h Embracer Group, the Swedish conglomerate that bought the adaptation rights (sort of) to The Lord of the Rings last year, says there are no less than five games based on Tolkien’s works in production that will see release over the next two years.
The games are all being made by external partners, but Embracer, having completed its acquisition of rights holder Middle-earth Enterprises, will receive royalties on all of them.
The time frame for the releases is a little unclear. Embracer’s most recent financial report says to expect them in the financial year 2023/24 (so by the end of March 2024), but another presentation of the same figures mentions that five titles will release “during the next 24 months.” Either way, that’s a lot of Middle-earth gaming action in a relatively short space of time.
So, what are these five games?
One of them is certainly The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a stealth action-adventure from Deadalic Entertainment, which was delayed from a September 2022 release date to a spring or summer 2023 launch.
Another is likely EA’s “collectible role-playing game” for mobiles, The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, from the developer of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.
There’s also The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria, a survival and crafting game from developer Free Range Games, in which players assume the roles of Dwarves recolonizing a procedurally generated version of their ancient home below the Misty Mountains.
A fourth could be an untitled game being made by Weta Workshop, the New Zealand digital effects studio that worked on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, as well as James Cameron’s Avatar movies. Weta has partnered with Take-Two’s boutique publishing arm Private Division for the game, and although it sounds early in development, Private Division said it would release in Take-Two’s “fiscal year 2024,” putting it in the same window described by Embracer.
And the fifth? Honestly, we don’t know. It’s most likely an unannounced title. Whether all these games will be released when Embracer says they will is also unknown — the company is likely being as optimistic as possible with release dates as it curries favor with investors.
Embracer Group is the fast-growing conglomerate that has been on an acquisition spree within gaming over the last few years. It has bought, among others, Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics (along with the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex franchises), Borderlands studio Gearbox, Plaion (the rebranded owner of Deep Silver and the Saint’s Row games), board game behemoth Asmodee (which has its own successful Lord of the Rings line), and Dark Horse Comics.
Embracer is collaborating with Amazon on a Tomb Raider game and TV series. The Tomb Raider game, and a Perfect Dark reboot being developed in partnership with Microsoft, are likely among the five triple-A games that Embracer says Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal will release over the next five years.
Embracer’s acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises came as a surprise. The rights holder was expected to go to a tech giant or Hollywood studio for a premium price, but questions over the true extent of its film and TV rights may have deterred buyers, and Embracer swooped in. Embracer also mentions “one film in production by an external partner,” which is likely Warner Bros.’ anime production, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.