Amazon Game Studios is bringing Middle-earth back to massive life. The developer is partnering with Athlon Games to make a free-to-play Lord of the Rings MMO for PC and consoles.
This venture was initially announced last September, though at the time Athlon Games—the publisher of popular space-ninja online game Warframe—was not revealing who their partner was. Amazon Game Studios, which has veterans from games like Destiny and World of Warcraft, seems well-poised to assist Athlon with the project.
It's being billed as a "AAA" experience, featuring locales and characters unseen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which takes place after the setting of this MMO. There's no release date set yet, either.
Amazon Game Studios has had a rough go of it, between the cancellation of games like Breakaway and a recent round of layoffs. At the time, Amazon said the layoffs would "allow us to prioritize development of New World, Crucible, and new unannounced projects we're excited to reveal in the future." Whether that comes to fruition with this unannounced Tolkien project is another story, as Amazon has little to show from their initial entrance into game development.
There is also the long-running The Lord of the Rings Online, which now resides at Daybreak Game Company. The MMO publisher went through a round of layoffs last year, however, and with an MMO coming with this much backing, things don't look so great for The Lord of the Rings Online. We'll see how it all shakes out once we've learned more about this untitled Lord of the Rings MMO.