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Codemasters aims for million with LOTR Online

Codemasters Online Gaming has revealed a target of over 1m players for the division's upcoming Lord of the Ring Online title and admitted intentions to compete directly with Blizzard's genre-leading World of Warcraft

Vice president and general manager of Codemasters Online Gaming (COG), David Solari, has revealed a target of over a million players for the division's upcoming Lord of the Ring Online (LOTRO) title and admitted intentions to compete directly with Blizzard's genre-leading World of Warcraft.

"I think the goal [for LOTRO] would be over a million subscribers in the west," said Solari, speaking at the COG LiVE event in Warwick, UK, yesterday. "World of Warcraft is such a benchmark now, but if something's going to do it it's going to be a Lord of the Rings brand that lets people play in that environment and experience that content. It's got to have probably the best chance of competing with it."

LOTRO, developed by US developer Turbine, is scheduled for a Q4 release. Demoed in fully playable form at the event by executive producer Jeff Steefel, the initial release is to include the content from the first Lord of the Rings book, The Fellowship of the Ring, with the rest of the trilogy to be added as the game evolves. Turbine holds the rights to produce MMO content based on Tolkien's novels, as opposed to the recent New Line movies.

LOTRO is the most mainstream part of a quartet of titles from COG in 2006, the rest of which includes Korean import Archlord from NHN and the recently released duo of Turbine-developed Dungeons & Dragons Online and CCR Corporation's RF Online.

"Lord of the Rings is a pretty all encompassing MMO with a great brand behind it. So that's a generally more competitive game," Solari added. "All the games are quite different, which is what we decided to go for."

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