New Lord of the Rings MMO in Development at Amazon for PC / Consoles
The idea of a Lord of the Rings MMO certainly isn't anything new. One need only look at the PC-exclusive Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar to see how the idea turned out in practice. That MMORPG released all the way back in 2007 (which shouldn't feel that long ago, but it was). The game still has a thriving community, especially due to its free-to-play asking price. Well, it's time to look forward, friends. As it turns out, Amazon Game Studios has had their minds on this idea too. In a recent announcement, AGS announced that they'll be working in collaboration with Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited and Middle-earth Enterprises to create a new Lord of the Rings MMORPG for PC and consoles.
Higher-ups of both companies had plenty to say about it, with Amazon Game Studios vice president Christoph Hartmann voicing his optimism. "We're committed to bringing customers games of the highest quality, both with our own original IP as well as beloved cultural pillars like The Lord of the Rings," he stated. "Tolkien's Middle-earth is one of the richest fictional worlds in history, and it gives our team of experienced MMO developers -from the same studio developing New World- tremendous opportunity to play and create." New World just so happens to be another MMO in development at Amazon, and boasts quite a handful of industry vets working on it. They'll be contributing their skills to the development of the LotR MMO, which currently doesn't have any name to be seen.
The collaboration does mean that both Leyou and Amazon will jointly handle development and publishing, with Leyou specifically focusing on publishing in China. "Bringing Middle-earth to life necessitates having the very best partners, and Amazon's customer obsession, technology, and talented teams make it the ideal choice for a co-developer and publisher," stated Alex Xu, Leyou Technologies' CEO. "We believe our combined resources and expertise will result in a beautiful and compelling game that customers will love and play for years to come." It's important to note that this new MMO will be based entirely on Tolkien's original book series, rather than the Peter Jackson film trilogy adaptation. This is the same route that Lord of the Rings Online went, and allows for the studio to add in creatures and characters not yet seen by fans.
One can only imagine how big the MMO will be though, as there's plenty of world in Tolkien's books to dig through. There are no specific platform confirmations or release windows just yet for the project, though we may hear more in the coming year. What we do know is that it will be free-to-play, which likely means it will have a secondary membership or microtransactions of some sort to help keep it afloat. According to Amazon, the MMO's story and lore will also be situated before the events of the novel trilogy. Make of that what you will. As is always the case with these early announcements, the rest is just a waiting game until we hear more. Keep it secret, keep it safe.