What you need to know
- Amazon Games and Embracer Group's Middle-earth Enterprises have struck a deal for a new "The Lord of the Rings" game for consoles and PC.
- It will be an open-world MMO that features stories from "The Hobbit" as well as "The Lord of the Rings."
- "New World" dev, Amazon Games Orange County is heading up the project.
- Amazon Studios' "The Rings of Power" video series is unrelated to the upcoming MMO.
Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power isn't the only Middle-earth project going on right now. Within a few years, console and PC gamers will be able to play a brand new Tolkien-esque video game.
Today, an official Amazon games announcement revealed that this video game company has struck a deal with Middle-earth Enterprises via Embracer Group (part of Freemode) to create a brand new massively multiplayer online (MMO) open-world game that will take place in J.R.R Tolkien's fantasy world. The game will feature "beloved stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy." The Ring of Power video series is reportedly unrelated to the upcoming game.
This Lord of the Rings game is currently in early stages of production and is headed by "New World" developers, Amazon Games Orange County.
“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,” said Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode.
Last year, Embracer Group acquired Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and their associated studios from Square Enix. It appears that those working on the new Lord of the Rings MMO are major fans of Tolkien's stories and have long been inspired by them.
“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," continued Guinchard, "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 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”.
It's unclear exactly what consoles this upcoming Lord of the Rings game will launch on, but it would make sense for it to be Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 at least. Additionally, no projected release date or launch window has been mentioned as of yet, but this information will be shared at a future date.
Windows Central's take
While I love anything and everything to do with The Lord of the Rings, it's hard to get excited for any project associated with Amazon Games. So far, the relatively new gaming company's portfolio hasn't done anything close to creating the best PC games but has rather been tainted with at least one disastrous game launch as well as some middling fair.
You'll recall that its third-person hero shooter, Crucible, from Relentless Studios had a horribly buggy launch in 2020 and instead of fixing it, the project was canceled completely that same year and pulled from online distribution services. The reason for the cancelation was said to be based on the belief that Crucible couldn't be sustained and so there was a shift in focus on Amazon's other title, New World — an MMO fighting game.
However, while New World had a far more successful launch than Crucible (which is extremely easy to beat), this new adventure was underwhelming as you can read in our New World review. So it's hard to imagine that the extremely beloved Lord of the Ring and Hobbit stories will be done justice by anything owned by Amazon Games.
Now, of course, I'm willing to feel a spark of hope in regard to this game deal since Embracer Group is involved. This company encompasses several publishers and developers that you might recognize including Gearbox, THQ Nordic, and Deep Silver — all of which have produced some excellent games including the Borderlands series, the Dead Island series, and much more. Perhaps being buoyed by other video game veterans and getting input from other professionals might help this upcoming MMO turn into something great, but we'll have to see.
On another note, it might be tempting to bring Amazon Studios' The Rings of Power into this discussion. However, while the Prime Video-exclusive series has met with mixed responses it's important to recognize that working on a video series is a completely different animal from working on a video game.
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Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's gaming editors with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of game guides, previews, features, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).