Amazon Games Teaming Up With Embracer Group for Lord of the Rings MMO

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Amazon Games Teaming Up With Embracer Group for Lord of the Rings MMO

Amazon Games' first foray into MMOs took us into a new world, but now they're taking us into Middle-earth. 

Amazon Games announced this week that they are partnering with Embracer Group for an exciting new endeavor; a new MMO based in the legendary world of the Lord of the Rings. 

In partnership with Embrace Group's subsidiary Middle-Earth Enterprises, Amazon Games has permission to develop and publish a Lord of the Rings MMO. This will be Amazon Games' second attempt at creating a Lord of the Rings MMO. Their first attempt, in 2019, ended when their partnership with Leyou Technologies fell apart due to failed negotiations with Tencent (Who purchased Leyou Technologies). 

According to the company announcement, the upcoming open-world MMO will feature elements of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings literary trilogy but will also give fans of the franchise a fresh take on Middle-earth.

That sentiment sounds familiar, given that Amazon also produces the Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power streaming series. Rings of Power takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth and introduces new characters and storylines to the Lord of the Rings franchise. However, Amazon Games stated that this series is not related to the upcoming MMO. 

Amazon Games Orange County, the developer of Amazon Games' first MMO, New World, would be heading up development for the untitled Lord of the Rings MMO. That calls into question whether this will adversely impact the time and resources Orange County can allocate to New World but also presents Orange County with an opportunity.

Will Amazon's LOTR MMO Avoid The Mistakes Of New World?

New World has its upsides but is far from perfect. Amazon;s LOTR MMO should avoid New World's mistakes.
Image Source: @playnewworld Twitter

New World is approaching its 2-year anniversary, and its journey thus far has had a fair share of ups and downs. Initial hype levels for New World were relatively high. After its launch in September 2021, New World managed to enter the top-five list for most concurrent users in Steam history, with over 700,000 concurrent players. Shortly after, it peaked at over 900,000 concurrent players. The October 2022 Brimstone Sands update breathed new life into New World, jumping the game into the top 10 highest-played PC games. 

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Despite these notable feats, New World hasn't made a massive impact on the MMO landscape. The game has had some significant problems which have held it back from becoming one of the top MMOs in the world. Common criticisms of New World include soulless environment design, forgettable narratives and characters, repetitive quest design, stale endgame content, and a broken player report system. 

Bear in mind that many MMOs take years before they find their stride, but it would be ideal if the upcoming LOTR MMO avoids the pitfalls of New World right out of the gate. 

This Middle-Earth Isn't Big Enough For The Two Of Us?

Will Amazon's LOTR MMO be able to surpass Lord of the Rings Online?
Image Source: @LOTRO Twitter

Amazon Games' upcoming MMO will not be the first LOTR MMO to hit PC. Standing Stone Games' The Lord of the Rings Online is a veteran MMO that just celebrated its 16th birthday last month. Standing Stone Games' parent company, Enad Global 7, is doing well, with its most recent earnings report revealing its revenue for Q1 of 2023 saw a 43% increase over last year. 

With constant support and updates, The Lord of the Rings Online is doing just fine as a geezer game. That hasn't stopped Amazon Games from throwing light jabs at its soon-to-be competitor. 

In a recent interview with gamesindustry.biz, Amazon Games Vice President Christoph Hartmann spoke about their hopes for their Lord of the Rings MMO and LOTR Online. 

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Hartmann said, “First of all, I have a lot of respect for them to keep it going that long. They have a, not huge, but a very dedicated fanbase. But looking just at the technology, where we're at now, and where we will be in a couple of years, it's just worlds apart. It's a little exaggeration if I say it's going to be like black and white movies to colour, but that's the approach I want to take. It's just a completely different world.”

He continued “I think they actually can co-exist. Even the most likely scenario is… for people just to move over, because the other one is an old game. 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.”

Any MMO enthusiast who plays Runescape 3 and Oldschool Runescape knows that being new doesn't necessarily mean better or more popular. But if Amazon Games' Lord of the Rings MMO avoids the mistakes of New World and Lord of the Rings Online, it could prove to be a very strong competitor. It remains to be seen if Hartmann's prediction will come to pass. 

The Lord of the Rings Online team has taken notice of Amazon Games' announcement, and assured fans in their forums that Lord of the Rings Online isn't going anywhere. 

Something else Lord of the Rings fans should keep in mind is that Amazon Games first announced New World in 2016, but the game didn't release until 2021. It will likely be quite some time before Amazon Games' Lord of the Rings MMO is playable by the public. 

 

Amazon Games Teaming Up With Embracer Group for Lord of the Rings MMO
Xavier Geitz
When not busy writing about Esports, the latest and greatest digital gaming deals, and reviewing video game, you can find Xavier wandering Morrowind's Telvanni Coast, tirelessly petitioning for a Timesplitters 2 remake, or trying to understand the Concept of Love.