"Film trilogy revival
Thereafter, no official The Lord of the Rings titles were released until the making of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy for New Line Cinema in 2001-2003, when mass-market awareness of the story appeared. Electronic Arts obtained the licenses for the three films, although they only produced games for The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Sierra Entertainment, having lost out on the film licenses, obtained the license to produce games based on the books (as opposed to the film trilogy) from Tolkien Enterprises instead, entitling them to use the story, but not material from the film.
This gave rise to an unusual situation. Electronic Arts produced no adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, but Sierra did. However, they did produce adaptations of The Two Towers (which covered events of both the first two films) and The Return of the King, whereas Sierra did no such thing. This produced a "complete trilogy" of games (albeit unofficial). Sierra's entry to the series received average reviews, and Electronic Arts' entries received rave reviews, although Peter Jackson has criticized EA for leaving him out of the development process and has declared that he is unhappy with the quality of the titles.
While Sierra Entertainment's access to the book rights prevented them from using material from the film, it permitted them to include elements of The Lord of the Rings which were not in the films. EA, on the other hand, were not permitted to do this, as they were only licensed to develop games based on the films, which left out elements of the original story or deviated in places. Fans' opinions differ on the better of the two styles. Some prefer EA's action-oriented hack and slash-style games, which tend to pass on large segments of the story and place a reliance on film clips and the film's music, citing the almost cinematic quality that the game produces as similar to the film. Others preferred the Sierra adventure title, which, while featuring less action and epic battles than the EA title, covers the story in greater detail and offers a more cerebral challenge.
Sierra's consequent adaptation of The Hobbit also received average reviews. It is unknown which developer/publisher would assume the task of adapting a film version of The Hobbit to a video game, especially since Jackson chose to work with Michel Ancel and Ubisoft on King Kong in light of his displeasure with EA.
Eventually in 2005, EA was able to secure the rights to both the films and the books, thus the Battle for Middle Earth II, incorporates elements of a Northern Campaign only alluded to in the books."
Source: Wikipedia, "Middle-earth_in_video_games", available under the CC-BY-SA License.