A fresh report posted by Bloomberg last night revealed that the Lord of the Rings MMO game has been canceled. You might remember from our previous coverage that Leyou Technologies (owner of Digital Extremes, Splash Damage) had secured the rights back in September 2018, with subsidiary Athlon Games scheduled to work on the project.
In 2019, Athlon Games announced to have partnered with Amazon Game Studios to develop the Lord of the Rings MMO. This made sense, as Amazon was already making the new Lord of the Rings television series.
Only a few months ago, a rather detailed development roadmap mentioned early 2023 as the target window for the Lord of the Rings MMO Open beta. However, it appears that once Tencent acquired Leyou in late 2020, a contractual dispute between Tencent and Amazon led to the sudden project's termination.
An Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg:
We have been unable to secure terms to proceed with this title at this time. We love the Lord of the Rings IP and are disappointed that we won’t be bringing this game to customers.
It's certainly disappointing news, though mostly for MMO gamers. Lord of the Rings fans still got the Gollum game to look forward to next year, in addition to the aforementioned TV show that will air on Amazon Prime Video. A recent rumor bills it as the most expensive TV series ever made, given that its first season alone has cost $465 million.
The first Lord of the Rings MMO, Lord of the Rings Online, remains operational at least. In fact, when Enad Global 7 acquired Daybreak in December 2020, we also learned of a plan for 'visual and technical updates for LOTRO for PC and nextgen consoles to capitalize on Amazon’s highly publicized large investment (~$500mm) in LOTR TV series'.
Said plan is targeting a 2022 release. Meanwhile, this year Lord of the Rings Online gamers have a new Gundabad expansion coming up.