Bloomberg has reported this morning that Amazon and Leyou Technologies Holdings have canceled the in-the-works Lord of the Rings MMORPG, citing a dispute in contract negotiations from Tecent's recent purchase of Leyou.
In the report, Bloomberg's Jason Schreier reports that after the China-based Leyou was purchased by giant Tencent Holdings, which has stakes in multiple gaming companies from Grinding Gear Games, the creator of Path of Exile to Epic, the agreement ran into some issues due to a contract negotiation dispute.
"The game had been in development at Amazon Game Studios alongside the China-based Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd., which was purchased by conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd. in December. The resulting contract negotiations led to a dispute between Amazon and Tencent that eventually caused the game’s cancellation, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the issue."
Bloomberg quotes an Amazon spokesperson as confirming that after the acquisition, the two companies were "unable to secure terms to proceed with this title at this time."
Bloomberg reports that those working on the LOTR-themed MMO would be moved to work on other projects, most likely helping Amazon complete another MMORPG in the works, New World. Amazon's history with game development has been shaky ever since launching their game dev division in 2014, with games like Crucible being released, unreleased and then canceled a few months later, as well as the continual delays of their MMO, New World.
Amazon's Lord of the Rings-based MMORPG didn't have much said about it when it was officially announced back in 2019. We knew the MMORPG would be free-to-play and that Amazon iterated that it would be "unrelated" to the TV show currently in the works by the company.
Amazon expressed their love for the LOTR IP, though nothing is really said about whether the company has plans to salvage the work done thus far or work the IP into another game. We've reached out to our Amazon spokesperson for further clarification as to why exact the deal fell apart as well as whether the company has any future plans for the LOTR IP in games. We'll update this report should they respond to our inquiry.