Take Two’s publishing label Private Division has announced it is working with Wētā Workshop (opens in new tab), the production company that created the special effects in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, on a new game “set in the Middle-earth universe of J.R.R Tolkien.”
The game, which will be based upon the “literary works of the series”, is currently in early development, and is expected to launch during Take Two’s fiscal year 2024, although a specific release date has understandably not been announced.
Head of Private Division Michael Worosz said “We are thrilled to partner with Wētā Workshop to publish a game set in such an extraordinary and celebrated universe,” adding that “No entity is better equipped than the team at Wētā Workshop to create a distinctive, new Middle-earth gaming experience.”
There’s certainly some truth to that. Wētā Workshop has been regularly involved with many things Tolkien over the last two decades. Most notably, Wētā was behind the visual effects of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which, if you’ve ever watched the Extended Edition’s DVD extras, involves some pretty incredible stuff, like the thousands of amazing costumes, and most of the films stunning “Bigatures” like the models for Rivendell and Minas Tirith. Wētā also worked on the less-well regarded (but still amazing-looking) Hobbit Trilogy, and more recently has been involved with Amazon’s hotly anticipated prequel series.
There’s very little information about what kind of game Wētā is making, but Wētā’s head of Interactive, Amie Wolken, offered a couple of tantalising titbits, stating “It’s a privilege to create a new game set in Middle-earth, especially one that’s so different from what fans have played previously.” Wolken further added “We’re excited for gamers to explore Middle-earth in a way they never had before.”
Combine that last statement with Wētā’s deep experience with Tolkien based world-building, and my guess is that is a LOTR open-world game, one that goes beyond the borders of Mordor as seen in Monolith’s “Shadow of (opens in new tab)” series. But that guess is only educated to primary-school level. It could be absolutely anything, from a Shire management sim to a Nazgûl kart-racer.
In any case, I’m extremely up for this. Monolith hasn’t been back to Mordor since 2017, instead working on its long in-development Wonder Woman (opens in new tab)game. There is that Gollum (opens in new tab)game from Daedalic Entertainment in the works, but our early impressions were mixed (opens in new tab), and it has also been delayed (opens in new tab). You can read the full announcment of Wētā’s new game here (opens in new tab).