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Please Amazon, make up with Tencent so we can have a Rings of Power MMO

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It’s clear from the first sweeping panorama over Middle-earth what Amazon wants to accomplish with its new Lord of the Rings show. The Rings of Power ceaselessly hops between characters who each represent different regions of the greater Lord of the Rings legendarium. We have imperial elves residing in leafy, eternally autumnal kingdoms, humans digging out a yeoman’s living in thatched-roof cottages, and proto-Hobbits rustling up berries in dense, wild valleys. The camera frequently pulls back to reveal a sepia-toned map, laminated with all of the Tolkien realms—the places that only pop up in the apocryphal comic-books and RPGs—demonstrating how the Lord of the Rings universe has officially broken free of the Peter Jackson constraints, and can now balloon across countless spin-offs, sequels, and multiversal digressions. The franchise era is finally here, and that makes it hard to watch The Rings of Power without hungering for a fully realized, Bezos-funded Middle-earth MMO.

They already tried this once. Amazon, with its nascent games division, was hard at work on an MMORPG built within the trappings of the mysterious Second Age, which is when The Rings of Power takes place. It’s the perfect vantage for a videogame based on a beloved story—familiar surroundings, but a blank slate for storytelling. Nothing concrete about the design philosophy leaked beyond that, but we may never hear more about it. The project was canceled in 2021.

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