Amazon's Lord of the Rings MMO is "a game first, a reflection of the books second"


Amazon says its new Lord of the Rings MMO won't be a 100% faithful adaptation of the book series.

Yesterday, Amazon Games announced that it's taking another stab at developing a Lord of the Rings MMO, a little more than two years after its previous effort with Chinese tech giant Tencent was canceled. Now, the same team behind Amazon's New World is developing a new Lord of the Rings MMO in partnership with Embracer Group, which owns the IP rights to the franchise. The project is in early development, so details are light, but we did learn a bit about what to expect from its story and setting in an interview with GamesIndustry.

Amazon Games vice president Christoph Hartmann said there's already plenty of internal debate about how to approach adapting the iconic story of The Lord of the Rings to a modern MMO format.

"We have some die-hard Lord of the Rings fans, and already [they're saying], 'We can't do that' or Middle-earth [Enterprises] is not going to allow it, and we're not going to be able to alter the story, and introduce new characters, or rewrite the books," Hartmann said.

"But for me, it's still very important that it's first a game, and then a reflection of the books second. So while I need to stay true, I always, and I'm reminding the team already, 'I get it, but it's not about every person going and pointing out if that detail is 100% perfect.' Let's say the way [Tolkien] describes the world, maybe the landscape looks a little bit different because either we can't get it going or the art people feel it might look a little bit different than what people assume it is in the book."

Of course, The Lord of the Rings Online is going on its 17th year and still receiving substantial updates, including last year's Before the Shadow expansion. Hartmann said he has "a lot of respect" for the developers at Standing Stone Games but clarified that, chiefly due to technological advancements, Amazon's Lord of the Rings MMO will be "worlds apart."

In the meantime, here are the best MMORPGs you can play today.