Codemasters to rule over Middle-Earth

Codemasters has snapped up the rights to bring Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar to European gamers later this year.

The game is currently in development by Turbine Inc, who has been lovingly recreating JRR Tolkien's Middle-Earth for MMORPG purposes.

The action will take place in the north western region of Middle-Earth called Eriador, where the Shire and the Elven Rivendell are located, and its here that the Free-Peoples are fighting a threat from the realm of Angmar and the minions of Sauron.

Gamers can choose from four races - human, elves, dwarves and hobbits - and forge alliances and create fellowships to embark on campaigns across the troubled land, battling against orcs, trolls, spiders and wolves.

There's even a chance that you'll run into familiar faces from the books as characters like Elrond, Tom Bombadil and Bilbo will be knocking about.

Thanks to success of the recent Peter Jackson films, and as Tolkien's mystical world had inspired nearly all of the D 'n' D content used in existing MMORPGs, there will undoubtedly be huge interest in this game when it's released for PC later this year.