The new wave of Lord of the Rings games isn't stopping with this month's Gollum and Heroes of Middle-earth. Amazon has struck a deal with Embracer Group to release a massively multiplayer online (MMO) title based on the stories of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. Development is in the "early stages" at New World studio Amazon Games Orange County, which will ship the game for PCs and consoles at an unspecified date.
The move isn't surprising when Amazon is also behind The Rings of Power TV series. However, Amazon stresses that the show is set in Middle-earth's Second Age and is "unrelated" to the MMO. The synchronicity is certainly convenient, but there's no direct tie-in other than the underlying universe.
Amazon's in-house game development has had its share of problems. New World faced multiple delays, and its active user base is well below the launch-era peak. and the company shelved Crucible just a few months after the online shooter's debut. The tech giant has had more success in publishing, with deals to release Lost Ark and the upcoming Tomb Raider game.
The announcement comes as Amazon is refocusing its overall gaming strategy. It recently cut over 100 game-related jobs that included its San Diego studio, and is now concentrating on its teams in Orange County and Montreal. It's now clear why Amazon is committed to expanding that first studio — an online RPG in a major fantasy franchise is bound to get attention.