The Hobbit Video Game: Where is it?

The first half of Tolkien’s The Hobbit is set to come out this December. This isn’t new news, but it’s important for the video game world. Because if The Hobbit ends up being anything like Lord of the Rings, then we’re bound to see more than a couple video games released with the movie. It’s exciting, because The Hobbit has so much potential.

But so far I’ve only seen one game announced, and that’s Lego: The Hobbit.

I respect the Lego genre. I’d even consider myself a fan. They give us funny and cute renditions of our favorite movies, like Star Wars, Batman, and soon Lord of the Rings. But these games don’t compare to their more serious counterparts. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Old Republic are awesome titles. Batman Arkham City and Arkham Asylum were also great games, and all of these are much more exciting than Lego figurines fighting each other.

So, as a concerned gamer I see a problem with the fact that there has only been a Lego version of The Hobbit announced so far. I’m slightly reassured by a comment made by the first director of the movie, Guillermo Del Toro stated that he would like for the movie to be a stand-alone piece of media. Del Toro, who has seen the success of the Batman Arkham games, stated that he hoped The Hobbit video games would work the same way. Instead of being tie-ins with the movie, they would be their own brand of the Hobbit, allowing for players to explore the world in a video game setting as opposed to a movie’s.

It’s only slightly reassuring, seeing that del Toro is no longer the director, and probably won’t have any help in the direction of the video game. Peter Jackson, the current director, hasn’t seemed all too interested in the video game world, except when he was interested in doing a Halo movie.

So here we are. Five months away from the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and we only have a Lego title. Five month isn’t enough time to make the video game The Hobbit deserves. It’s only long enough to make a generic movie video game, where players do simple puzzles to follow the movie’s storyline. The idea of this game scares me. There is so much potential in The Hobbit, and it would be wasted if it became a video game the same way Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean did.

Here is what I’d like to see. I think I should get some input, as a huge Tolkien fan and avid gamer. I’m the exact demographic a video game would be marketing towards. I’d like for any company in charge of The Hobbit video game to take their time. I want a title that isn’t a movie tie-in, but its own game. I wouldn’t mind a visually stunning action game, like how Batman Arkham City and Arkham Asylum were done. But what would be even better is an open world RPG, where players can play as Hobbits, Humans, Elves, and Dwarfs as they travel around Middle Earth in the time period of Bilbo’s adventure.

This game would be so kick-ass. It would beat out every Lord of the Rings game ever made. Focusing more on the Northern part of Tolkien’s Middle Earth would let developers have free range over a whole different environment, filled with new creatures and terrain. Is it too much to ask for? One well-made RPG, a game that could compete with Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls series, but that was set in The Hobbit’s world. Is it so much to ask for?

Maybe it is. But if all we get is Lego: The Hobbit and a movie tie-in game, then I’m losing my faith in the video game industry for good.