Back at the beginning of the 2000s and the big hype of the Lord of the Rings franchise, EA released some games based on the popular LOTR movies. Nevertheless, a lot of people wondered why the game series started with The Two Towers, but not Fellowship of the Ring. Fans received answers almost 2 decades later.
The reason is pretty obvious and not that mysterious. Long story short - Peter Jackson worked that fast, that the development of the games just couldn’t get in time with him.
According to the latest issue of Retro Gamer, the lead designer of the classic LOTR games Jason Epps revealed that it was planned to release Fellowship of the Ring first as it goes primarily in the lore. Nevertheless, it was decided to mix the two first films into one game as it was much more profitable in terms of marketing and time. In this way, the game was released at the same time as the release of The Two Towers movie in 2002.
The development of the LOTR games based on movies started about a year before the official release of Fellowship of the Ring. Nevertheless, even in the early stages of the development, Stormfront Studios realized that they just couldn’t finish the game simultaneously to the premiere of the first movie. Such a problem was quite big as the cross-marketing plan looked perfect. In fact, it was perfect indeed as the trilogy started one of the biggest hypes in the media industry that made the games become hits automatically due to the success of the films. Epps explained, that the only way to follow the plan was to make a release at the time of the premiere of the second film.
Jason Epps stated that the idea to make a mix of two first films wasn’t invented in advance. With the decision to release The Two Towers first, Stormfront already had a pretty big amount of unused pre-release material which would be a part of the first game. In this way, the developers decided to keep it and put in The Two Towers fulfilling the absence of Fellowship of the Ring as well as using the result of the development of one year.
At that time, there was a pretty common confusion related to the LOTR setting as the American studio called Surreal Software released The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring game based on Tolkien’s books instead of the movies. As the Internet was not that common these days, it was quite confusing for people to play two quite different games which are implied as part of the same series. However, those who started with The Two Towers weren’t confused at all.