After shutting down one of its big-budget games, Amazon Games has canceled the development of the Lord of the Rings game after a contract dispute with their publishing label. And so, another Amazon game met its untimely end, depriving Lord of the Rings fans from experiencing Middle-Earth in an MMO setting.
According to GamesRadar, Amazon studios canceled the previously announced Lord of the Rings massive multiplayer online game after a series of legal disputes with Tencent. Before we go into more detail, the game in question is not to be confused with Lord of the Rings Online, another Lord of the Rings-based MMO.
After announcing the upcoming Lord of the Rings television series, Amazon Game Studios announced the development of the Lord of the Rings MMO game in cooperation with China’s PC gaming company Leyou. Leyou’s subsidiary at the time, Athlon Games, reached an agreement with Middle-earth Enterprises to develop and publish the said game. However, in light of Leyou’s recent acquisition by Tencent, another gaming giant, things started to shift, and not for the best. Amazon and Tencent couldn’t agree on the terms surrounding the project, and the game was canceled, and its development team within Amazon Game Studios was reassigned to other projects.
Initially, the Lord of the Rings MMO game developed by Amazon and Leyou was supposed to complement Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings show. According to leaked documentation, the project was supposed to be a free-to-play MMO set in the Second Age, pre-dating Tolkien’s best-known narratives. Additional information included in the documents contained a closed-beta release for September 2022 and an open-beta release, as well as the title’s availability across different gaming platforms.
Unfortunately, this cancellation is just one of many in a string of bad news for Amazon Game Studios, which could not launch a single game since its founding in 2014. In October 2020, the studio announced discontinuing any further development of Crucible, their first big-budget game, just five months after the game launched. The studio justified their actions by refocusing their effort into another MMO, New World, which faced multiple delays already, and isn’t expected to launch until August this year. But it seems that Amazon isn’t in any rush.
Besides their massive e-commerce and their ever-growing library of services, it seems that Amazon can afford a few financial flops before reaching new heights in gaming productions. Their television projects seem to advance quite nicely. Their Prime Video library contains over 18,000 titles, and the estimated budget for season one of their upcoming Lord of the Rings series is approx. $465 million. With a spending budget that big, we can only imagine what forecast earning numbers look like, given the size of Middle-earth’s fandom.
The news of the game’s cancellation is disappointing for the franchise’s fans; however, there are other Lord of the Rings-based titles the fandom could enjoy, especially the upcoming Lord of the Rings: Gollum game. With that said, the canceled game would go nicely with the upcoming series, especially if the two shared even a remotely connected lore. Unfortunately, it’s highly improbable we’ll ever find out.