As part of the acquisition of Leyou by gaming giant Tencent, a number of documents relating to Leyou’s collaboration with Amazon on a Lord Of The Rings MMO have been made public. The documents reveal some juicy new details about a project which, thus far, has been quite secretive.
The documents include a licensing agreement for the Tolkien property, which also makes mention of Lord of the Rings Online, an existing MMO that Amazon’s product will launch in direct competition with. The licensing agreement shows Leyou agreeing to pay over $8 million simply to secure the license for the Middle-earth game.
The documents also include a co-development agreement with Amazon, which involves the broader e-commerce company rather than specifying the gaming-specific Amazon Studios branch.
An amendment to the licensing agreement also includes a production schedule, which shows a rough timeline for the game–though notably the amendment was made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the schedule may have changed since.
It points to January 11, 2021 as a due date for a “draft of complete game lore and narrative,” with a playable prototype then due in June of 2021. It’s clearly still early days for the game’s development, with the public not likely to get their hands on it until an open beta in September 2022, or an open beta in January 2023.
This schedule is for the PC, with subheadings for a PS4 and Xbox One launch both saying the aim is to have the content complete and playable within six months of the PC open beta, and a full launch within twelve months of the beta. There is no mention of PS5 or Xbox Series X/S.
It’s no surprise there’s such a wait still to go on this game–MMOs are a big undertaking to make, and Amazon is no doubt hoping to drum up hype for the Middle-earth-themed game with its similarly huge Lord of the Rings TV show in the works.
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