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Electronic Arts working on new ‘Lord of the Rings’ free-to-play mobile game

By Christian Imperio Published May 13, 2022 4:23 pm

A new mobile game based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is now in development from Electronic Arts.

The publisher announced on Monday that it has partnered with Middle-earth Enterprises to develop a new free-to-play mobile game set in the vast universe of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR).

Called The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, the upcoming game is described as a “collectible role-playing game” (RPG) that brings LOTR’s fantasy and adventure to existing fans and new audiences.

The studio said that the upcoming free-to-play mobile game will feature immersive storytelling, turn-based combat, deep collection systems, and a wide roster of characters from across the vast universe of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. 

Electronic Arts' vice president for Mobile RPG Malachi Boyle said that The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth features a “combination of high-fidelity graphics, cinematic animations, and stylized art” that will immerse players in the fantasy of Middle-earth, where they will also “go head-to-head with their favorite characters.”

“We are incredibly excited to partner with The Saul Zaentz Company and Middle-earth Enterprises on the next generation of mobile role-playing games. The team is filled with fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and each day they bring their tremendous passion and talents together to deliver an authentic experience for players,” Boyle said.

The upcoming mobile game will be the ninth Lord of the Rings title under Electronic Arts' Middle-earth portfolio. Previous titles include The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth, The Lord of the Rings: The Rise of the Witch-King, The Lord of the Rings: Tactics, and The Lord of the Rings: Conquest.

Electronic Arts said that The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth is expected to enter limited regional beta testing this summer.

Prior to Electronic Arts' mobile game, Amazon’s video game division scrapped last year its plan to create an online RPG based on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

As previously reported by Bloomberg, the cancelled free-to-play game for PC and console platforms was in development at Amazon Game Studios alongside China-based Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd, which was purchased by Tencent Holdings Ltd. for $1.5 billion in December 2020.

However, the contract negotiations reportedly led to a dispute between Amazon and Tencent that eventually resulted to the cancellation of the game.

An Amazon spokesperson said that following Tencent’s acquisition of Leyou, the company was "unable to secure terms to proceed with this title at this time."

Although Amazon cancelled its free-to-play game, the company is currently developing its highly-anticipated The Lord of the Rings series.

Set thousands of years before the events of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the highly-awaited series will chronicle the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history and will take fans back to “an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.”

The multi-season drama will premiere exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories around the world beginning Sept. 2, with new episodes available every week.