Two 'Lord of The Rings' Games Are Coming Out (And Only One Looks Good)
“The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, it will fall… to the ruin of all.” That’s generally the vibe of most video games, but these games are really bringing Galadriel’s message home. There are two major new Lord of the Rings games coming down the pipeline. Besides sharing the genre sparking DNA of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterworks, they couldn’t be more different. Good little hobbitses everywhere are eagerly anticipating the release of both games, but unlike the almost 3 billion dollar grossing movies, they’ll be functionally very different and potentially for audiences that will never overlap. One is an indie developer’s first foray into AAA waters and one is a gimmie cash grab by a studio with one of the worst reputations for microtransactions.
Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle Earth is a mobile game being developed by EA, the developer behind a wide, wide variety of titles like The Sims and Madden 22. Despite making some absolutely fantastic games, EA (Electronic Arts) has been the center of fan outrage for years over their blatant use of microtransactions. On EA’s press release for Heroes of Middle Earth it says the game is “free to play”, followed by a big ol’ asterisk leading to this text: “*Persistent internet connection required. Age restrictions apply. Includes in-game purchases (including random items).” That’s legalese for loot boxes. The game is currently in development with no release date set, but you should start saving up now so you can buy whatever random armor they’re trying to sell you.
Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a different epic tale entirely. We're interested to see the emotional arc the game takes. Can a character whose defining traits are being pitiable and unlikeable really drive the narrative of a AAA game? Games rely on us inhabiting the protagonist, will the devs be able to make inhabiting a loathsome creature fun? This is a major swing for studio Daedalic Entertainment, who has developed plenty of games, but none that are getting as much hype or with as much history as Gollum. Despite the industry changing rapidly and release dates becoming more of a suggestion than a deadline, the game is still set to be released this fall.