Amazon.com Inc.’s video game division has canceled a Lord of the Rings-based online role-playing game based, which was announced in 2019. Amazon Game Studios was developing the game alongside China-based Leyou Technologies Holdings. The company had planned for it to be a free-to-play game for PC and consoles.
The game was to be set “at a time long before the events of The Lord of the Rings, exploring lands, people and creatures never seen before by fans of the Tolkien universe,” according to an announcement from Leyou-owned Athlon Games at the time. Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd. was purchased by conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd. in December and the resulting contract negotiations between Amazon and Tencent led to a dispute that eventually caused the game’s cancellation, Bloomberg’s sources have informed.
“Following Leyou’s recent acquisition by Tencent, we have been unable to secure terms to proceed with this title at this time”, an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement emailed to Reuters, according to Zee News.
The Amazon team working on the LOTR project will be shifted to other projects. “We love the Lord of the Rings IP, and are disappointed that we won’t be bringing this game to customers,” the spokesperson added in the statement.
Amazon Game Studios was launched in 2014 and it has yet to release a successful video game, canceling some previously announced games and delaying others. Its video game adaptation of The Grand Tour in 2019 was pulled from storefronts as it got such bad reviews from users. In January, a report by Bloomberg stated that the games studio had internal problems, including a culture that did not see to it that equal opportunities are provided to men and women, and an in-house game engine that was “painfully slow.”
But Amazon’s incoming CEO Andy Jassy said in response that he’s committed to the video games division, “I believe this team will get there if we stay focused on what matters most,” Jassy said.
In the meanwhile, the Seattle-based juggernaut still reportedly plans to spend a breathtaking sum on a different LOTR property: according to The Verge, Amazon is said to be paying $465 million for the first season of its Lord of the Rings TV show.