Thank goodness Return to Moria looks good because honestly I was going to play the Lord of the Rings crafting game either way

Lord of the Rings games didn't get a great start this year with the ropey Gollum game but I'm feeling pretty optimistic about incoming crafting and survival game Return to Moria. Gollum was a weird pitch even when we first heard about it and I felt little surprise it landed flat. A dwarven crafting and base-building game set down in Khazad-dûm already felt like a way better fit, and the new combat and crafting laden trailer is keeping my hopes afloat.

Look, it takes embarrassingly little to talk me into any crafting survival game. I have a weakness for whacking iron in a furnace, organizing my chests full of ores, and snapping together a little house in a little nook of the world I like, especially if I can do it with friends. So I'd probably be on board with Return to Moria even if it looked questionable. Thank goodness it doesn't.

We got a look in the new trailer at the consequences of a noisy mining operation. There's combat with Orcs, huge spiders, and some giant, tentacled thing down in the water. I'm quite interested in the combat, actually, with a bit of dodge-rolling and crossbows too. Most craft-em-ups opt for first-person combat that always winds up in that fumbling first-person-melee territory so I'm quite happy to see what appears to be third-person action instead.

There's other new bits of usual craftcore to spot in the trailer: beds, chests, furnaces, armor and weapon racks, and workstations out the ear, all crowded into a torchlit stone base. Is that a giant beer keg in back? I hope so.

(Image credit: Freedom Games)

"Players will create their very own custom Dwarf before their journey, alone or online with companions, where every new adventure will be unique through the use of procedurally generated environments," Free Range Games says alongside the new trailer, noting the eight-player co-op as well. "To survive the treacherous Mines of Moria players must conserve resources, hunt, and gather for food and manage their sleep, temperature, and noise levels."

There's quite a bit more about managing darkness and noise levels (and beard fashion) in a prior interview about Moria from last year if you want more. This is just the start of more Lord of the Rings games, too. There are four more expected in the next two years, including the MMO Amazon is working on (again).

Return to Moria is planning to launch this autumn on the Epic Games Store.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.