I'll probably be dead before Amazon's Lord of the Rings MMO is released

This dude likes rings.
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

A series of new job listings linked to Amazon's in-development Lord of the Rings MMO, first spotted by Gamespot, indicate that the project has barely begun. We first reported last year that Amazon was partnering up with Chinese publisher Leyou Technology Holdings to create a F2P Tolkien-'em-up, unrelated to its also-in-development TV series.

The game has been known about since 2018, before Amazon's involvement, but these latest postings suggest a project that's barely got off the ground.

A senior animator position will "work with the Art Director and Combat Design Lead on the foundations of navigation, combat and storytelling for an upcoming MMO based on The Lord of the Rings." An art director merely has to establish a "world class team", while character animators must come up with "an art style for our game that is 'different-at-a-glance' from the games and movies that have come before us." There's a similar style of listing for a UI lead, and a senior environment artist, and does anyone else feel that this all smells a bit like an internal reboot.

That's just my own specula-tron blaring but Amazon's recent track record in games is, outside of the acquisition of Twitch, very poor. The company's famed internal processes have thus far produced only generic and costly failures like the recently-cancelled Crucible, which does seem odd when one considers both the obvious resource it has, and how well it has done in areas like Prime video.

The job listings contain no real details on what to expect from the game, which is unsurprising as at this point Amazon probably doesn't know either. Making MMOs... it's not easy. Depending on who you talk to, World of Warcraft was in development for 4-5 years, and that was at the turn of the millennium. Who knows what's going on behind-the-scenes here but, if this releases before I croak, I'll eat my own ring of power.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."