Amazon Nixes Its Lord of the Rings Online Role-Playing Game


One does not simply double-click into Mordor.

Amazon has hit control-alt-delete on the Lord of the Rings online role-playing game it announced two years ago, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

The tech giant’s video game division, which Bloomberg describes as “embattled,” had been working on the project with the Chinese company Leyou Technologies, which was recently purchased by the mega-conglomerate Tencent Holdings. Tencent, which boasts 1 billion users on its WeChat platform, and Amazon were apparently butting heads on the pixel-based expansion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legandarium, according to the report.

“We love the Lord of the Rings IP, and are disappointed that we won’t be bringing this game to customers,” an Amazon representative said in a statement. Whether or not he then hurled himself into Mount Doom is unknown. While other “massively multiplayer online” games exist for other big franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel, questing around Middle-earth with a band of elves, rangers and magic-users pretty much seems like the reason they invented computers in the first place.

The news comes on the heels of reporting that the first season, and first season alone, of Amazon’s forthcoming LOTR series will cost a record-smashing $465 million. (Here’s hoping that, like 12 meaning a dozen, 465 million will soon be referred to as a Silmarillion.) “This is fantastic,” said Stuart Nash in THR‘s report. (Stuart Nash is the minister for economic development and tourism in New Zealand, where the series is being filmed, incidentally.)

HBO’s Game of Thrones, against which the new show will certainly be measured, topped out at $100 million per season.

The new series is set during Middle Earth’s Second Age, so thousands of years before the adventures of Frodo, Gandalf, and Bilbo Baggins. (Indeed, deals involving the Tolkien Estate forbid the new series from intersecting in any substantial way with anything seen in the Peter Jackson films.)

Second Age stories have been published posthumously, edited by Christopher Tolkien, in collections like The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Lost Road and Other Writings, Unfinished Tales, Sauron Defeated, and The Silmarillion. The show’s cast is predominantly made up of fresh faces.

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