'Lord of the Rings' Online Multiplayer Game in the Works at Amazon

The Lord of the Rings logo-Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Amazon
The free-to-play PC and console game is based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's best-selling fantasy novels.

It began with the forging of the great rings...

Amazon Game Studios is collaborating with Middle-earth Enterprises and Chinese video game holding company Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited to develop and publish a free-to-play massively multiplayer online (MMO) game for PC and consoles based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings.

Set in the universe of Tolkien's novels, the new game will allow fans to explore the vast world of Middle-earth alongside players from around the globe. 

“Tolkien’s Middle-earth is one of the richest fictional worlds in history, and it gives our team of experienced MMO developers — from the same studio developing New World — tremendous opportunity to play and create," Amazon Game Studio vp Christoph Hartmann said in a statement. "We have a strong leadership team in place to helm this new project, and we’re actively growing our team to help build this incredible experience.”

Amazon Game Studios will jointly develop the game alongside Leyou. The American company will market and publish the title globally with the exception of China, which will be managed by Leyou. 

The development team for the upcoming game is made up of industry veterans who have worked on such other MMOs as Everquest and World of Warcraft, as well as Amazon Game Studios' own MMO New World, among others. The Lord of the Rings game is the same project that was revealed to be in development at Leyou's California-based publishing label Athlon Games last September.

“Bringing Middle-earth to life necessitates having the very best partners, and Amazon’s customer obsession, technology and talented teams make it the ideal choice for a co-developer and publisher,” said Leyou CEO Alex Xu.

The new game is not the only Tolkien project in the works at Amazon, as the company is also currently developing a series for its Amazon Prime streaming service based on The Lord of the Rings. The game and TV series are unrelated and being developed separately. Meanwhile, German developer Daedalic, in partnership with Middle-earth Enterprises, is also working on a game centered on the character Gollum from Tolkien's works. Middle-earth Enterprises, formerly known as Tolkien Enterprises, currently owns the exclusive worldwide rights to specific elements from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, a franchise worth upward of $15 billion.

Amazon Game Studio's The Lord of the Rings MMO does not currently have a release date or a finalized title.