Jeff Bezos must be on a Tolkien kick, because now Amazon’s got two big Lord of the Rings projects in the works: A Lord of the Rings TV series which looks like it might land some time in 2021, and now they’re officially working on an MMO set in Middle Earth as well.
The Lord of the Rings is a logical setting for an MMO – so much so that this isn’t the first time it’s been done. For those of you who can remember back as far as 2007, you might know that The Lord of the Rings Online was (and still is) a thing. Developers Standing Stone and Daybreak are the current benchmark for such a product, and with Amazon’s production and development budget we’re excited to see what they can give us.
Who’s behind the project?
Amazon Game Studios is in charge of the MMO project, but they’re not doing it alone. They’re getting help from Athlon Games, Leyou and Digital Extremes, the guys who made Warframe, The Darkness 2, Bioshock 2’s multiplayer, and the Unreal Tournament series.
Will the game be based on the upcoming TV series?
For better or for worse, the MMO will have nothing to do with the upcoming TV series. Amazon has since confirmed that the two are unrelated and are being developed independently of each other. It’s an odd choice considering that both projects are allegedly set thousands of years before The Hobbit and the War of the Ring trilogy.
We have to admit a little disappointment not to be seeing some of our favorite characters from Peter Jackson’s trilogy (though we suppose they could throw in an immortal character like Gandalf if they so choose), but are anxious to see what they do with “the time that is given to them.” Athlon has described the MMO 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.”
Does it have a title?
It certainly will! Alas, there’s nothing official yet.
Which platforms can play the game?
Amazon has said the game will be playable both on PC and on console. We hope they’re planning for cross-platform compatibility; we’ve already got eight friends who’d make a great fellowship, and not all of them play on PC.
When’s the game coming out?
Not soon enough! Amazon hasn’t revealed a release window yet, but we’re probably looking at 2021 earliest, considering how much time and development goes into a polished product like this’ll need to be.
Though the MMO and TV series will be unrelated to each other, with two major projects set in Tolkien’s world there’s no doubt the public’s gaze will be set on Middle Earth in the coming years.
Stay tuned with Softonic for more information as it’s made available, and watch that first step off of Khazad-dum; it’s a doozy.