Amazon Games announced this week plans to develop and publish a new massively multiplayer online game inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The game is already in the early stages of production with development being led internally by Amazon Games Orange County, the studio responsible for New World.
New World was one of the first major releases under the Amazon Games banner, and Amazon Games Orange County studio is hoping to leverage its learnings with the game on the newly announced The Lord of the Rings project. New World was also an open-world, massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and many of its features will help serve as the foundation for the development of The Lord of the Rings.
In comparing the similarities of two games and how The Lord of the Rings will benefit from its predecessor, Amazon Games explained in its press release:
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. While New World’s Azoth Engine will form the foundation of the game, the Orange County studio plans to evolve that engine considerably to deliver something that feels distinct from New World and fitting for the world of Middle-earth. The team has some big plans for the next generation of New World’s Azoth Engine that will unlock exciting new possibilities for its take on Middle-earth.
You may recall that Amazon Games had previously been linked to the development of an MMO based on The Lord of the Rings.
“We were so excited to get that first opportunity to build an MMO based on one of the world’s most beloved fantasy properties, so it broke our hearts when that initial deal ultimately fell through,” Christoph Hartmann, vice president of Amazon Games, said of that experience. “We were so endeared to Tolkien’s world and the project that we never gave up on the possibility of one day bringing it back to the table. So, you can imagine our absolute delight when our friends at Embracer Group and Middle-earth Enterprises formally gave us the green light to get to work.”
“We’re honored and flattered by their faith in us,” he added. “And we’re determined to build the best possible The Lord of the Rings MMO and something that the franchise’s millions of fans all over the world will truly love.”
Specific details about the game’s lore or general combat mechanics have not been revealed, but Amazon Games did promise to deliver an experience “incredibly faithful to the rich fantasy lore established by Tolkien’s landmark novels.” A release date has not been announced, but the game will be available on PC and consoles when it does launch.
Interestingly, this isn’t the only MMO based on The Lord of the Rings. In 2007, developer Turbine released The Lord of the Rings Online. The now free-to-play MMO is still live today — now being developed by Standing Stone Games — and updated regularly with its most recent expansion, Fate of Gundabad, having released in 2021.