Amazon has canceled its Lord of the Rings MMO.
Bloomberg reports that the game, which was announced in 2019, was dropped due to a dispute between Amazon and Chinese mega company Tencent.
In July 2019, Amazon’s game development arm, Amazon Game Studios, revealed it was co-developing a new free-to-play MMO based on JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Amazon partnered with LA-based developer Athlon Games – a subsidiary of Chinese publisher Leyou Technologies, owner of Warframe developer Digital Extremes and Splash Damage. In December Tencent bought Leyou, who was forging contract negotiations on the Lord of the Rings MMO. Bloomberg said these negotiations led to a dispute that ultimately resulted in the game’s cancellation.
An Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg that following Tencent’s acquisition of Leyou, “we have not been able to obtain conditions to proceed with this title at this time.”
“We love the Lord of the Rings IP and are disappointed that we will not be bringing this game to customers.”
The Amazon team working on the game will be moved to other projects, Bloomberg said.
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings MMO was set to release sometime in 2022 and would be published outside of China by Amazon, according to disclosure documents filed as part of Tencent’s takeover of Leyou.
The new game was set to take place prior to the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and was previously described as a “AAA experience” with “lands, people and creatures never seen before”.
According to Leyou Technologies, the project was given the go-ahead “in light of the resurgence of interest in The Lord of the Rings IP,” which many saw as a reference to Amazon’s upcoming $ 1 billion Lord of the Rings television series.
The cancellation is the latest setback for Amazon Game Studios, which has yet to release a game. In October, Amazon canceled Crucible – five months after its release and four months after its non-release.
In February, Amazon’s ambitious MMO New World got its third delay and is now expected in August.
Bloomberg has a good report on why Amazon has struggled to make a successful video game so far, despite millions of dollars thrown into it.
Tencent is the world’s largest video game company in terms of revenue, with significant stakes in a number of Western video game publishers, such as League of Legends creator Riot, Clash of Clans studio Supercell, and Fortnite developer Epic Games.
It has been the subject of controversy over the years and its influence has been questioned. In October 2019, Blizzard came under fire for banning and revoking the prize money of Hong Kong Hearthstone tournament winner Ng Wai Chung, aka Blitzchung, who used his post-match victory interview to give a statement of support to protesters in Hong Kong. In light of a public response, Blizzard eventually partially dropped the sentence. Tencent has a five percent stake in Activision Blizzard.