IGN had an interview with Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel and Director of Communications Adam Mersky at Turbine about their new Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG.
Here's a snip:
IGN: When working with Tolkien, obviously the fiction is very descriptive. Did you find that restricting in terms of the kinds of environments you wanted to create? Were there things that you wanted to include in the game that didn't mesh with the fiction?
Jeffrey Steefel: In general, working with any IP [intellectual property] and working with this kind of lore is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, sure there were certain things we can't do. But it also gives us a lot of context that we didn't have to create ourselves. We still have the flexibility to create Angmar, which [Tolkien] talks about loosely in the books but he never really goes into great description about what Angmar looked like, what kind of architecture existed in Angmar. There's a whole part of Middle-earth that we were able to build from scratch, so we were able to scratch that itch for the artists and the creative people on the team. In terms of places like the Shire or Rivendell, places that are familiar to people from the books, there's so much depth there, there's so much tone and history described for each of the places it actually gives us a lot of richness to work from. It wasn't very constraining on the art side.