A new Lord of the Rings MMO from Amazon is in the works for consoles and PC, and while there is already an existing Lord of the Rings MMORPG from 2007 that still receives new content and is played to this day, Amazon Games has said the comparison between the two titles is like going from “black and white movies to color.”
That’s according to Amazon Games vice president Christoph Hartmann, in a new interview with Gamesindustry.biz.
“But looking just at the technology, where we’re at now, and where it will be in a couple of years, it’s just worlds apart,” Hartmann said in regards to the comparison between the two different LOTR MMOs. “It’s a little exaggeration if I say it’s going to be like black and white movies to color, but that’s the approach I want to take. It’s just a completely different world.”
Hartmann has said Amazon’s goal is to make its LOTR MMO, which will be based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy and is not connected to Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power show, “the largest MMO” in the market. Achieving that goal will mean creating the LOTR MMO to be for everyone and not just MMO fans, but also convincing people to move on from the long-running The Lord of the Rings Online. Hartmann said he has a lot of respect for developer Standing Stone Games (who took over development from original creator Turbine in 2016) for keeping LOTRO’s lights on after all these years, and that both Amazon’s MMO and LOTRO can co-exist.
However, Hartmann said “the most likely scenario” is that people leave LOTRO behind once Amazon’s game releases.
“It’s not a bad game, but the industry moves on at some point, and it’s a long time from their release to ours,” Hartmann said.
If the news that Amazon is working on an MMO set in Middle-earth sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Amazon originally announced a LOTR MMO in 2019 and sought to work with Chinese company Leyou on the property. The project fell through in 2021 due to Leyou being acquired by Tencent. The rights later reverted back to Middle-Earth Enterprises, which was acquired by Embracer Group last year. Amazon then began conversations about the project with Embracer, which despite having nearly 100 internal game studios, partnered with Amazon Games’ due to its MMO experience, having released New World in 2021.
Amazon’s new MMO won’t be coming anytime soon. The game is currently in early stages of production, with the team currently prototyping ideas. Hartmann said he wants players to play its new LOTR game for a decade, and as a result it will only be released when it’s ready. Amazon’s New World was criticized for its various bugs and technical issues when it launched.
“We’re not going to ship something which is not ready,” Hartmann said. “Obviously, we’d all like it to come out as soon as possible out of personal interest, but we’re only going to get it out when it’s really ready to go.”
Meanwhile, the free-to-play LOTRO is still receiving new content. Its latest expansion, Before the Shadow, released last year and introduced new early-game content that takes place before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.
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