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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Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth will launch on May 10, 2023.
Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth is only stated as coming to mobile platforms. We assume this means iOS and Android, but both are technically not confirmed yet. We don’t anticipate it coming to PC either, at least at launch.
The latest trailer released so far is a very quick one at less than a minute. Outside of the gameplay, which we’ll go over below, we see a cinematic focusing on a character acquiring a magic ring of some sort. We also catch that there will be four campaigns to pick from: Light, Shadow, Dummy, and Guild, with some being locked.
Story-wise, details are sparse. Middle-earth Enterprises’ Chief Brand and Licensing Officer Fredrica Drotos stated that they aim to create a “game solely inspired by Middle-earth as described in the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien to its fans,” and that the game will have immersive storytelling and a “wide roster of characters from across the vast universe of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” It appears that the game will span the entire timeline of the books, as well as possibly expanding to show events before and after as well. Until more is revealed, we can only guess at this point.
The gameplay trailer below does have some story tidbits to take in, such as the reveal of some form of new ring choosing a bearer. This new ring is more of a gameplay conceit than an actual expansion of the lore by just letting players bring in characters that otherwise shouldn’t be together into a battle.
At the core, the game will be a “Collectible Role-Playing Game that brings the fantasy and adventure of The Lord of the Rings to existing fans and new audiences alike in a strategic, social-competitive experience.” For more details, we know that battles will play out in turn-based encounters with a large cast of characters and collection systems. We assume the social-competitive experiences mentioned mean the ability to team up, as well as battle against, other players online.
To us, this sounds like some sort of party-building RPG where you can collect new iconic characters to add to your team to fight through the most iconic battles in the series. Getting those characters, though, is likely where the monetization system will come in. Again, this is just our speculation, but it sounds like a gacha-style system will be incorporated here.
The first footage reveal for gameplay came out in September 2022. It shows off some of the characters you can bring into battle, including different men, elves, and dwarves. Attacks look flashy, with several team-up attacks shown as well. Aside from the famous Frodo, Sam, and Legolas from the books, many more are promised to be included. In the footage, we see Ring Wraiths, goblins, trolls, and many more factions doing battle.
The character designs are meant to be evocative of Tolkien’s own watercolor illustrations of his characters, being simple but not overly stylized.
Campaigns will move along tracks of battles, listing possible rewards, but also shows an Auto-Win button, which we’re still unclear on how it will function. Parties will be five characters in size, and battles are ranked from one to three stars.
Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-Earth will have multiplayer by nature of it being promoted for having social and competitive elements. What exactly these modes will be remains to be seen.
Being a free-to-play game, Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth will at least feature some form of storefront to sell microtransactions, whether it be in the form of characters, missions, or materials that you use to access new content. If the game is successful, EA will likely continue supporting it with new content for the foreseeable future.
In a somewhat concerning shot in the last gameplay trailer, we do see what is clearly a lootbox popping open. How those will be monetized, again, remains to be seen.
Being a free-to-play game, there won’t be any preorder options for Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, but you can pre-register for the game right now!
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