Amazon is heavily invested in the Lord of the Rings after spending a fortune to acquire the rights to the source material from the Tolkien estate. It is no surprise that the company is expanding into video games after announcing a new MMO set in Middle-earth.
Amazon announced that it is collaborating with the Embracer Group to develop a new open-world MMO set in the Lord of the Rings universe. The Embracer Group owns the video game rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
According to the announcement, the upcoming game 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." The Lord of the Rings MMO project is reportedly early in its development and is being led by Amazon Games Orange County. The studio worked on the open-world MMO New World which according to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the company’s first success "after many failures and setbacks in gaming."
"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," Amazon Games VP Christoph Hartmann said of the upcoming title. "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."
The Embracer Group acquired Middle-earth Enterprises in 2022 from The Saul Zaentz Company. The company now owns worldwide rights to films, video games, board games, merchandise, theme parks, and stage productions based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
"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," Lee Guinchard, CEO of Embracer Freemode said.
"We have the clear ambition to create the highest-quality entertainment products for this IP, whether we utilize internal resources or team up with the best industry partners that complement our capabilities. 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."
This is not the first time Amazon Games worked on a Lord of the Rings MMO. The company partnered with Athlon Games to develop an MMO based on the popular novel. Athlon’s parent company Leyou Technologies was acquired by Tencent in December 2020. The game was reportedly canceled because of a dispute with Tencent.
It will be interesting to see how Amazon develops this new MMO given its success with its hit TV show The Rings of Power. A vast open-world MMO featuring the classes and races found in J.R.R. Tolkien's novels sounds rather appealing to fans. Getting to play as a Dwarf berserker, a Half-Elf ranger, and a Hobbit thief is quite intriguing. Hopefully, the upcoming title will include most, if not all, of the major landmarks in Middle-earth as it plays a major part in what fans envision a Lord of the Rings game would be.
It would be awesome if the MMO featured some of the massive epic battles giving players a chance to participate in these iconic moments. As with most MMOs, character customization, skill and weapon progression, and world-building will be crucial to the success of the title. Amazon will have their hands full as fans would expect something as grandiose as World of Warcraft in this new MMO.
The upcoming The Lord of the Rings MMO is coming to PC and consoles. No release date has been announced for the title.