Kids these days have it so easy. Ever since the Lord of the Rings film trilogy rocketed the fantasy genre into the mainstream, game developers just can't seem to get enough of Middle Earth. All I had growing up was that ridiculously hard Interplay RPG set amongst the 1978 Ralph Bakshi animated film, and I was lucky if I could get the disc to even run thanks to a bug in the game's audio functions.

Nowadays, the unmistakable Peter Jackson aesthetic dominates the IP, and his Middle Earth has been crammed into action games, MMORPGs, strategy games, and now a pick-up-and-play MOBA (Multiplayer online battle arena) game entitled Guardians of Middle Earth (which is set for release later this year).

The new video released by Monolith Productions shows gameplay tactics from two of the game's hero's, Gandalf and Gollum. Gandalf acts as the ultimate tank, taking punishment while blessing his friends with buffs and hitting enemies with massive AoE attacks. On the other hand, Gollum lurks in the shadows and jumps out at his opponents dealing out huge damage from sneak attacks before quickly retreating.

RTS fans have found the best possible way to evolve their favorite genre. MOBAs have clearly overshadowed the traditional side of the strategy genre over the last few years, and they now have their first big shot with a huge licensed name behind it. How much longer until Star Wars jumps aboard?

Guardians of Middle Earth has no specific launch date, but it is expected for release before the year is finished. It will be released for Xbox LIVE Arcade and the PlayStation Network.

[via TheVerge]