Private Division and Wētā Workshop Announce Publishing Agreement to Develop New “Lord of the Rings” Video Game

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Private Division has announced that it has entered into a publishing agreement with Wētā Workshop to publish a new The Lord of the Rings video game.

Source: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2015), Warner Bros. Interactive

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Publishing subsidiary Take-Two Interactive announcement the partnership on August 15, “a new publishing agreement with Wētā Workshop”. The latter is the special effects company that worked on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They recently worked on Thor: Love and Thunder, and will also be working on the upcoming Rings of Power, Avatar: The Way of Water.

“In 2014, Wētā Workshop founded an interactive games division and is currently developing a new game set in JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth universe,” the statement explains. “The Middle-earth Companies have licensed the series’ literary works, providing Wētā Workshop with the broadest creative license to interpret the books’ underlying lore.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Wētā Workshop to publish a game set in such an extraordinary and celebrated universe,” said Michael Worosz; Chief Strategy Officer of Take-Two Interactive and Head of the Private Division. “The Lord of the Rings IP is home to so many remarkable stories, and no entity is better equipped than the team at Wētā Workshop to create a distinct new gameplay experience in Middle-earth.”

Source: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (2022), Daedalic Entertainment, Nacon

“It’s a privilege to create a new game set in Middle-earth,” said Amie Wolken, Head of Interactivity at Wētā Workshop, “especially one that is so different from what fans have played As fans ourselves, we’re thrilled that players are exploring Middle-earth in a way they’ve never experienced before and introducing new fans to the magic of The Lord of the Rings.

The statement concludes “This title is in early development and does not yet have an announced release date. It is expected to launch in Take-Two’s 2024 fiscal year. Private Division and Wētā Workshop look forward to sharing more details about this game in the future.

Take-Two Interactive Financial year 2022 completed on March 31, 2022. Therefore, we could expect this new Lord of the Rings title by March 31, 2024 at the latest, assuming all production runs smoothly. We could speculate a holiday 2023 release, but also a delay beyond Take-Two’s fiscal year depending on the scale of the game; almost certain to be a Triple-A title.

Source: Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017), Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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The merchandising and video game rights for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were sold in February 2022. These were later purchased by Embracer Group – with Middle-earth Enterprises, “which has an extensive catalog of intellectual property and worldwide rights to films, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions”, part of Embrace Freemode.

“The company will continue to operate independently under the existing Middle-earth Enterprises management team, working closely with Embracer Freemode management and other Embracer operating groups to foster opportunities, growth and synergies within the group in order to continue to build and develop the great franchise”, underlines the statement of the Embracer group.

Source: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (2022), Daedalic Entertainment, Nacon

What are your hopes for the future of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit games? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.

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