Amazon is taking another stab at making a massively multiplayer Lord of the Rings game. Today, the company announced that it is partnering with the Embracer Group — the media company that holds the IP rights for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit — for a new open-world MMO that takes place in “a persistent world set in Middle-earth.” Development will be led by Amazon’s Orange County studio, the same team behind the MMO New World, which launched in 2021. The game is described as being “in early stages of production,” with no details on release date. It’s coming to PC and consoles, according to Amazon.
This will be the company’s second attempt at a Lord of the Rings MMO. The first was announced in 2019 and was canceled two years later. And while Amazon also has the very expensive Lord of the Rings series The Rings of Power on Prime Video, the company says that it “is unrelated to this upcoming MMO game in development with Amazon Games.”
The news comes as Amazon continues to push further into video games, particularly when it comes to publishing. In addition to developing New World, the company has also published Smilegate’s Diablo-style title Lost Ark and is partnering with Bandai Namco on the upcoming online world Blue Protocol. Meanwhile, last year, Amazon announced a deal with Crystal Dynamics to publish the next Tomb Raider game. (Like Lord of the Rings, Tomb Raider is another one of the many properties under the Embracer umbrella.)
It’s a surprisingly busy time for gaming in Middle-earth. EA just launched the mobile title Heroes of Middle-earth, while the action-adventure game Gollum is due out this year. Weta Workshop, the special effects house behind the Lord of the Rings movies, is also making a game set in the fantasy universe. Meanwhile, the original Middle-earth MMO, The Lord of the Rings Online, is still chugging along.