Amazon is making another Lord of the Rings MMO, despite cancelling the last one

Aragorn grinning
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Despite falling out with Tencent during its last attempt to develop a Lord of the Rings MMO, Amazon Games has decided to get back on the horse and try again. It's spawned out of a new deal with Embracer Group, which acquired Middle-earth Enterprises last year, and with it the "intellectual property catalogue and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions" of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. 

The last attempt fell through when Leyou, which previously had the MMO rights, was acquired by Tencent in 2020. This prompted Middle-earth Enterprises to terminate the rights to the LotR licence, necessitating new terms. But Amazon and Tencent couldn't get on, so an agreement wasn't hashed out and the MMO was canned. 

Now Amazon has entered into an agreement with Embracer and Middle-earth Enterprises without Tencent, and the company will develop and publish the new Lord of the Rings MMO, which has yet to be blessed with a title. It's in the early stages of production with Amazon Games Orange County, the developer of New World, but we'll have to wait until a later date for concrete details. 

Despite Amazon making The Rings of Power, the announcement notes that the MMO will be set around the era of the core books and films—the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. That might be bad news for existing MMO Lord of the Rings Online, currently published by Daybreak Game Company, which has been kicking around for 16 years and also covers the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth.

I wasn't enamoured with New World, but I'm still interested to see what lessons the studio has learned from developing and maintaining a large MMO. Not that I expect to see the results for a long time. I'm in no rush, though, because I don't have a clue what I'd want from another LotR MMO. Aside from the fact that I'd be very keen to play as a hobbit-eating orc. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.