Amazon Game Studios announced on Wednesday that it will be co-developing a Lord of the Rings MMO. Originally announced last September by Athlon Games, the as-of-yet untitled game promises to show players previously unexplored parts of Middle Earth.
Per the 2018 press release, “Athlon Games, a global publisher of console and PC games, announced it has signed a long-term licensing agreement with Middle-earth Enterprises to develop and publish a video game based on The Lord of the Rings. Athlon Games is working with a partner developer to create an online game set in the world of Middle-earth™ at a time long before the events of The Lord of the Rings, exploring lands, people and creatures never seen before by fans of the Tolkien universe.”
Since the game hasn’t been in development for long, there isn’t many hard facts out there. Athlon has said the game will be available on consoles and PC, for example, but not specifically which consoles. When it releases, The Lord of the Rings MMO will be a free-to-play game.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon is working on its Lord of the Rings prequel show with help from Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman. Though the narratives of the show and game are separate, Amazon’s co-development could signal a bigger, perhaps monopolistic picture over the I.P. As Christoph Hartmann, vice president of Amazon Game Studios says, “Tolkien’s Middle-earth is one of the richest fictional worlds in history,” making it a rich source for content from the mega-corporation.
Teams working on this game, between both Amazon Game Studios and Athlon, include developers of Everquest, Destiny, Planetside, World of Warcraft, New World and Warframe.