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EA is making a Lord of the Rings mobile ‘collectible RPG’

A new Lord of the Rings game is on the way to mobile devices thanks to a new partnership between EA and Middle-Earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Company. The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth is a free-to-play “Collectible RPG” that EA plans to add to its live service portfolio.

Tease image from EA's upcoming LOTR mobile game.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This new partnership comes shortly after the Lord of the Rings gaming and movie rights went on sale by Zaentz Co., the rights holder of the series. This is the first major Lord of the Rings gaming project to emerge since then.

The title features “immersive storytelling, turn-based combat, deep collection systems, and a wide roster of characters from across the vast universe of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” EA’s press release also states that the game is solely inspired by the depiction of Middle-earth as it’s described in the actual Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The blog goes into detail about more things to expect from Heroes of Middle-earth like high-fidelity graphics, cinematic animations, and stylized art. However, not much has been disclosed beyond those details, with no gameplay or images of the actual game being shared.

If the word “collectible” has you nervous in the NFT era (especially after EA called them “the future of our industry“), don’t worry: EA confirmed to Digital Trends that the game will not feature NFT integration.

With rarely any hard details shared, it’s no surprise that The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth doesn’t have a release window just yet. However, EA is aiming to launch a limited best test this summer.

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DeAngelo Epps
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De'Angelo Epps is a gaming writer passionate about the culture, communities, and industry surrounding gaming. His work ranges…
Amazon’s New World team is making a The Lord of the Rings MMO
Morfyyd Clark in "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

Amazon Games Orange County, the development team behind New World, announced that it is making a The Lord of the Rings MMO for PC and consoles.
This game was made possible thanks to a deal between Amazon and the Embracer Group-owned Freemode, which is the parent company of The Lord of the Rings stewards Middle-Earth Enterprises. This isn't the first time Amazon and Embracer Group have partnered either, as Amazon Games is set to publish the next Tomb Raider game from Embracer-owned studio Crystal Dynamics. This also isn't Amazon's first attempt at making a multiplayer game based on The Lord of the Rings.
Previously, it collaborated with the Chinese company Leyou on an MMO set in this world, but it was canceled after Leyou got acquired by Tencent. Now, with Middle-Earth Enterprises under new ownership, which Amazon just so happens to be friendly with, it has become possible for Amazon to make a multiplayer game based on The Lord of the Rings once again.

Amazon describes its upcoming The Lord of the Rings game as "an open-world MMO adventure in a persistent world set in Middle-earth, featuring the beloved stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy." This game seems to fall in line with the string of MMOs that Amazon has been behind lately, which includes New World, Lost Ark, and upcoming titles Blue Protocol and Throne and Liberty. It is unrelated to The Rings of Power, the big-budget television show that Amazon Studios produces.
As the game is in "the early stages of production," according to Amazon, we don't yet have a release window for it. In the meantime, there are going to be a lot of other games based on The Lord of the Rings to play, including EA's mobile game The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-Earth and Daedelic Entertainment's action-adventure game about Gollum.

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Heroes of Middle-Earth isn’t afraid to play with Lord of the Rings canon
An evil Galadriel in Heroes of Middle-Earth

The Lord of the Rings franchise has a storied history in almost every entertainment medium, and we are entering a new era for its film and gaming efforts. As Amazon continues to produce The Rings of Power, Middle-Earth Enterprises has been acquired by Embracer Group. Instead of all of The Lord of Rings' games being made by Warner Bros., which had been the case for some time, we are now seeing lots of studios make games in the Lord of the Rings universe, providing their own spin on the idea. While The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is doing that on consoles this month, mobile game players are also getting a brand new game.
The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-Earth is on the way from Capital Games and EA, and I attended a preview event for the game ahead of its launch on May 10. This game takes the character-collecting RPG approach established through its previous game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and gives it a Middle-Earth makeover. What’s most intriguing about the title, though, is that it’s not afraid to ask “What if?” while playing around in the world of this long-running franchise.
What if?
When it comes to gameplay, my brief playtime with Heroes of Middle-Earth didn’t surprise me. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a mobile character-collecting RPG set in The Lord of the Rings universe. Still, the character-based approach allows Capital Games to play in The Lord of the Rings sandbox in ways few creatives have been able to. It has more freedom to craft more experimental scenarios with the franchise's iconic characters, as it’s not as concerned with falling in line with lore.

The premise is that players have discovered a new Ring of Power, which they must use to keep The Lord of the Rings timeline intact as a mysterious enemy is trying to throw it in disarray. That setup means that the game can create scenarios that don’t necessarily align with the Middle-Earth canon. Players can make characters from different time periods, races, and allegiances team up in a way that wouldn’t work anywhere else. They’ll encounter a Galadriel who was corrupted by the Ring and other characters who may have strayed from the path laid for them in the books and films. Post-launch, some of these alternate versions of characters will eventually become playable as well.
In the age of the multiverse story in media, these kinds of “What if?” scenarios make for a novel The Lord of the Rings game set pieces and give the developers plenty of room to come up with future characters for players to collect. In a press roundtable, Heroes of Middle-Earth Design Director Jay Ambrosini was undoubtedly enthusiastic about these concepts but said the team is also making sure any of these ideas and alternate timelines that they do pursue feeling respectful toward the world J.R.R. Tolkien established.
“There are so many characters that you look at and see the small little decisions that happen and affect them, and it’s so fun to think about what happens if they made the other decision,” Ambrosini says. “They are fun things to explore and talk about, but the most important thing to us is that we’re telling a genuine Tolkien story and that we’re very faithful to the laws of the world that exist. Good deeds are rewarded with goodness; bad deeds are rewarded with bad things happening. We’re making sure that we’re appreciating and celebrating those pieces of Tolkien’s work.”

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Two hobbits in The Lord of the Rings Heroes of Middle-earth.

Get ready to jump back into the vibrant world of Middle-earth with Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, the newest game inspired by the fantastic literary work. We've already had dozens of games based on all the books in this series, including The Hobbit, as well as experiences that explore other stories not yet told in those original texts, with the most notable being Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel, Shadow of War. However, the mobile space has not had a big hit with this IP as of yet.

Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth looks to change that. This ambitious new free-to-play game wants to bring the high production value, scale, characters, story, and fun gameplay of other titles into the palm of our hands. Like many things in Middle-earth, a lot of information about this upcoming game is still shrouded in darkness. However, after plumbing the books and scrolls of Minas Tirith and consulting our council, we offer you everything we know about Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth.

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