Swedish game publisher Embracer, who owns the rights to several iconic game franchises like Tomb Raider, Borderlands, and Deus Ex, also owns rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, which it acquired in 2022. Now, it has told investors that it has plans to exploit The Lord of the Rings ‘in a very significant fashion.’
The news comes in the wake of a collapsed partnership deal worth USD $2 billion, which has resulted in a major leadership change and overall restructuring event for the company, the cancellation of multiple unannounced projects, and the closure of several studios – though Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics has said that it is safe from impact.
Interm executive Mattew Karch is quoted on the investor call as saying: ‘We own Lord of the Rings, and we know we need to be exploiting Lord of the Rings in a very significant fashion and turning that into one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world. And that’s obviously something we’re going to be doing.’
‘That’s a much better use of resources than some of the other projects that some of our teams have been working on. Working together we have those opportunities and we’re super excited to see that working relatively quickly.’
While this likely comes as assuring news to the company’s investors, it’s sure to strike an ominous chord with the significant fanbase of the storied fantasy property, especially the video game enthusiasts.
A Lord of the Rings MMORPG is also currently in development, though work is occurring outside of the Embracer group, and lies with Amazon Games Orange County, developers of the successful MMORPG New World.
There are other LotR games in development too, whose work began prior to Embracer’s acquisition of the IP. Return to Moria is focused on the dwarven experience. A game is also in the works at Weta Workshop, in partnership with 2K Games label Private Division.
It was previously reported that Embracer had over 200 games in development, with five of them being Lord of the Rings games – though plans are sure to change as the full ramifications of the company’s restructuring efforts unfold.