Amazon and Tencent's Lord of the Rings MMO was scrapped because "we're too big as companies"

Lord of the Rings
(Image credit: New Line)

Amazon says it canceled its Lord of the Rings MMO because the involvement of Chinese tech giant Tencent complicated things too much.

When news of the Lord of the Rings MMO's cancelation broke in April of last year, Amazon only said that it had "been unable to secure terms to proceed" with the project following Tencent's acquisition of developer Leyou Technologies. So, we had reason to suspect it had something to do with the entertainment conglomerate being involved, but now we have confirmation.

In an interview with GameSpot, Amazon Games president Christoph Hartmann explained that the ill-fated Lord of the Rings project became "very complicated" after Tencent's buyout, and that's when Amazon decided it was best to walk.

One major roadblock was a clause written into Middle-earth Enterprises that allowed it to terminate the deal in the event of a partner acquisition, and when Tencent bought Leyou, the license-holder did exactly that. However, Hartmann said that negotiations continued for a while in an effort by the companies to work out a way forward for the MMO, but eventually Amazon called it quits.

"The question was, sure, maybe could have worked together with Tencent to do something, but I think we're too big as companies to really turn into partners doing a property together where they own the license and we develop the game," Hartmann said. "So we decided it's better to not work together there. Then we tried to figure something out with both ends, but I think it just dragged on too long."

Of course, Amazon Games did wind up launching its own original MMO, titled New World, and it's also the Western publisher for the top-down MMO Lost Ark. "I want to keep on investing in that. I know, it's not going to be Lord of the Rings, but we have our own fantasy; why not keep building on that," Hartmann said.

For what to play now, check out our ranking of the best MMOs in 2022.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.