Private Division has signed a publishing deal with Weta Workshop, known for working on The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, to create a new video game set in the world of Middle-earth.
It's unclear whether the work-in-progress project will have direct ties to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, although Private Division boss Michael Worosz was quick to praise The Lord of the Rings series for being home to "so many remarkable stories."
Aside from being a notable partnership for Private Division, which is owned by Take-Two Interactive, the deal continues the recent resurgence of games that leverage the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Other titles such as The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria and The Lord of the Rings: Gollum are currently in development at Free Range Games and Daedalic Entertainmement, respectively. Both projects are due to launch in 2023.
EA is also developing a free-to-play smartphone game based on The Lord of the Rings that it hopes will help accelerate its mobile business.
Private Division's agreement with Weta Workshop will include access to "the broadest creative license to interpret the underlying lore of the book," and was struck with help from franchise rights holder Middle-earth Enterprises. The news comes less than a year after Unity completed its acquisition of Weta Digital, the 3D tools division of Weta, for $1.63 billion.
"It’s a privilege to create a new game set in Middle-earth, especially one that’s so different from what fans have played previously," said Amie Wolken, head of interactive at Weta Workshop, commenting on the partnership. "As fans ourselves, we’re excited for gamers to explore Middle-earth in a way they never have before, and introduce new fans to the magic of The Lord of the Rings."
Private Division said the work-in-progress title is expected to launch during the 2024 fiscal year, and pledged to share more details further down the line.