Amazon has announced that the company’s video game division has canceled its massively multiplayer online role-player based on Lord of the Rings. per Bloomberg, the decision was a result of a contractual dispute between Amazon and Chinese corporate monolith Tencent.
Amazon Game Studios had been developing the project alongside Leyou Technologies, which was purchased by Tencent last December. Following the takeover, the two companies tasked with steering the latest video game venture into Middle-Earth found themselves at a crossroads, and after neither party could come to a suitable arrangement, the game has now been canned altogether.
It’s yet another setback for Amazon Game Studios, who in the broadest of terms haven’t managed to release a single successful effort since launching in 2014, and The Lord of the Rings can now be added to the discard pile along with team-based brawler Breakaway and Relentless Studios’ third-person shooter Crucible. Amazon might own Twitch, which gives them a huge presence in the gaming industry, but in-house titles have never been the outfit’s strong suit.
It’s a shame, because there’s serious potential in a MMORPG based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s rich, dense and expansive lore, which has resulted in several solid games over the years but nothing that’s generated anything approaching the same sort of longevity and immersion enjoyed by the likes of World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls Online and others, despite the superficial similarities between the three sprawling fantasy properties.
That being said, gamers with a soft spot for Middle-Earth at least have Lord of the Rings: Gollum to look forward to, with the first teaser trailer arriving a few weeks ago, but the finished product isn’t expected to arrive until next year. However, Amazon still has the mega-budget TV show in the works, so they might be saving themselves a penny or two in the long run by scrapping the video game after it was revealed the first season alone is setting the studio back almost a billion dollars, without even considering the $250 million it cost to even acquire the rights in the first place.
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