Because The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and even piecemeal works like Beren and Lúthien or The Children of Húrin are emotionally far too important to me to let them sour between less valuable colleagues. This also applies to Peter Jackson’s film trilogy (yes, trilogy. There weren’t more than three). I hardly ever buy Blu-Rays anymore but stream everything I want to watch or buy the films digitally. But not The Lord of the Rings! This should be on the shelf in stylish packaging.
Emotionally, Lord of the Rings even tops Star Wars for me. I’m telling you all this isn’t at all because I’m feeling spring fever and want to perform a Tolkien song anthem in Middle-earth instead because recent events have made me very sad.
It was only recently that I became painfully aware of how disappointing the current existence of Lord of the Rings in the field of PC games is. It wouldn’t be that complicated to help this fantastic universe, loved by millions, out of its self-inflicted valley.
All that would need to be done would be to look closely at what has distinguished Star Wars over the past few years. Because this universe wasn’t much better off than it is now in Lord of the Rings not so long ago.
The Lord of the Rings makes me sad.
When I think of The Lord of the Rings, I usually feel good right away. The story about the ring of power and Frodo’s journey to Mordor is my absolute happy place. When I’m feeling terrible, there’s a good chance one of the films will be spinning in my disc drive at some point, or I’ll have the entire work read to me, or I’ll get bogged down in a PC game around Middle-earth.
One simple fact ensures that: I rarely throw myself into a current game with a clear conscience. When I want to escape digitally into this world, I either start the action-adventure game Return of the King, waste a little time in Lord of the Rings Online, or try to start Battle for Middle-earth 2 without success. But the latter is partly to blame for the fact that I currently feel sadness rather than happiness when thinking about Tolkien’s work.
None of these games is younger than ten years. I then look somewhat desperately in the direction of current developments – and that often only makes it worse. A new game for The Lord of the Rings has recently been announced: a free2play strategy game for mobile.
I’m not a mobile phone gamer without opening the portable barrel too much (they can be good games). Especially since such games usually only appeal to the lowest gamistic instincts of ours. But I want to sink into the world in a game about Lord of the Rings, feel very small in the shadow of the mighty lore, and hope that my heart will happily jump as soon as nostalgia grabs me. For example, when I see a prominent place where the companions once passed. None of this gives me a mobile game.
What’s to come next?
The last elaborately produced Lord of the Rings game was Shadow of War. And it would help if you thought it wasn’t that long ago. But it is. Shadow of War was released in 2017. Two thousand seven years! I wasn’t even employed here at GameStar then. 2017, that was half a decade ago.
Of course, it takes a long time to develop games. And, of course, I don’t want Lord of the Rings to be cannibalized. It just frustrates me immensely that even after five years, there is not even a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
I originally had some expectations of the Amazon MMO for Lord of the Rings because I naively thought that such a financially successful company could have precisely the big-budget power that I’ve wished for years. But Amazon just hasn’t shown that they can make good games.
New World and Crucible were not what many were hoping for. And after negotiating difficulties with Tencent, this MMO project based on Lord of the Rings was again handed over to the Rauros Falls in a dinghy.
And what’s next? Hardly a game we know more than rumors about, with one exception: Gollum from Daedalic.
This isn’t what I’ve been waiting for. Of course, I don’t want to jump to conclusions here – but Gollum doesn’t look like the next big Lord of the Rings success. Sure, the concept sounds exciting. But based on the previous gameplay scenes and the production effort, I still lack confidence in this game. I wish him the best – just will it work out the way I hope Lord of the Rings games will be in 2022? Unlikely.