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LEGO Games studio Traveller's Tales spent a cool million pitching a photorealistic Hobbit Game

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Luke Hardwick

1 year, 3 months ago

Hobbit Game Pitch Screenshot 1

Way back in 2008, when the Hobbit films were in their pre-planning phases and Guillermo Del Toro was still set to direct, Traveller's Tales, aka the studio best known for their work on the LEGO series, had the idea that they would create a photorealistic tie-in game that harnessed the awesome might of the then-cutting edge Xbox 360 and PS3.

The studio, led by founder Jon Burton, went full in on the idea (and then some), dropping a cool million dollars on the development of a tech demo for the game, which they then used to pitch to The Hobbit's production executives. However, there was a minor snag.

Being that The Hobbit was, at best, in pre-production at the time, there was no footage available for the team at Traveller's Tales to use for showcasing their vision. So, rather than fabricating what they thought The Hobbit films would look like, they instead decided to re-create iconic scenes from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

Unfortunately, the powers that be felt a movie tie-in wasn't the direction they were going for, telling Burton and co that they instead wanted "a game that wasn't directly based on the movie, but happened in the same universe at the same time."

After that, the project was scrapped, and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half.. You get the rest.

All that remains now are remnants of the ill-fated tech demo, which the world may have never even learned about if not for Burton telling the story in a video posted to his Gamehut Youtube channel.

It's certainly worth a watch, and shows off a fair amount of footage from the demo. While it's regrettable no actual games materialized out of this, it's so nice seeing the Fellowship in digital form again.