Lord of the Rings owners are canning other games to make Middle-earth "into one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world"

(Image credit: Deadalic)

The owner of the rights to The Lord of the Rings says it plans to "exploit" the franchise in an attempt to turn it into a major force in gaming.

Speaking during an investor call, Embracer Group board member Matthew Karch said that "we own Lord of the Rings, and we know we need to be exploiting Lord of the Rings in a very different fashion and turning that into one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world."

The world "exploit" there is bad enough, but Karch's comments come off the back of a significant restructuring at Embracer, which has become one of the biggest game publishers in the world thanks to a slew of notable acquisitions in recent years. In an open letter, company CEO Lars Wingefors announced redundancies, cancellations, and studio closures - many of which appear to be directly in the service of bigger titles.

The team behind the new Tomb Raider game has already announced its immunity to the restructure. Karch himself says that future Lord of the Rings games are "a much better use of resources than some of the other projects that some of our teams have been working on." Those games, for the most part, have reportedly not been announced.

Earlier this year, Embracer announced that five Lord of the Rings games were in development. One of those was the disastrous Gollum, another is upcoming survival game Return to Moria, and a there's also an EA mobile RPG, a game from Weta Workshop, and the recently-announced Lord of the Rings MMO from the New World studio. That's a lot of Middle-earth, but Embracer's comments suggest we're set to see a lot more. That's all well and good, but the suggestion that it's coming at the direct expense of other games is a worrying one, especially when games like Gollum are yet to make Embracer's stewardship of the brand look like a shining example of how the franchise might look in the future.

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Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.