The Lord of the Rings Slot Machine Saga

The online slot game adaptation of The Lord of the Rings saga is no less epic than the iconic brand it represents. In just two short years, it has become the most talked-about slot game in the history of online gaming, and even after its removal, players eagerly await its return. In February 2010, renowned software developer Microgaming announced a multi-year licensing agreement with Warner Bros to create high-quality slot video games based on the famous film trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. These slot games would incorporate graphics and animation from the movies, each of which had won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. At that time, Roger Raatgever, CEO of Microgaming, stated, "We are excited to bring The Lord of the Rings into the realm of online gaming, where our expertise in game quality and speed will ensure its success."

The launch took a while to arrive. Meanwhile, the advertising campaign and rumors were circulating as usual. In August 2010, Microgaming did not release any new games to build anticipation. The first part of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, went live in September 2010 simultaneously on all Microgaming online casinos. This slot game lived up to expectations. The introductory clip that played while the game was loading brought back the wonderful characters and exciting moments from the movie. Microgaming introduced a new feature called Cinematic Spins in The Lord of the Rings. The reels smoothly disappeared while spinning, and a popular movie clip played on the screen. The Lord of the Rings had to have Microgaming's 243 ways format. The film's characters were portrayed photographically as symbols, including Frodo, Sauron, and Galadriel. When they appeared in winning combinations, they recited their best movie dialogues.

In September 2011, exactly one year after its release, Microgaming breathed new life into the Fellowship of the Ring while players eagerly awaited the slot machine based on the trilogy's second part. Gollum the Hobbit, who had once been the Ring's owner, was added to the mix, capable of popping up anywhere and bestowing players with resources and bonuses. Another addition to the revamped Lord of the Rings slot game was its connection to the four-tier progressive jackpot, Mega Moolah, albeit with different names. The progressive Mithril jackpot started at 1 million credits. A randomly-triggered bonus game awaited players, where they had to choose between two towers and spin the corresponding wheel in hopes of winning one of the four jackpots.

By the end of June 2012, less than four years after its launch, The Lord of the Rings was removed from all Microgaming online casinos. Some online casinos indicated that the licensing agreement with Warner Bros had come to an end. In reality, the issue was slightly different. Warner Bros had acquired the rights to The Lord of the Rings from Harper Collins and J.R.R. Tolkien's estate. Both parties claimed that Warner Bros had violated the terms of the contract and filed an $80 million lawsuit. The contract granted limited marketing rights to Warner Bros for tangible property articles. Non-tangible rights were not covered in the original contract, according to Tolkien's estate. The lawsuit specifically targeted The Lord of the Rings slot game, labeling it "highly offensive." This brought a premature end to the first slot game, and it remains uncertain whether the remaining two will ever see the light of day.

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