EA has announced that it's partnering with Middle-earth Enterprises to make a new, free-to-play Lord of the Rings mobile game.
The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth is a "collectible role-playing game that brings the fantasy and adventure of The Lord of the Rings to existing fans and new audiences alike in a strategic, social-competitive experience," according to EA (via BusinessWire). Apparently it's a part of the company's efforts to continue delivering live service titles, and to "reach more players on more platforms around the world."
Heroes of Middle-earth will apparently feature turn-based combat, with a big roster of characters from both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It's also noted that players will "battle through iconic stories from the world of Tolkein," so it sounds like the game could play out over any part of the history of the world.
What it isn't is the remake of the best GameCube/ PS2/ Xbox game ever made, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Heroes of Middle-earth will be the first game in a while that is actually about The Lord of the Rings, as Middle-earth was really just the setting for Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War.
A limited regional beta test is also set to release this summer, though there isn't any specific window of time other than the season.
Vice president of mobile rpg for EA Malachi Boyle said that the studio is "incredibly excited to partner" with Middle-earth Enterprises on this title. "The combination of high-fidelity graphics, cinematic animations, and stylised art immerses players in the fantasy of Middle-earth where they'll go head-to-head with their favourite characters."
Essentially, it sounds like Lord of the Rings is going the route of the gacha, but it could be something else entirely. Not at all surprising considering the ridiculous sum of revenue that Genshin Impact has made since it launched in 2020 ($3billion, so you know), and just how popular and profitable mobile games are in general.
It's unclear if characters will resemble their film counterparts in any way, but considering it's a gacha game, there's plenty of room for multiple interpretations and designs. Here's hoping for some rep for the 1978 Lord of the Rings animated film.