Thursday, 16 Jul 2020

New Details On The Lord Of The Rings MMO, Including Its Art Style, Have Emerged

As part of Amazon’s gigantic push into gaming, the company is developing a new Lord of the Rings MMO with developers who previously worked on Destiny, WoW, and Planetside, among others. The game is in development at the company’s Irvine, California studio, and now some of the first details about the game have emerged thanks to job listings.

A job ad for a senior character artist on the Lord of the Rings project calls for a person who will help create what sounds like a new art style for the game. The listing states, “We’re seeking an art style for our game that is ‘different-at-a-glance’ from the games and movies that have come before us.”

The listing goes on: “We need an artist with bravery and artistic skills to help us do something new.”

The successful candidate will work with the game’s designers and engineers to develop “fascinating heroes, unsettling enemies, and breathtaking cinematic characters in a variety of settings.”

Another job ad, for a gameplay UI engineer, calls for a person who will help develop the Lord of the Rings MMO’s “many social and gameplay features.” This person will assist with the creation of “nearly every player-facing feature in the game.”

The candidate will create features that help players want to play together, reward them for their in-game efforts, and motivate them to keep playing. Being a live service game, the Lord of the Rings MMO’s gameplay UI engineer will also “face the challenge of live game feature development where delighting customers is a constant occupation.”

The job listing also confirms something quite obvious, that the Lord of the Rings MMO will incorporate some of Amazon’s services, including GameLift and Twitch, though the exact nature of this was not disclosed.

A job ad for a senior environment artist also mentions the “different-at-a-glance” art style for the Lord of the Rings game. This person will also help to “bring innovative gameplay to life in functional, beautiful spaces.”

Yet another job, for a lead animator on the Lord of the Rings MMO, calls for a person who will help create the “foundations of navigation, combat, and storytelling.”

“We think ‘moment-to-moment fun’ is the highest goal of any game,” Amazon said. “Core gameplay must be delightful in its own right, even before adding extrinsic rewards and progression. We need an animator with the vision and clarity to achieve this goal.”

The job ad also points out that the Lord of the Rings MMO is aiming to be “AAA quality,” and that the person who gets the job will have “a broad impact and a lot of discretion.” The successful candidate will help develop a “combat loop” that feels “incredibly satisfying to play.”

The senior animator will also work with the creative director and narrative design to “express storytelling through in-game cinematics”

Another job, for the game’s art director, seeks a person who will help create and establish a “world class art team” to “produce breathtaking visuals” for the Lord of the Rings MMO.

“You will embed deeply with game teams to shape a unique visual style, innovate with new techniques and technologies, introduce production practices to empower artists and improve efficiency, and leverage lighting and rendering to deliver an impactful final result,” the job ad says.

Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings game is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings literary trilogy–the books, not the movies–so it may feature some familiar faces. However, no story details are available at this stage, though Amazon did confirm that this project–which has no release date–is separate from Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV show. That program takes place in the Second Age, which is long before the events of the books.

“The game will give fans around the globe a new, immersive game experience for epic exploration of the vast world of Tolkien,” Amazon said in a press release.

The wording in the new Lord of the Rings MMO job ads seems to suggest that it is still very early days for the project. The untitled Lord of the Rings MMO is being made for console and PC, and Amazon will market and publish the game everywhere in the world except China. Amazon is partnering with Warframe owner Leyou’s new Athlon Games division, which will handle the game’s release in China.

The game is being developed by the same internal Amazon studio that’s working on its 17th Century MMO New World. People working on the Lord of the Rings game include veterans who worked on big online games such as Destiny, Planetside, WoW, Everquest, Defiance, and Rift.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings MMO will seemingly compete directly with the existing Lord of the Rings MMO, The Lord of the Rings Online, which launched all the way back in 2007, and is also based on the books, not the movies. The game is still in operation to this day, though its ownership has changed hands. The Lord of the Rings Online never made the jump to console, however, while Amazon plans to release its game on console. Amazon’s game has no release date, which suggests it’s not coming soon. That means it could potentially release on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, though this is only conjecture.

Middle-earth Enterprises, which controls the non-literary rights to Tolkien’s work, is involved with Amazon’s new game.

In addition to this new MMO, Daedelic Entertainment is making a Lord of the Rings game that focuses on Gollum.

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