Amazon Game Studios will market and publish the title globally, with the exception of China, which will be managed by Leyou.
"Bringing Middle-earth to life necessitates having the very best partners, and Amazon's customer obsession, technology, and talented teams make it the ideal choice for a co-developer and publisher", Alex Xu, CEO of Leyou, said in a statement.
"Lord of the Rings" is the second online roleplaying game announced by Amazon this year - the first is a game called "New World" set in the 17th century. The latter should be familiar to gamers as the parent company of Digital Extremes, developers of the free-to-play online stealth shooter Warframe. Before any purists start to worry, Athlon Games, Leyou and Amazon will be producing the game in close partnership with Middle-Earth Enterprises to ensure that the experience is worth of Tolkien's work. The newly announced game will be a free-to-play title for PC and consoles.
Now that we've gotten the bad taste of the bloated Hobbit film trilogy out of our mouths (along with the weird orc slavery of the Middle-earth video games) things are looking up for Lord of the Rings fans. According to Amazon, the show and the MMO are separate projects, totally unrelated.
For the MMO, Amazon is partnering with Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited. This is the same game that Athlon Games, a subsidiary of Leyou, announced a year ago in September. While Amazon Game Studios is on board with the project, it is not tied to the upcoming TV series, so this won't be like Defiance, where the game and TV show run side by side.
The Lord of the Rings MMORPG will see the collaboration of industry veterans, with many authors, designers and programmers specializing in multiplayer titles like Everquest, Planetside, World of Warcraft and Destiny.
Amazon's going whole hog with The Lord of The Rings.
Would you be keen to play a new Lord of the Rings MMO?
There is no official title for the MMO now and it is unclear when Amazon plans to release it or how long it has been in development for.