The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is an upcoming survival crafting game that takes direct inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythos, expanding on the culture and history of the Dwarves in Middle-earth’s Fourth Age, also known as the Age of Men. A new ‘sneak peak’ at the game has revealed brand new locales, concept art, and gameplay mechanics for the upcoming title, which still remains shrouded in secrecy.
The latest game preview, shared by casual Tolkien scholar The Nerd of the Rings, reveals that players will be able to take charge of their own dwarf to explore and rebuild the ruined caverns of Moria.
For timeline reference, the Fourth Age of Middle-earth takes place directly after the events depicted in Return of the King. Sauron and the One Ring have finally been destroyed, Aragorn has been crowned, and a time of peace has begun.
Return to Moria will take place in this period, and feature dwarves attempting to reclaim the underground city of Moria, which was briefly overtaken by goblins and orcs prior to the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.
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The Misty Mountains, a companion region to Moria, also appear to be explorable in this survival adventure – with new screenshots depicting two dwarves stumbling through high waters with torches held high.
A livestream that accompanied the new screenshots featured the developers at Free Range Games discussing the inspirations for the upcoming journey, and how they’ve adapted Tolkien lore. The game will dive deep into the rarely explored history and legacy of the Dwarves, and feature a much-needed reclamation of Moria.
In order to rebuild these caverns, players will use unique mining skills, craft special items and structures, and also undertake combat to beat back the dark villains that still occupy the furthest reaches of the mines. In darkness, the risks of mining will be far greater – and sounds may attract unwanted attention. This process will also have a psychological impact on your dwarf, and will need to be monitored.
So far, we haven’t seen any meaty glimpses of how this gameplay will function – but there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about the launch of this game in future. Free Range Games have confirmed The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria will launch for Windows PC in 2023. Stay tuned for more details.