The Lord of the Rings IP is currently in a tough spot, with the rights soon set to be snapped up by gaming giant Embracer Group. While the news may come as a shock to many – it’s been licensed by various companies through The Saul Zaentz Company for years – there were clues about this changeover recently, including in Warner Bros. crossover game, MultiVersus.
As recently reported by data miner multiversusie, all references and teasers relating to The Lord of the Rings franchise were seemingly removed from the game in a season one patch. It’s unclear when exactly they disappeared, but multiversusie notes that the Eye of Sauron trophy which was previously found in the game has now been removed.
The tower of Barad-dûr, which houses the flaming Eye of Sauron, also no longer appears in the background of the Trophy’s Edge map – instead, it’s been replaced by a generic tower.
According to multiversusie, tracks relating to Mordor and Hobbiton have also now been removed from the game’s data.
The Lord of the Rings was one of the first major franchises to be teased for MultiVersus, with the wizard Gandalf appearing as a fighter in the earliest leaks of the game.
When MultiVersus launched, Gandalf was nowhere to be seen – but the teases for the Tolkien-created franchise were fairly obvious. As well as Barad-dûr making an appearance, the Eye of Sauron also appeared in the reflection of the water in Trophy’s Edge, with the MultiVersus Twitter account teasing spoilers for upcoming game content.
With the latest game update scrubbing these clues, many fans now doubt the franchise will ever appear in MultiVersus. We can assume the status of the IP rights are to blame. While Warner Bros. previously had an agreement with The Saul Zaentz Company to create content for the Lord of the Rings IP, the company also recently claimed that it owned the exclusive rights to the franchise.
This may not be the case, as The Saul Zaentz Company has now entered an agreement to sell the rights to Embracer Group – but it’s unclear how Warner Bros. fits into proceedings. It has yet to make a formal statement about the sale of the rights, or what it means for MultiVersus.
For now, the status of The Lord of the Rings remains extremely complicated – which may explain why the franchise has yet to roll up its sleeves and get brawling. Stay tuned for more on this as the acquisition unfolds.