More details have emerged about the online Lord of the Rings game that was announced last year. Amazon Game Studios announced that it’s partnering with Leyou Technologies and its Athlon Games label to create a free-to-play Lord of the Rings MMO.
The game is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings literary trilogy–the books, not the movies–so it may feature some familiar faces. However, no story details are available at this stage, though Amazon did confirm that this project–which has no release date–is separate from Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV show. That program takes place in the Second Age, which is long before the events of the books.
“The game will give fans around the globe a new, immersive game experience for epic exploration of the vast world of Tolkien,” Amazon said in a press release.
The untitled Lord of the Rings MMO is being made for console and PC, and Amazon will market and publish the game everywhere in the world except China; Leyou will handle it there.
The game is being developed by the same internal Amazon studio that’s working on its 17th Century MMO New World. People working on the Lord of the Rings game include veterans who worked on big online games such as Destiny, Planetside, WoW, Everquest, Defiance, and Rift.
It appears plans may have changed for the Lord of the Rings MMO, as it was initially reported that the game is set in Middle-earth “a long time” before the events of The Lord of the Rings. The game was believed to cover “lands, people, and creatures never before seen” in the Tolkien universe, but now it seems things might have shifted.
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings MMO will seemingly compete directly with the existing Lord of the Rings MMO, The Lord of the Rings Online, which launched all the way back in 2007, and is also based on the books, not the movies. The game is still in operation to this day, though its ownership has changed hands. That game never made the jump to console, however, while Amazon plans to release its game on console. Amazon’s game has no release date, which suggests it’s not coming soon. That means it could potentially release on the Xbox Scarlett and PlayStation 5, though this is only conjecture.
Middle-earth Enterprises, which controls the non-literary rights to Tolkien’s work, is involved with and excited about Amazon’s new game.
“Who among us hasn’t wanted to take part in an epic adventure,” Middle-earth Enterprises brand and licensing boss Fredrica Drotos said in a statement. “More than 60 years after the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, we’re delighted that Amazon Game Studios has partnered with Leyou to bring their respective expertise to build a much anticipated game that will immerse us in the beloved, epic world of Middle-earth, envisioned by Professor Tolkien.”
In addition to this new MMO, Daedelic Entertainment is making a Lord of the Rings game that focuses on Gollum.
Leyou Technologies owns Digital Extremes (Warframe) and Splash Damage (Gears of War 4 multiplayer), while it previously invested millions of dollars into Halo and Call of Duty co-developer Certain Affinity.
Video games are just one part of Leyou’s business. The company also operates a slaughtering and processing facility in China that is capable of processing 18 million chickens every year.