* The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (EA, for PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and PC, out this fall) will have footage from the film (due Dec. 17) and lets you play as Gandalf, Frodo, Sam or -- as in last year's The Two Towers -- Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas. A collaborative multiplayer mode "simulates that whole Fellowship experience," says EA development director Arcadia Kim.
* [Harry Potter]: Quidditch World Cup (EA for PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and PC, out this fall) lets fans compete for the Hogwarts trophy and in "competitions" in Japan, the USA and other sites.
Online sports competition will get even more realistic on the PS2 and Xbox as Sony, Microsoft and developers add more voice features to games this fall. Trash talking will be standard on games such as EA's NBA Live 2004, Microsoft's NFL Fever and Sega's NFL 2K4. Microsoft and EA both plan online expansions that will allow gamers to compete in tournaments.
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