Another fan remake in the works, this time taking up Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth banner.
In recent years, many fan-made projects have popped up all over internet which specifically aim to recreate a classic title in a brand new engine. Among these, we now have The Battle for Middle Earth: Reforged that looks to recreate one of EA’s strategy games from 2000s. With their license over Lord of the Rings expiring in 2010, Electronic Arts have shut down the game’s multiplayer servers, although Reforged aims to afford players another opportunity at playing one of the better games based on the popular movie franchise.
The Battle for Middle Earth games weren’t exactly memorable, but the idea for an RTS based on the Lord of the Rings lore was appealing for many people. Mechanically, these titles offered a diverse selection of units to play with between its available factions. Now remade in Unreal Engine 4 by a modding team, Reforged looks quite impressive in its trailer for how old it is. Moving to a new engine, the team has to rewrite the entire code for Battle for Middle Earth, and are doing their best to preserve original gameplay.
The development team states their focus on the multiplayer component of the game for now, although if “everything is successful, a campaign will be made in the future.” They will also bring the updated graphics up to par with modern visual standards, including a steady 60fps and support for 4K screens. The Unreal Engine 4 will allow them to expand on animations and particle effects as well, and the gameplay footage showcases vast improvements already.
Given that WarnerBros hold the rights to Lord of the Rings, and have published the two Shadow of Mordor titles that revived the gaming license, there exists a high potential of Reforge never making it out of development. As we frequently observe big name publishers shutting down ambitious mods and game remakes, it is entirely possible for that to happen here, although developers claim they “will do their best to make a deal” in case WB takes issue with this fan remake.
Since WB don’t develop any strategy games in the universe, the multiplayer component of this remake could as well go through, but a campaign might not come around due to licensing. At this point, we can only speculate, but Reforged looks very promising as far as fan-made remakes go. The release window is unknown as the game is a free project, but gamers might see a playable beta at some point next year if all goes well for the team. To follow the game’s development, follow the team’s ModDB page, as well as the game’s official website.