4/27/01 - Latest News
Gaming Haven Latest News

Xoanon @ 10:31 am EST

Ringer Spy Daniel P sends along this article from the UK PC Format web update.

Sierra's much-troubled online RPG Middle earth has run into yet more problems, in what must be one of the most turbulent game developments in recent history and could easily call for a trilogy of novels of its own. The latest setback in the saga finds game developer MM3D, contracted by Sierra On-line to create the game, suing their client for upwards of $10 million.

Perhaps more surprising than the lawsuit itself is the revelation that the game was going ahead at all, after years of development chaos and a number of rumoured cancellations. Two games were originally envisaged, but the planned Orcs: Revenge of the Ancients strategy game was axed during Sierra's grand-scale reorganisation in 1999, and its current fate remains unknown. Middle Earth also suffered during Sierra's reshuffle, seeing the sacking of its entire development team in an effort to make it more "mass market." Outcry from beardy Tolkien fans demanding an impossibly realistic depiction of their favourite fictional universe, coupled with a legal scuffle against Tolkien Enterprises, seemed to have finished off the game. Rumours continued to circulate, but it took the public announcement of the new lawsuit on April 20 to finally confirm the project's continued existence.

MM3D is accusing Sierra of breach of contract, claiming it tried to force MM3D to accept diminished terms and a whopping 50% revenue cut just before final terms were agreed. The project is delayed until the case is resolved, while rumours that a Mr Sauron has been sighted at Sierra's management offices remain unconfirmed.