Amazon is co-developing a free-to-play Lord of the Rings MMO

Amazon’s game development arm, Amazon Game Studios, has revealed that it’s co-developing a new free-to-play MMO based on JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

As keen-eyed observers may have already twigged, this is the same free-to-play massively multiplayer online title that was announced last September.

Back then, LA-based developer Athlon Games – a subsidiary of Chinese publisher Leyou Technologies, owner of Warframe developer Digital Extremes and Splash Damage – revealed that it was creating the experience in conjunction with a mysterious “partner developer”. Which we now know to be Amazon Game Studios.

The new game unfolds prior to the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and was previously described as an “AAA experience” featuring “lands, people and creatures never seen before”.

The project was greenlit, according to Leyou Technologies, “in light of the resurgence of interest in The Lord of the Rings IP”, which many took to be a reference to Amazon’s upcoming $1billion USD Lord of the Rings television series, expected to arrive next year. As such, the newly announced development partnership isn’t, in hindsight, much of a surprise.

Amazon Game Studios, which includes veteran developers previously responsible for the likes of Destiny, System Shock 2, and World of Warcraft, is currently working on an original MMO, New World. The same team will support Athlon in the creation of the Lord of the Rings game, which is expected to launch on PC and consoles at some unspecified future point.