I know licensing isn’t the sexiest topic, but when it comes to certain properties—like Star Wars and major sports—it plays a super important role in what games we get to play and who makes them. Which is my way of explaining why I’m writing about the surprise announcement that EA is making its first Lord of the Rings game since 2006.
For all the shit people talk about EA in 2022, most of it for good reason, the publisher had a run in the ‘00s where they released a number of excellent Lord of the Rings games. There were the brawler movie tie-ins, the cult Battle for Middle Earth series of strategy games, and Third Age, a Final Fantasy clone that is a lot better than most people ever gave it credit for.
So there’s a weird sense of nostalgia attached to the announcement today that, with the series’ rights now under new management, EA is making a new Lord of the Rings game. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s a free to play mobile game. The good news—pardon me, but this is a rollercoaster of an announcement—is that it’s based on one of the best types of free-to-play games around.
Called The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, here’s the game’s official description:
The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth will feature immersive storytelling, turn-based combat, deep collection systems, and a wide roster of characters from across the vast universe of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Players battle through iconic stories from the world of Tolkien and take up the fight against the great evils of Middle-earth.
Basically, it’s going to be Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes—it’s even being developed by the same team, Capital Games—only swapping out Jedi for Rohirrim and Hobbits. Which, you know, is not as cool an announcement as EA saying, “Hey, we’re making Battle for Middle Earth III,” but for anyone who is into GoH’s casual daily battles, this might be neat.
And maybe Battle for Middle Earth III can come next.