A new free-to-play Lord of the Rings MMO is coming to consoles and PC but weirdly it’s not related to Amazon’s new TV show.
As you may know, Amazon is planning what’s reported to be the most expensive TV show ever made, with the budget for their Lord of the Rings epic estimated at anything up to $1 billion (£775m).
So when you hear the news that their games division is working on a new Lord of the Rings game you’d assume that the two are connected, but oddly they’re not.
‘Set in the world of Middle-earth portrayed in The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy, the game will give fans around the globe a new, immersive game experience for epic exploration of the vast world of Tolkien’, is the only description they’re currently offering.
The thing is the show is set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, which is before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings books and movies. With Amazon themselves insisting that the show is ‘unrelated to the game’.
What makes the situation even stranger is that Amazon are making the game in conjunction with Athlon Games, which acquired the rights last year and announced it as, ‘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.’
That sounds like the game was originally intended to be set during the Second Age, or earlier, so Amazon made them change it. Possibly because their version of the Second Age is very different or possibly because of some legal issue with the rights.
The other complication is that there already is an MMO set during the movie/book era, but having started back in 2007 The Lord Of The Rings Online is getting a bit long in the tooth now.
Presumably it’s now going to lose the licence and/or be shut down, although naturally that’s not something Amazon is talking about.
Amazon are also not willing to give a name or release date for their game – and there’s no artwork or screenshots – but they have revealed that development will be led by the same team behind MMO New World, along with input from other Amazon Game Studios teams based in the U.S.
That apparently means access to developers that have worked on the likes of Everquest, Destiny, Planetside, World Of Warcraft, Defiance, and Rift – although none have been mentioned by name.
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