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Amazon Dropped Its LotR MMO Due To 'Complicated' Talks With Tencent

Joseph Bradford Posted:
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Amazon is opening up in a new interview wth Gamespot about why its recently canceled Lord of the Rings-themed MMO was so abruptly shuttered last year, citing its talks with Tencent as a core reason.

In the interview with Gamespot's Eddie Makuch, Amazon Games boss Christoph Hartmann cites the complicated discussions the giant had with Tencent, the massive Chinese company with its hands in all corners of the gaming world it seems. 

Originally announced four years ago now, the upcoming Lord of the Rings MMO was being made with Hong Kong-based Leyou and Amazon Games. However, when Leyou was purchased by Tencent, the game stalled as Amazon and Tencent's deal got more complicated as a result.

Hartmann tells Gamespot that when Tencent entered the ring, things got "very complicated" and that it was just better for the company to walk away rather than drag things on. One aspect of this was that Middle-earth Enterprises, the rights holder (and new property of another gaming giant, Embracer Group), pulled the rights from the companies as part of an opt-out clause in the contract. This left negotiations dragging between Tencent and Amazon, with the latter simply opting to cut the deal loose to focus in on its other MMO properties: Lost Ark and its in-house developed New World, which just announced its latest expansion.

Obviously, the MMO being developed by Amazon could have been a fitting rival to The Lord of the Rings Online, which is still going strong 15 years after its release. With the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power, there definitely could have been some synergy between the show and the MMO if the timelines worked out.

The interview also touches on just what the hell John Smedley is building for Amazon out in San Diego, and while there are no specifics about the game mentioned, he does talk about how easy it would be to spin up a mass test of the upcoming title thanks to AWS' server infrastructure. Additionally, Smedley touches on the fact that the game is actually being tested by the public (obviously under the strictest of NDAs) and plans on a 10-year lifespan for the live service title. 

Though, in the end, we still really have no idea what they are building down there.

You can check out the full interview on Gamespot.

Featured image via LotR Fandom


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore