Amazon has reached a deal with Embracer Group, the company that holds the IP rights for "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," to release a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The upcoming game will be an open-world MMO adventure set in Middle-earth, featuring the stories of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" literary trilogy.
The game is in early stages of production with the Amazon Games Orange County studio, which is the same studio behind the MMO New World. Amazon Games will publish the game globally for PC and consoles. Amazon says it will reveal additional details, including launch timing, at a later date.
Although Amazon Studios produces "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" for Prime Video, Amazon says the show is unrelated to this upcoming MMO game in development with Amazon Games.
“We’re committed to bringing players high-quality games, whether through original IPs or long-beloved ones like The Lord of the Rings," said Christoph Hartmann, the vice president of Amazon Games, in a press release. “Bringing players a fresh take on The Lord of the Rings has long been an aspiration for our team, and we’re honored and grateful that Middle-earth Enterprises is entrusting us with this iconic world. We’re also pleased to be expanding our relationship with Embracer Group following our Tomb Raider deal last year, as they’ve proven to be excellent collaborators.”
It's worth noting that the upcoming game will be Amazon's second go at a Lord of the Rings MMO. The company's first attempt was announced in 2019 and then canceled in 2021. The game was being co-developed by Amazon, Athlon Games and Leyou. The project was shelved after a disagreement between Amazon and Tencent, which acquired Leyou in 2020.
The news of the upcoming game comes as Amazon is furthering its push into video games and reworking its strategy. Earlier this year, the company laid off around 100 employees across its video games division. The layoffs included employees in the Game Growth group, Amazon’s San Diego gaming studio and Prime Gaming.
Amazon Games’ lineup includes the internally developed MMO New World and action role-playing game Lost Ark. The company is also developing a new multiplatform "Tomb Raider" title. Launched in 2013, Amazon Games has yet to produce a major hit despite several published projects. The company is now looking to cook up a success with a major fantasy franchise title that will likely garner attention.