It's been reported today that the plug has been pulled on hotly anticipated RPG Lord of the Rings: The White Council.

The rumours will be a devastating blow to fans of Tolkien's epic trilogy and Peter Jackson's blockbuster movies who were looking forward to an Oblivion-style experience set in the rich world of Middle-earth.

In the game, players would have been able to choose their role as a man, elf, dwarf or hobbit and explore massive open environments, with the ultimate goal of becoming a hero allied to the White Council - where they would encounter series stalwarts Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond.

When the game was announced, Executive Producer Steve Gray said: "Our extremely talented and dedicated team is committed to creating an incredible new experience for fans of The Lord of the Rings and role playing gamers. With its next generation gameplay and epic new storyline, we think The Lord of the Rings: The White Council will be a huge success."

Hopefully he wasn't just speaking too soon and the game is still on track for a late 2007 release on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Publisher EA declined to comment on the rumours when we called today, but a spokesperson said they were looking into the matter further.

We will let you know the latest news on The White Council as soon as we have it but, in the meantime, LOTR fans should keep their fingers firmly crossed.