In 2008, developer TT Games began production on a pitch for a video game based on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. While mostly known for the Lego games, the developers were huge fans of The Lord of the Rings, and were excited for the upcoming film by Peter Jackson. Warner Bros. gave the team six months to develop a pitch for the game, and TT Games spent a stunning $1 million on a demo for the Xbox 360 to show Jackson. Before now, footage from that demo had never seen the light of day, but has now been released by GameHut, the personal YouTube channel of TT Games founder Jon Burton.
For the pitch, TT Games developed four different fully playable levels, as well as five tech demos. Burton believed that the game should follow the film as closely as possible (which can be seen in the developer's Lego games), but since the movie was still in production, the team focused instead on creating areas based on The Lord of the Rings films, to show Jackson what the team was capable of.
What's most surprising about the footage is just how good the game looks. More than a decade has passed since the pitch was made, yet the game looks really impressive. There's an incredible attention to detail, and for fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the video truly is a must-see.
According to Burton, the demo was well-received by both Jackson and Guillermo del Toro (who was attached to direct, at the time). Unfortunately, Warner Bros. wanted a different approach for the game. Rather than an adaptation, the company wanted to release a game that existed in the same world, instead. While the project's failure will undoubtedly come as a disappointment to fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's works, TT Games still had the opportunity to adapt The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in Lego form, a few years later.
Unfortunately, the video game industry has a number of stories such as these. Video games based on movies often run into problems during development; sometimes it's a result of a film being cancelled, and other times because a different video game tie-in got the green-light, as was the case with the pitch from TT Games. In the video, Burton says he was happy that project wasn't accepted, as the film's delay would have meant an extra year of development time. At the end of the day, it seems like things worked out for the best!
What do you think of the footage? Are you a fan of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
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