Warner Bros. to bring online battle arenas to consoles with Guardians of Middle-earth

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced Guardians of Middle-earth for Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network. The title will come out this fall to tie in with the new movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which Warner Bros. will distribute to theaters on December 14, 2012.

Guardians of Middle-earth is a multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA), similar to Defense of the Ancients, the mod for Warcraft III that popularized the genre, and League of Legends, a free-to-play MOBA for PC. Players will choose from a stable of recognizable characters out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world (called “guardians” in the game), including Gandalf, Sauron, and Gollum.

“The MOBA genre is wildly popular with PC players, and we are excited to bring it to consoles through the lore of Middle-earth,” said Samantha Ryan, senior vice president of production and development at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in a statement published on The Daily Blam. “The heroes and villains of Middle-earth are crafted in a way that perfectly intersects with MOBA game features, allowing the development team to create guardians with deep skills and abilities for gamers to master.”

Monolith Productions, which most recently released the Batman-themed multiplayer shooter Gotham City Impostors, is developing the title.

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