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Lord of the Rings game based on Tiger Woods tech, says Glen Schofield

If only Middle-earth had golfing.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 6, 2022

1 Min Read
Cover art for EA's Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

One of Electronic Arts' Lord of the Rings games, according to Striking Distance Studios director Glen Schofield, was made using the engine for a Tiger Woods title. Ahead of the release of his recently released The Callisto Protocol, Schofield answered questions on Wired about game development and his time at EA. 

Schofield's EA tenure is primarily defined by the Dead Space franchise over at Visceral Games, but his time there starts at the early 2000s. His first game at the publisher was the tie-in game to 2003's The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which he was credited as a producer on.

When asked why game developers tend to use pre-existing third-party game engines rather than making their own, Schofield argued that it was better (and less costly) to repurpose old engines. This is what he did as a producer at EA: Return of the King was made using the engine of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, which released two months prior.

Since Lord of the Rings features large areas "and then sort of a castle at the end," Schofield rationalized that it shared DNA with EA's golfing franchise. "Long areas, and at the end is where you go get food, where you’re done. And so we took the Tiger Woods engine and turned that into a Lord of the Rings engine," he said.

Fellow ex-EA developer Nick Ferguson later corroborated Schofield's claim, and added that a Tiger Woods game for the PlayStation Portable featured code from the Return of the King game, and references to characters from the fantasy franchise. 

"I remember the code for VFX in Tiger Woods PSP was from LOTR," recalled Ferguson. "All that for little wisps of smoke when hitting a golf ball!"

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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