Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox
Amazon Games boss explains why its Lord of the Rings MMO was canceled
Amazon had originally intended to publish an MMO for Lord of the Rings, but its developer Leyou being purchased by Tencent threw a wrench into plans.
September 8, 2022
2 Min Read
According to Amazon Games president Christoph Hartmann, the company's planned MMO based on J.R.R. Tolkein's novel The Lord of the Rings was canceled because it had to factor in its planned developer Leyou being purchased by Tencent in 2020.
Speaking to Gamespot, Hartmann explained that things hit a snag once another company got thrown into the mix. "I think it would have been great to work with Leyou," said Hartmann. "But they later got sold to Tencent and it just got very complicated."
Amazon purchased the rights to Lord of the Rings in 2017 so it could make its newly released show, The Rings of Power. The MMO was announced in 2019 and canceled in 2021, with the explanation being that neither Amazon or Tencent were able to come to an agreement on Leyou's contract.
If there were any chance for a happy medium with the LOTR game, Hartmann seemed skeptical that it could've happened. "We tried to figure something out with both ends, but I think it just dragged on too long," he explained. "I think we're too big as companies to really turn into partners...where they own the license and we develop the game."
The situation around LOTR has gotten even more complicated in just 2022 alone. Last month, Embracer Group acquired the worldwide rights to Lord of the Rings, which includes movies and games. Embracer CEO Lars Wingfors has already teased the "transmedia opportunities" that await the franchise.
Lord of the Rings has had a decent track record in the games space, as Monolith Productions' two Middle-earth games will attest. There's also the continued success of Lord of the Rings Online, which has been running since 2007 and received a new expansion in 2021.
About the Author(s)
Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com
A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.
You May Also Like
Exploring the 2024 State of the Game Industry report - Game Developer Podcast ep. 39Feb 2, 2024
Phantom inspiration and the ethical auteur with Xalavier Nelson Jr.Dec 8, 2023
Designing Killer Queen: from playground experiment to modern arcade sensationOct 18, 2023
Rod Humble and King Choi illustrate the ambition of Life By YouSep 22, 2023
Get daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox
Subscribe to Game Developer Newsletters to stay caught up with the latest news, design insights, marketing tips, and more