Amazon Games announces ambitious MMO set in Lord of the Rings Universe

Amazon Games
Amazon Games /

The Lord of the Rings fans are finally getting the MMO they have been wanting since it was canceled in 2021 due to a copyright lawsuit. Amazon Games has announced they will be publishing an MMO set in the LOTR universe. This comes as Amazon released The Rings of Power last year which garnered mixed reviews from fans of the original trilogy.

One of Amazon Games’ internal studios will lead development on the game, which is expected to be ” incredibly faithful to the rich fantasy lore established by Tolkien’s landmark novels.” The team is none other than Amazon Games Orange County, the studio behind New World.

New World was also a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and one of Amazon Games’ first big releases. Although New World has seen a huge player drop off since launch, Amazon Games has since found success with Lost Ark, an MMO action-RPG, and are publishing a new Tomb Raider game as well.

Developing a game inspired by the beloved LOTR franchise is no small order, but Orange County Studios is hoping to learn from its experience with New World and utilize what they developed with that game as a building block for the Lord of the Rings MMO. A press release outlined just how beneficial New World will be towards the development of Lord of the Rings:

"For example, New World enabled huge, multiplayer battles at a scale, which is uncommon in video games due to the sheer complexity of enabling dozens of players to seamlessly interact within the same instance. This proficiency has a clear application and relevance to Tolkien’s Third Age, which famously features large-scale battles of its own. In fact, this game will give the studio a new opportunity to take much of what worked so well for New World, revisit it with the benefits of several years’ worth of technology advancements, and apply them in a way that’s relevant to The Lord of the Rings."

IGN also had an in-depth interview with Amazon Games’ CEO Christoph Hartmann who expressed his interest in making this ambitious project:

"“This is a completely new game because the license is much, much wider… Obviously, there’s nothing changing because we all know the world is set, the characters are set. It’s really the freedom we have in terms of gameplay features where now anything is possible and the limitation is where it’s technically possible or not. Before, it was like, ‘It’s a good idea but we can’t do it because there’s something else going on.’ Now, the mission we are on, and the mission Embracer fully supports, Middle-earth Enterprises, fully supports, is to make the biggest best MMO out there based on Lord of the Rings. That’s our ambition.”"

While MMOs have been around for decades now, Hartmann is hoping to breathe fresh air into the genre, and take risks with The Lord of the Rings.

"“I think it’s very important for us also to take risks. And that’s probably the biggest challenge for the games industry. It’s not that there’s enough or too many titles out there. Are we willing to take the risk to try out new things? Because people want new things, and we know they’re big bets, but you have to keep on moving forward. And I think that’s the bigger risk than too many titles. Are we willing to take risks to do new things but really capture the minds of millions and millions of people to come?”"

The last Lord of the Rings game that was fun was The Return of the King published by EA. While Middle Earth and The Lord of the Rings franchise have had their ups and downs since the original Trilogy, Amazon looks to capitalize on their licensing and give fans what we want. Amazon games’ The Lord of the Rings game is in development for PC and consoles. No release date has been announced.