Guardians of Middle Earth is a new video game set for release in December 2012, developed by Monolith Productions and published by WB Interactive. The setting of the game is the popular Lord of the Rings series, with the game set to be released on PS3 and Xbox 360. We caught up with Ruth Tomandl from WB Games, who serves as a Senior Producer on the dev team for Guardians of Middle Earth. A special thanks goes out to Miranda L. Visser for transcribing this interview!
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): It’s Carl here again with GamingIllustrated.com. I am with…
Ruth Tomandl (WB Games Seattle): I’m Ruth Tomandl and I’m a Senior Producer on the dev team for Guardians of Middle Earth.
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Now I was looking at this game here; I was trying to find out what it is all about. What stands out from this game that might make it a little bit different compared to similar games?
Ruth Tomandl (WB Games Seattle): Well for one thing it’s on the console, so we’re really the first true isometric MOBA [multiplayer online battle arena] on the console. So really we’re going to be able to give console gamers a new way to compete and be awesome at a game that they can play 5v5.
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Okay, now I was looking at the characters, I saw a lot of familiar faces here. Is this just like you’re gonna partake in the entire world of Middle Earth? Is it gonna partake kinda like before or afterwards? When’s the actual timeline of this game here in the sense of the characters?
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Oh, okay, I got you. I saw Legolas too, him and Gollum are in this as well?
Ruth Tomandl (WB Games Seattle): Yeah, Legolas, Gollum, we got Gandalf. So, yeah, those characters, people are familiar with, but they’re also going to be in the upcoming Hobbit film. Galadriel is another one.
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Gotcha. Okay, now obviously it’s going to be available [for] every console here. What were the challenges in terms of bringing a game like this that’s usually built for PCs and bringing it to a console where you’re kinda limited in terms of, you know, buttons, etc.
Ruth Tomandl (WB Games Seattle): Yeah, so, a lot of the PC MOBAs really came out of the RTS. So, to control your character you’re, like, clicking where they should go and what they should attack, but you’re not controlling them directly. So what we did to bring it to the console: We’ve been working on the controls for about 18 months and what we found is doing sort of a more action RPG style control set where you’re controlling your character directly, and telling them – you know, using the sticks to move and aim, using the face buttons to fire up your abilities has actually been a really good fit. I mean, it’s taken some work, but we’ve seen people, especially here at the show, just pick up the controls really quickly and be able to jump in and – with really very little trouble.
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Gotcha. Well I was thinking here, anything else that you wanted to add to this game that I may not have covered that probably will stand out with this title?
Ruth Tomandl (WB Games Seattle): Well it’s gonna be on XBLA and PSN which really is great for gamers because, you know, not only the price point, but also they already got their friends list , there’s already infrastructure for multiplayer. So it’s going to be really easy for people to buy this game, jump in, play a lot. We’re going to ship with over 20 guardians so there’s going to be tons of characters to choose from. So this is a game that people will really be able to play with their friends and have a great time.
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Gotcha. And really quickly, before we go, is it gonna be just one kinda game mode basically as is the general play style when it comes to this kind of game? Or is it gonna be different game modes?
Ruth Tomandl (WB Games Seattle): Well, we’re only showing the PvP three-lane map here at E3, but we’re gonna definitely have more modes.
Carl Armstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Okay, great. Alright, thanks so much.
Ruth Tomandl (WB Games Seattle): Thanks.