Frodo, your smartphone is ringing.
Electronic Arts announced a partnership with Middle-earth Enterprises on the development of a new, free-to-play mobile game called “The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle Earth.” It’s expected to enter “limited regional beta testing” this summer, the company said. There’s no official launch date as yet.
The “LOTR” universe has been adapted in dozens of games over the years, including EA’s PC and console titles based on the Lord of the Rings films and books. However, the new title, which is being developed by EA’s Capital Games studio, represents the first mobile game developed by EA based on the storylines, locations and characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” literary works.
“The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth” will feature a “wide roster” of characters from across Tolkien’s works. In the RPG title, players will engage in battle and take up the fight against the great evils of Middle-earth. EA promises “high-fidelity graphics, cinematic animations and stylized art” as well as “immersive storytelling, turn-based combat and deep collection systems” for the forthcoming game.
In February, Variety reported that Middle-earth Enterprises (formerly known as Tolkien Enterprises), a division of the Saul Zaentz Co., had enlisted an investment bank to shop film, merchandising, gaming and live event rights for Tolkien’s literary works. The move comes ahead of Amazon’s Prime Video premiere of the mega-budget TV series “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” on Sept. 2 (while Amazon’s games division last year nixed plans for a “LOTR” multiplayer game).
“We are incredibly excited to partner with the Saul Zaentz Company and Middle-earth Enterprises on the next generation of mobile role-playing games,” said Malachi Boyle, EA’s VP of mobile RPG. “The team is filled with fans of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ and each day they bring their tremendous passion and talents together to deliver an authentic experience for players.
Fredrica Drotos, chief brand and licensing officer for Middle-earth Enterprises, added, “We are thrilled to be working with EA once again, this time to bring a mobile game solely inspired by Middle-earth as described in the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien to its fans. It’s an honor to work with the talented Capital Games team whose knowledge and love of the lore is palpable throughout.”