Amazon Games is taking another shot at Middle-earth.
The ecommerce giant announced a deal with Middle-earth Enterprises for Amazon Games to develop and publish a new massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic “The Lord of the Rings.”
The upcoming game, as yet untitled, will be “an open-world MMO adventure in a persistent world set in Middle-earth, featuring the beloved stories of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ literary trilogy,” according to Amazon. The game is in early stages of production, with development led by Amazon Games Orange County, the studio behind Amazon Games’ open-world MMO game “New World.” Amazon Games will publish the game globally for PC and consoles, but it did not announce an expected launch date.
Amazon Games reached the new deal with Middle-earth Enterprises, the entity responsible for licensing Tolkien’s works that was acquired by video-game conglomerate Embracer Group in 2022.It’s Amazon’s second attempt to build a “Lord of the Rings” MMO.
In 2019, it set plans for a massively multiplayer online game set in “a time long before the events of ‘The Lord of the Rings’” with Leyou Technologies, a Hong Kong-based games company. But Amazon abandoned the project after China’s Tencent acquired Leyou, Amazon and Tencent failed to come to terms on a new deal for the game.
Separately, Amazon Studios produces pricey original series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” for Prime Video, which is set during Tolkien’s Second Age of Middle-earth and is unrelated to the upcoming MMO title from Amazon Games. (In February, Warner Bros. announced a deal with Middle-earth Enterprises for multiple “LOTR” movies.)
“We’re committed to bringing players high-quality games, whether through original IPs or long-beloved ones like ‘The Lord of the Rings,’” Amazon Games VP Christoph Hartmann said in announcing the deal. “Bringing players a fresh take on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ has long been an aspiration for our team, and we’re honored and grateful that Middle-earth Enterprises is entrusting us with this iconic world.”
Last year, Amazon Games cut a deal with Embracer-owned studio Crystal Dynamics for a new multiplatform title in the “Tomb Raider” series . Hartmann praised the Embracer team as “excellent collaborators.”
“The world of Middle-earth continues to prove an endlessly fertile ground for creators, and Amazon Games has a passion for building immersive, compelling worlds and publishing games for a global audience,” said Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode, Embracer’s division that houses Middle-earth Enterprises. “We’re taking every care to deliver an MMO which will do justice to the expansive Middle-earth universe and delight players around the world.”
Amazon Games’ lineup includes the internally developed MMO “New World” and action role-playing game “Lost Ark” from Smilegate RPG. In addition to plans for the next major “Tomb Raider” game, Amazon has announced publishing agreements with NCSoft for “Throne and Liberty,” Bandai Namco Online for “Blue Protocol,” and Glowmade and Disruptive Games for unannounced titles. (Variety)