Middle-Earth: A Gamers' Paradise

An underdeveloped gold mine for both gamers and developers and my vision for the next big game—'Silmarillion' and 'Lord of the Rings.'

Middle-Earth: A Gamers' Paradise

As many of you fans know Amazon has recently acquired the rights to Tolkien's masterpiece The Lord of the Rings trilogy. When I heard this news, it got me thinking about the video game side of the business. Growing up during the original trilogy, I always wished for a more immersive game than what was rolled out at the time of the original movies. The only games close to what I was looking for were the games named after the second and third movies. But even they lacked that something extra I craved.

I was looking for something along the lines of Skyrim. Something so immersive and personal you could get lost in playing the game and forget that you were still on our planet. Like that epic feeling you got playing as the Dragonborn. That feeling of being swept away and transported on the winds of Arda to the hallowed shores of Middle-Earth. Something only The Shadow of Mordor, LotR Online, and the Battle for Middle-Earth games have been able to come close to creating. With LotR Online and Shadow of Mordor succeeding more so than the others in this regard. But these games always brought me to this question. Why weren't there LotR games like Skyrim or Rome: Total War? What prevented these studios from seeing the potential for ventures into designing games like the two popular titles I mentioned?

For years, I have been wondering how a hugely successful book and then movie trilogy could fail to capitalize on this obvious next step in the video gaming market at the time of the movies release and fandom was high. And yes, I am well aware of the feud between Newline Cinemas and the Tolkien Estate; and also how at the time of the movies Electronic Arts and Inevitable Entertainment shared gaming rights to the Tolkien Universe. Inevitable Entertainment having the rights to make games based off the books with no reference to the movies. It still should mean that both companies only manage to combine for 5 million in sales on The Hobbit and The Two Towers games. It seems like the opportunity was missed.

However, opportunity knocks again. And I want to put it to you the Tolkien fan or Avid gamer this question. What type of game would you like to see developed? Think on that for a moment before we go on because I have a vision for the "perfect" LotR game. So bear with me for this next few paragraphs. Buckle up for this adventure. Beer will be needed. So finish that pint. Or have another one. You might need one after this.

So here it is. The concept for my dream game. It is not a new concept for the genre I love: an epic Open World RTS. But I think my idea is somewhat unique in the application of this and scope which I envision.

How to Rule Them All

The setting has two potential starting points. The first, starts you off on one of the nine ships sailing away from the wreckage of the Númenor with the remnants of the Faithful. (I will get to the evil factions in a few paragraphs) You at this point select your character type. Either Man, Elf, or Dwarf (all races having a female option). The races not Númenorean would have storylines saying that you were ambassadors or traders who had lived on Númenor in order to explain you being on the ship. Once you chose your race you would then be brought to a world map (similar in style to Fallout or Assassin's Creed) and be able to select one port city to sail to from a listing of eight options. (Further details will be in my next article).

The second will be similar to this only from the side of a Black Númenorean. They will sail to Umbar or the southern lands. In this potential game, you would also be able to select a specific orc faction, i.e Gundabad, Misty Mountains, Mordor, etc. Each of these factions could have a handful of specific generic customizable skins same with the good factions.

The short of it is that if done right, this universe could eclipse the one created by the developers of the Elder Scrolls, Fallout or Far Cry. The ingredients are already there. A game developed with an emphasis on bringing Middle-Earth to life through well designed visual aesthetics like detailed flora and fauna would destroy the competition. High attention to detail within each city and making sure they are designed uniquely in each area of the world would also go along way amongst us die hards. Add massive multiplayer battle areas embedded into the map and this potential game would be worth is weight in simarils.

I won't pretend this will be easy or cheap to create for any gaming company that goes the distance on a project like this (C++ or Python). However, a project like this will surely reward that company a thousand times over. If they follow the formula below and mix in some of the best elements of Skyrim (expansive map, storyline, customization) and that of the Battlefield series (large scale battles, great graphics) there is no doubt that whatever game produced will be a success. Wishful thinking, but a guy can dream, right...?

P.S. I have attached two articles below. One is by a fellow Vocal writer. I do not know them personally, but give it a read. Well worth the time. Thanks again for reading!

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Sam Hazelwood

Avid traveler. Father. Weekend hiker. I enjoy almost every sport there is football being #1. My other passion is to write historical fiction. So be on the lookout for my book. Thanks for reading!

See all posts by Sam Hazelwood