Lord of the Rings' corporate owners know that you "have to respect" the books, but after Gollum, says that "not everything is going to hit it out of the park"

Screenshot from Middle-earth: Shadow of War
(Image credit: WB Games)

Embracer Group, the company that bought the entirety of Middle-Earth, has a strategy for licensed Lord of the Rings games but reckons "not everything is going to hit it out of the park."

Embracer seeks to expand the already expansive Middle-Earth universe with more haste than the Nazgul search for Hobbits, with plans set for more live-action films starting with a standalone Hunt For Gollum flick, following the failed Gollum game.  

With the Lord of the Rings's big screen renaissance on the way, Embracer Freemode CEO Lee Guinchard was asked about the company's approach to licensed games in an interview with VentureBeat. "All I can say through all of this is you have to respect the works," he said. There's no word on how exactly the company plans to "respect" J.R.R. Tolkien's books but the executive was pretty bullish regardless. 

"We believe that gaming can be the future, of course," Guinchard continued. "And I think we want to do something amazing and big over time. And really, it's important to build those relationships in order to really take this thing into the next chapter. Historically, it's just been so fragmented."

Guinchard acknowledges that "not everything is going to hit it out of the park… but we're really creating an ecosystem and an agile company that invites creators to create things in this world. That's the plan."

Among the games that haven't "hit it out of the park" so far is the above-mentioned Gollum game, which was disastrous enough to become a meme and lead to layoffs for the development studio. Lord of the Rings licenses also led to last year's fairly well-liked co-op game Return to Moria, alongside an upcoming cozy life sim about Hobbits and an Amazon Games MMO from the studio behind New World

Embracer CEO admitted he “deserves a lot of criticism” after 1,400 layoffs, 7 studio closures, and 29 canceled games. 

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.