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'Lord of the Rings: War in the North' trailer shows gritty direction

War in the North showcases a new approach to Lord of the Rings video games, one which at first glance is more visceral and in keeping with the recent film trilogy's action scenes.

Players can choose between human, dwarf or elf, forming a multiplayer Fellowship with friends or allowing their Xbox 360, PC, or PlayStation 3 to fill out gaps in the party.

Together, the trio take on the role of Tolkien's "heroes in the North" who must defeat one of Sauron's mighty Witch-Kings.

Though War in the North will expand on established Lord of the Rings fiction, their quest will involve plenty of classic locations such as Mirkwood, Rivendell, and the Witch-King's lair, Carn Dûm.

For Snowblind Studios, now a Warner Bros. subsiduary, this will be its first full game in five years, but the studio is no strangers to action-packed adventure.

Snowblind came to prominence with Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, as well as its PS2 spiritual successor Champions of Norrath, before handling Justice League Heroes on PS2, Xbox, DS and PSP.

Emphasising War in the North's potential for ferocity gives it the means by which to jostle with Dark Souls, a swords and sorcery game whose rising reputation is thanks in part to its challenging predecessor Demon's Souls.

Both look likely to release late 2011, but dealing with the sales power of genre giants Final Fantasy X-III and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim could prove a tougher task ten years on from Fellowship of the Ring's cinematic debut.

Watch the "Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Brutal Combat" trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssWH84faubY.
The game's website is http://www.warinthenorth.com.