By now you might've heard the news: Amazon's fabled Lord of the Rings-inspired MMO has been unceremoniously cancelled after roughly two years in development. Nothing to do at this point except to pour out a bit of brandywine and mourn what might have been.
Mind you, there hasn't been a whole lot of good news to come out of Amazon's burgeoning gaming division. With this latest cancellation, the house of Bezos is now 0 for 2 , with their last remaining (known) project, New World, being continuously delayed into obscurity. Though, to be fair, this one doesn't appear to be entirely on Amazon.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, the untitled Lord of the Rings MMO was cancelled as the result of a negotiation breakdown between Amazon and their would-be development partner, Tencent. Without lifting too much out of the Bloomberg article, the studio that had also been working on the game was apparently purchased by the Chinese conglomerate, which set in motion the breakdown that ultimately lead to the MMO's cancellation.
Now, maybe I'm just naive, but from my vantage point it seems slightly bonkers that two of the most loaded companies on the planet - Amazon and Tencent - could just disregard two years worth of work, given that it's almost certain that the negotiations were entirely money related - the one thing both companies have an inconceivable amount of. It's both baffling and incomprehensible that the two entities would just decide to pull the plug on the whole thing. But I digress.
It really is a shame that it had to go down this way, because Middle-Earth is absolutely primed for a proper MMO adaptation. Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online is fine, I guess, but I did not find it to be a particularly satisfying representation of Tolkien's classic when stacked up against Peter Jackson's excellent movie trilogy.
Meanwhile, Amazon's colonialist hard-on of a game continues to limp on through its labored development, and I am left contemplating what could have - dare I say - should have been.