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Amazon Games is developing and publishing a Lord of the Rings MMORPG set in an open world – again.

Amazon Games Orange County, the studio behind New World, is leading the project, which is in early stages of production. Amazon describes the upcoming game as “an open-world MMO adventure in a persistent world set in Middle-earth, featuring the beloved stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy.”

The new Lord of Rings MMO is being developed for PC as well as consoles.

Despite announcing and then canceling a similar project in 2021, Amazon’s ambitions in this direction seem to never have faltered.

The company announced on May 15, 2023, that it struck a deal towards finally realizing this goal with Middle-earth Enterprises, the Embracer Group subsidiary dealing with the Lord of the Rings license. Embracer acquired the rights to create video games and movies set in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books in 2022.

To clarify things, Amazon is not reviving the project that was canceled in 2021 due to licensing complications, but is making a completely fresh start. Amazon Games is also the sole developer of the as-yet untitled MMO this time, giving them more control than on the previous attempt.

While details are scarce at this point, it seems like Amazon wants to stick closely to Tolkien’s storyline when it comes to the game’s narrative and is playing things safe.

“We’re committed to bringing players high-quality games, whether through original IPs or long-beloved ones like The Lord of the Rings,” said Christoph Hartmann, the VP of Amazon Games in a statement. “Bringing players a fresh take on The Lord of the Rings has long been an aspiration for our team, and we’re honored and grateful that Middle-earth Enterprises is entrusting us with this iconic world.”

Lee Guinchard, the CEO of Middle-earth Enterprises’ parent company Freemode, added: “The world of Middle-earth continues to prove an endlessly fertile ground for creators, and Amazon Games has a passion for building immersive, compelling worlds and publishing games for a global audience. We have the clear ambition to create the highest-quality entertainment products for this IP, whether we utilize internal resources or team up with the best industry partners that complement our capabilities. We’re taking every care to deliver an MMO which will do justice to the expansive Middle-earth universe and delight players around the world.”

With Tomb Raider, which Amazon is developing in cooperation with Crystal Dynamics, as well as publishing deals for Bandai Namco’s anime MMO Blue Protocol and NCSOFT’s action MMO Throne & Liberty plus for two unannounced games from Glowmade and Disruptive Games, the corporate giant has a lot of irons in the fire already.