The Lord of the Rings is getting a massively multiplayer online (MMO) video game adaptation, IP rights holder Embracer Group announced on Monday. Amazon Games’ Orange County studio, which previously worked on New World, will lead development on the title, which will be published globally for PC and consoles. The open-world MMO is currently in the early stages of production and will feature stories from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit literary trilogy by author J.R.R. Tolkien — in a “persistent world set in Middle-earth”. In terms of details, that’s all we have for now. This marks Amazon’s second attempt at a LOTR MMO, which was announced in 2019 as a free-to-play title, before getting cancelled in early 2021.
“We’re committed to bringing players high-quality games, whether through original IPs or long-beloved ones like The Lord of the Rings,” Christoph Hartmann, vice president, Amazon Games, said in a prepared statement. “Bringing players a fresh take on The Lord of the Rings has long been an aspiration for our team, and we’re honoured and grateful that Middle-earth Enterprises is entrusting us with this iconic world. We’re also pleased to be expanding our relationship with Embracer Group following our Tomb Raider deal last year, as they’ve proven to be excellent collaborators.”
Back in February, Embracer confirmed that it had five LOTR games in development, expected to release within the next two years — specifically, within the next financial year, which runs from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024. While not explicitly mentioned, the LOTR MMO could very well be the fifth title in the mix. Speaking to IGN, Hartmann also confirmed that the project is a brand-new take and that it “won’t be using any materials” from the cancelled The Lord of the Rings MMO. He also alluded that the 2019 project wasn’t a full-blown production and that it had a fairly small team working on a part of the game. Amazon Games has since expanded on its MMO roots through New World, transporting players to the supernatural island of Aeternum, and enjoying its fair share of limelight on Steam’s charts. It also launched Lost Ark for Western audiences.
In December, the company also announced a deal with Crystal Dynamics to publish the next Tomb Raider game. The studio revealed that the title will utilise Unreal Engine 5 and described it as a single-player narrative-driven game that continues Lara Croft’s arc. The franchise was previously published by Square Enix, which sold off its numerous properties last year.
Besides the aforementioned MMO title, Embracer has four other games based on The Lord of the Rings IP. First up, is The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a story-focused game where you stealthily navigate Middle-earth through the eyes of the slimy titular character, on a quest to retrieve the One Ring — your ‘precious.’ It releases May 25 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. Beyond that, Free Range Games is working on The Lord of the Rings: Moria, a survival crafting and base-building game centred around the Dwarves, as they set forth on an adventure to reclaim their lost home of Moria. A third untitled game based on the Middle-earth franchise is in development at Weta Workshop, followed by possibly EA’s The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, a mobile game focused on turn-based combat, a wide roster of characters, and “deep collection systems.”
Currently, there are no release details for the untitled The Lord of the Rings MMO, but we can expect it to arrive on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X.