In an article from Bloomberg released last Saturday, Jason Schrier reports that Amazon's video game division canceled the development of an online MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) based on the fantasy series Lord of the Rings. Amazon announced the game back in 2019 to loads of fan excitement, but apparently one does not simply create a hit MMORPG.
A photo from Steve Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The developers at Amazon Game Studios were developing the MMO alongside China-based Leyou Technologies Holdings, Ltd., which was purchased by Tencent Holdings Ltd. back in December. The contract negotiations that followed this purchase led to a dispute between Amazon and Tencent, leading to the game's cancellation.
Representatives for both Tencent and Amazon are remaining tight-lipped about the details, stating only that "we have been unable to secure terms to proceed with this title at this time." The Amazon team for Lord of the Rings will be moved onto other projects. A spokesperson for the games team said "We love the Lord of the Rings IP, and are disappointed that we won't be bringing this game to customers."
Cancelling the Lord of the Rings MMO is just one piece of a bad string of misfortune that Amazon's game division has experienced over the years. Since its founding in 2014, they have yet to produce a successful video game and have canceled several previously announced games, including Breakaway and Crucible. Another game they have in development called New World has been delayed indefinitely.
The game was supposed to be set in a Middle-earth that is much more akin to its literary counterpart than the movies were. The plan was to set the game in a deeper part of Middle-earth's history as a prequel to the better-known stories of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, which would have conveniently avoided any clashes with the current canon.
A screenshot from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Although the game isn't set to get off its (hairy Hobbit) feet, it seems that there won't be any issues with Amazon launching the highly anticipated Lord of the Rings TV series on Prime. If you're a Middle-earth fan and want to see more stories in that world, at least you'll have this to look forward to!
In the meantime, if you're looking for a Lord of the Rings game to be excited about, you can revisit Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor or start looking forward to the Gollum game that is still in development from Daedalic Entertainment.
Were you looking forward to the Lord of the Rings MMO? Have you played and enjoyed other Lord of the Rings games? Tell me about it!