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Lord Of The Rings goes back in time

Brand new details on The White Council: pre-LOTR trilogy RPG set to challenge Oblivion?

Following on from yesterday's official announcement of The Lord Of The Rings: The White Council, we're pleased to report that we've unearthed even more juicy info on this luscious looking RPG.

Set eighty years before The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, the game is set to ship on Xbox 360, PS3 and possibly PC too, though according to executive producer Steve Gray - and contrary to yesterday's press release - this isn't yet official. Go figure.

The game will place you firmly in the sweaty socks of a hardy adventurer charged by Gandalf and the rest of the White Council to help save Middle-earth from a sinister evil.

According to Gray, the game will be a cross between Oblivion and The Two Towers/Return Of The King and will focus primarily on NPC interaction based on AI technology borrowed from The Sims franchise. Of course there'll be plenty of goblin bashing to be had too, with the combat system based on a combination of behind-the-scenes stats and your own personal skill with a controller.

Despite the fact that The White Council is set eight decades before Frodo sets off on his adventures, there'll still be plenty of your favourite characters reprising their roles, including Sauron and Galadriel, while you'll also get to enjoy a vast collection of Middle-earth locales such as Grey Havens and Rivendell.

As well as getting our mitts on all this new info, we also got a sneak peek at the stunning trailer in which the characters looked so real you could practically reach out and slap the beard off Gandalf's face. Gray was keen to point out that he and his team were aiming to recreate this level of detail in-game, with HD 720p milked to within an inch of its life in order to create some of the most realistic visuals ever seen.

It's all sounding very promising so far, but we'll reserve judgement until we've seen some proper in-game footage and had a chance to sample the delights of the gameplay for ourselves. But if Gray and his team deliver on their promises, we reckon Oblivion might just start getting a bit clammy under the pits.