Guardians of Middle-earth MOBA unveiled

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is hopping on the MOBA bandwagon in hopes of replicating the success of games like League of Legends and Dota 2.

Today, the company revealed Guardians of Middle-earth, a new multiplayer online battle arena set to release in Fall 2012 on Xbox LIVE for Xbox 360 and PlayStation Network for PS3.

Developed by Monolith Productions, Guardians of Middle-earth brings up to 10 players together in five versus five competitive multiplayer battle arenas set in Middle-earth.  The game will offer over 20 iconic characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's brilliant universe of Middle Earth including Gandalf, Sauron, Gollum, and Thráin.  Other features include an in-game voice communication system and a comprehensive online stat and leader board system where you can track friends' victories and defeats.

“The MOBA genre is wildly popular with PC players and we are excited to bring it to consoles through the lore of Middle-earth,” said Samantha Ryan, Senior Vice President, Production and Development at WBIE. “The heroes and villains of Middle-earth are crafted in a way that perfectly intersects with MOBA game features, allowing the development team to create guardians with deep skills and abilities for gamers to master.”

Guardians of Middle-earth will feature tie-ins to the upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey motion picture, directed by Peter Jackson and a production of New Line Cinema and MGM.  Leading up to and beyond the premiere of the film, several new playable "guardians" will be released in conjunction to allow gamers to actively participate in Peter Jackson's vision of Middle-earth.

Warner Bros. isn't the only company trying to get a slice of that MOBA pie. Last year, Blizzard confirmed Blizzard DOTA, another new multiplayer online battle arena that features the most popular characters from all of Blizzard's franchise titles.  It looks to be a pretty busy year in the MOBA genre.