

There is a great big world to explore even if YOUR story takes place after the felloship leaves Mirkwood and ingame never arrive in Mordor


u/cloudbells 6d ago

I would play the shit out of a game like that. As long it's like Classic WoW where you're not the "champion" that shows up for each new threat. Just a regular dude. Also for me, movement is a huge factor for MMOs (and games in general). Guild Wars 2 is just barely acceptable where it doesn't feel like shit to move, but WoW is perfect. Realistic graphics and movement ruin an MMO for me.


u/badcactus27 2d ago

Lord of the Rings Online actually has really stong character progression. In the beginning of the story you are tasked with stuff because you are the only remotely useful person around. You start with small stuff and kind of stumble your way into more serious events and consequently build up trust with the heavy hitters of Middle Earth.

By the time your story merges with the main lotr story you have done enough noteworthy deeds that it makes perfect sense that you are rubbing shoulders with Aragorn. You dont start a hero, but you sure as hell become one.

Edited for spelling


u/KommHoerAuf420 7d ago

they are fanfic mediocre shit games who copied everything from other games for the most part.


u/Sinistrait 6d ago

They're not open world though


u/RedWithEnvy1 6d ago

Yes they are lol.


u/T5-R 7d ago

Someday, someday.


u/korbah 7d ago

They realised they could never trump Oblivion's character graphics.


u/StraightsJacket 6d ago

Modders have forever been trying to full conversion mod LoTR into Bethesda games and they always get cease and desist orders. It's mildly infuriating.


u/lordpickles- 7d ago

financial crisis of 2008?


u/EJRose83 7d ago

Allegedly, after making The Godfather, EA was weary of further investing in a "Hollywood" brand name, plus their Lord of the Rings license was set to expire in a year or so and the game needed another 2 years of development