Is The Last Alliance?
TLA is a defunct concept for
a video game based on works of J.R.R. Tolkien, that was developed by volunteers as a non-profit, educational initiative.
Some of the concepts were implented in code, but the software development of this project has been long discontinued.
What remains of TLA is a set of texts which study and interpret Tolkien's works (i.e. criticism, comment, scholarship and research) and a set of original artwork inspired by Tolkien's works.
History of The Last Alliance
the beginning, there was a modding team. This modding team called
itself Wildfire Studios and was founded in January 2001. By May
of that year, Wildfire Studios had distinguished itself above other
modding teams for its legendary Age of Kings modpack, Rome at War,
which is still considered among the best modpacks ever made. In
fact, Rome at War was even featured in and distributed with computer
in late 2001, Wildfire Studios began its next project, which was
codenamed, "0 A.D." This project was going to be a total-conversion
modification for Age of Kings, which set the game in the era from
500 B.C. to 500 A.D.. It was during this time, a time when public
interest in Tolkien's work was on the uprise from the hype for the
first movie, that some members of Wildfire Studios began to conceptualize
The Last Alliance. Josef_Bugman, a veteran modder took it upon himself
to create The Last Alliance as another one of Wildfire Studios'
Josef_Bugman sought out help from all around the Internet, enlisting
many people, and eventually catching the attention of Adam (av_nefardec). In the early days
of TLA, Josef_Bugman wanted no less than to recreate the New Line
Cinema LotR film within Age of Kings. Then, in the first quarter
of 2002, Wildfire Studios changed its name to Wildfire Games, to
avoid complications with an already existing game development studio.
first part of 2002 saw little advancement with the project except
in the way of building graphics. The reason for this was simple.
Both TLA and 0 A.D. were unsure of how they could fit all that they
wanted to create into the rather limited scope of an AoK modpack.
So in early 2002, TLA became Wildfire Games' first game development
project. 0 A.D. soon followed suit, and is now doing very well as
an independently developed historical RTS.
Summer of 2002 was a rough time for the fledgling TLA. Josef_Bugman,
whose time for the project was severly restriced by both university
and personal reasons was forced to devote less and less of his energy
to the project. It was during this time that Josef_Bugman appointed
Adam (av_nefardec) as provisional project leader. Adam, by this
time enthralled by the very idea of TLA, tried to pick up the pieces
of the project and start anew.
the first things Adam did to revamp TLA was to induct several members
into the TLA team, not the least of whom was Elfthehunter, a senior
game designer today on the project. With Elfthehunter and others,
Adam set off blindly into the world of game development. They began
to write a game design document.
in December of 2002, TLA started the expansion process. TLA went
out and recruited no less than twelve new members, among them were
conceptual artists, musicians, database programmers, and linguists.
Game Design became more meticulous, as the
team learned more and more about what game development was all about.
In the spring of 2003, however, the team learned of possible legal implications of
the development of such a project as TLA. The team attempted to adjust itself and development continued through 2007, but development slowly came to a halt afterwards. In September 2012, Wildfire Games publicly announced that the development of TLA would be discontinued until further notice. The team also announced that original content created during the design of TLA would be preserved as a cultural asset for Tolkien devotees, and as insipiration for those interested in fantasy mods and games.
— Based on a 2007 text by the TLA Staff; Edited by Aviv Sharon ("Jeru"), a contributor to 0 A.D., in September 2012.