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Good grief I have been waiting a long time for this game. And now I see that yet ANOTHER release date estimate has been removed from this site.
It was reported here for quite a while that LOTR would release in the 4th quarter of this year. And now if you look its changed to unknown. I suspected this would happen as the game still hasnt entered beta yet.
For those unaware, this game has undergone several massive changes to include a buyout (twice) of the developer, scrapping of an earlier version of the game, and more.
1998 - Yosemite game development company, a division of Sierra starts work on MEO
1999 - Sierra shuts down Yosemite and restarts development of Middle Earth Online
2002 - Vivendi buys out MEO from Sierra, scraps the game and starts over
2005 - Turbine buys out Vivendi and takes exclusive rights to publish and develop the game. Another scrapping of the game takes place.
December 15, 2000 at 15:03:12
Gamespot is reporting that Sierra Online's Middle-earth game has been cancelled.
Sierra, a division of Havas Interactive, filed a lawsuit against Tolkien Enterprises earlier this year after Tolkien Enterprises, a division of the Saul Zaentz Company, claimed that Sierra had lost the rights to the game.
Sierra picked up the rights when it acquired the Yosemite game development company, but in September 1999 Sierra, under new management, fired the entire development team and started developing the massively multi-player online game over again. Whereas the first development team had discussed their plans openly with the player community, the new development team made no public statements.
Revealed in late 2002 by Vivendi Universal, and then submerged till only this March due to corporate restructuring and problems with the game's design, many had thought Middle Earth Online to be a dead or dying project. However, Vivendi and Turbine Entertainment have dispelled this notion today by announcing that they have entered into a joint agreement to develop Middle Earth Online as part of Vivendi Universal's long-term development agreement with Tolkien Enterprises.
Middle Earth Online is currently planned for a 2004 release in North America.
More here from http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/middle-earth-online/508665p1.html
MMO fans and gamers who enjoy the work of Lord of the Rings scribe J.R.R. Tolkien were disappointed yesterday when the publisher of Middle-Earth Online announced the decision to push the game's release back to 2005.
About the name change... http://www.games.ninemsn.com/article.aspx?id=51402
May 2005 – MMORPG developers Turbine (the team behind Asheron's Call) have today announced the new name of their upcoming Lord of the Rings project. Previously called Lord of the Rings: Middle Earth Online, the title will henceforth be known as Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. If this name change might give the impression that Turbine are beginning to plan for the title's release, I think you'd be right. A new website has also been launched for the game, and with it we learn new details and marvel at new imagery. Turbine have been working on this for some three years, apparently.
Frankly I am sick of waiting on this game. I dont care what its called now, what engine its using, who owns the rights, whether its the same game developed back in 1998, etc I just want the game released before I die.
Whats next, is Sony or someone else going to come in and buy out Turbine and scrap the game ??? Based on the past history of this game, its not totally out of the question.
Release this game already