Update 4/19/21: According to The Verge, Amazon has cancelled its Lord of the Rings MMO game, after Leyou was acquired by Tencent Holdings in December 2020.
Amazon paid so much for the rights to The Lord of the Rings we’re not even sure Smaug had enough gold to best their offer. If you’re going to spend $250 million dollars on anything though, you better get your money’s worth. For Amazon that will mean more than just producing a very expensive TV show that could run their total commitment to the franchise at a cool billion dollars. The company is teaming up with Leyou to develop a new console and PC MMO based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy. But the best part might be that despite the price tag Amazon ponied up to enter Middle-Earth, it won’t cost you anything to play.
Amazon Games announced they are working with Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited and Middle-earth Enterprises to “develop and publish a free-to-play massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on the milestone fantasy literary work The Lord of the Rings“. While it will take place in the Middle-earth of Tolkien’s trilogy, it is unrelated to the prequel show currently in production.
New Line Cinema
“We’re committed to bringing customers games of the highest quality, both with our own original IP as well as beloved cultural pillars like The Lord of the Rings,” said Amazon Game Studios VP Christoph Hartmann in a statement, “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.”
In addition to the team behind Amazon’s New World, developers from Everquest, Destiny, Planetside, World of Warcraft, Defiance, Rift, and other MMOs will also work on the game, which was first announced last year by Athlon Games, a subsidiary of Leyou.
While there is currently no release date or title for this game, Amazon will market and publish the title globally except in China, which Leyou will handle. And, despite how much Amazon paid for The Lord of the Rings, you won’t have to handle your wallet. Talk about getting your money’s worth.
This article was originally posted on July 12, 2019.