That The Lord Of The Rings MMO, the one we were all quietly crossing our fingers for in 2022, has been cancelled owing to a dispute with Tencent Holdings.
This hurts about as much as kicking a helmet on set of The Two Towers and breaking your toes. The game had been in development for at least two years, following an announcement from Amazon Game Studios in 2019. "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," said vice-president Christoph Hartmann at the time.
Amazon Games Orange County, which was the developer in charge of the project, had brought industry veterans with credits on big online games like Destiny, Planetside, World of Warcraft, Everquest, Defiance, and Rift on board the game's development. Furthermore, its setting was thought to take place aeons before the events of The Lord of the Rings, and show off "lands, people, and creatures never before seen" in the Tolkien universe.
It was all sounding pretty promising, and though fans hadn't seen much of the game, sometimes no news is good news. Plus, there's that whole pandemic that has led to numerous delays and new shifts to remote working across the industry. However, as Tencent acquired Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd. last year, and one of its subsidiaries was collaborating with Amazon Games Orange County to help out on The Lord Of The Rings MMO, there were ensuing negotiations that didn't turn out particularly positively.
Bloomberg claims that there was a "dispute" between Tencent and Amazon, and a spokesperson for the latter said that the company has been "unable to secure terms to proceed with this title at this time." The team attached to The Lord Of The Rings MMO will be moved onto different projects, continued the report. "We love the Lord of the Rings IP, and are disappointed that we won't be bringing this game to customers," added the spokesperson in a statement. Sadly, this is the third game to be cancelled by Amazon Game Studios, after Breakaway and Crucible.
Oh, it's not all Mount Doom and gloom for fans. The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum is on the way from developer Daedalic Entertainment and expected to launch in 2022. There's a snippet of gameplay here if you're curious as to how the world will look through the eyes of one of its most complex characters.
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