I imagine there’s a number of people out there with fond memories of the the Lord of the Rings movie games made by Electronic Arts. By my own recollection, they were pretty good for licensed movie titles during the PlayStation 2 generation and likely provided a lot of younger players with an avenue into Lord of the Rings that were obfuscated by fairly dense movies and even denser books. Since then, it really has felt like Lord of the Rings should have been as common in video games as Star Wars, but there’s been little notable outside the Warner Bros. and Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor/War series. Sometimes, wishes do come true however, and sometimes those wishes are clearly made on a monkeypaw.
Today, EA announced that it is once again making Lord of the Rings games, with the first and thus far only revealed title being a free-to-play mobile game.
Titled The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, there’s really not enough to know about this title to immediately predict doom & gloom. We’ve moved past, in a general sense, the idea that mobile games are inherently profit-driven over all other concerns. There’s still quite a bit of concern when it comes to EA’s own reputation in this field, but also it’s a fast-moving world. Who knows. Maybe it doesn’t all crash and burn.
The title is described as a “strategic, social-competitive experience” with turn-based combat. It will, according to EA, follow along various stories from the chapters of Middle-earth.
The game is being made in cooperation with the Saul Zaentz Company, which holds exclusive and inexplicably far-reaching worldwide rights to motion picture, merchandising, video game, and other rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise (including The Hobbit) since the 1970s. You may also know them as some of the guys that are really, really protective of Tolkien’s creations.
Heroes of Middle-earth is going into testing this summer. Amazon had been working on a Lord of the Rings MMO, but the project was shutdown slightly over one year ago.