Specifics about the Lord of the Rings video game from Amazon have not been revealed at this point in time. Leyou's publishing branch, Athlon Games, is run by Dave Miller, who worked with Warner Bros on another Tolkien-branded game, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It has studios in San Diego and Orange County, California, and at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. Before any purists start to worry, Athlon Games, Leyou and Amazon will be producing the game in close partnership with Middle-Earth Enterprises to ensure that the experience is worth of Tolkien's work.
It's not a huge surprise Amazon is looking to squeeze as much as it can out of the Tolkien license. "We have a strong leadership team in place to helm this new project, and we're actively growing our team to help build this incredible experience".
Despite a premise that echoes Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series, the pair are apparently unrelated.
The free-to-play massively multiplayer online game will be marketed and published globally by Amazon Game Studios except in China where Leyou will handle those duties.
While Amazon is now developing a Lord of the Rings television series for Amazon Prime, this new game won't actually overlap with the same time period. Amazon also said that the game will be completely separate from their Lord of the Rings TV show that is scheduled to release sometime in 2021.
The Lord of the Rings MMO is not the first massive online multiplayer dedicated to Tolkien's narrative universe. Amazon Game Studios will now lead the project with a team comprised of veterans from popular MMOs like Everquest, Destiny, World of Warcraft, Planetside, and more.
With both a Lord of the Rings MMO and television series in development at Amazon, the retailer seems to be betting big on J.R.R. Tolkein's legendary fantasy series as cornerstone of its original entertainment offerings.