On July 10th, it was announced that Amazon Game Studios, Middle-earth Enterprises and Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited will be developing and publishing a free-to-play massively multiplayer online game (MMO) for PC and consoles. The game will be based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s immensely popular fantasy series The Lord Of The Rings.
“Set in the world of Middle-earth portrayed in The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy, the game will give fans around the globe a new, immersive game experience for epic exploration of the vast world of Tolkien. In addition to the game development collaboration, Amazon Studios is separately developing a new Amazon Original TV series based on The Lord of the Rings for Prime Video unrelated to the game.”
There has been no release date for the game, nor will it tie into the TV show that Amazon is producing. Considering that they tied The Grand Tour Game to a Prime show, I find it odd that they are not going to do this with LOTR. The last game that I remember having a close connection to a show was Defiance.
I wanted to find out more about the groups involved in this game and what I found was quite shocking.
Amazon Game Studios was created in 2012, it was a bold initiative, they hired people that had developed acclaimed games like Portal, Far Cry 2, and System Shock 2.
“Amazon sought to make games in-between the industry standards of small and large teams making casual and AAA games, respectively. They wanted to to make projects like Minecraft, The Walking Dead, and The Room.”
Most of the talent was gone within the first year.
All but one game, The Grand Tour Game, are mobile/Fire TV games. Clearly, they don’t have the experience to manage a game of this size. My guess is that they are bankrolling this and will also utilize their massive cloud servers for the game.
Leyou owns Digital Extremes who developed hit games like the Unreal Series, The Darkness II, and Warframe. They are not mentioned to have any part of this game. Another Leyou Holding called Athlon Games is in charge of this, but to date have not published anything.
Athlon had previously announced this game back in September 2018. Amazon was not part of the deal at that time.
As for Middle-earth Enterprises, their official statement is the following:
“Inspired by a deep appreciation for the fictional world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-earth Enterprises is dedicated to working with businesses providing quality products in accordance with best green business and sustainability practices, including fair trade, equality in the workplace, and a commitment to protect our earth, its wondrous beauty and the viability of every living creature.
The Saul Zaentz Company dba Middle-earth Enterprises, has been producing and licensing films, merchandise and stage productions based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for more than 40 years. Headquarters are located in Berkeley, California.”
There Is Another
Don’t forget that there is already a Lord Of The Rings MMO that has been online since 2007: The Lord Of The Rings Online Shadows of Angmar. That game had a monthly charge but turned to the free-to-play model in 2011. Thus far, there have been six expansion packs released for the game.
I did find one article about the older LOTR license would expire in 2017 and noticed that there have been no new expansion packs since then. Could this be the reason for this new game?
That game is over 12 years old and with a new MMO announced, there may be an EOL announcement once the release date is set for the new game.
We will keep you updated on this game once more information on is released.