During the Epic Games Showcase (did you know about this?), we got word of a new game set in JRR Tolkien’s ever-rich Middle-earth. The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria has been announced, and it’s heading to PC in spring of 2023. But unlike a lot of games set in Tolkien’s universe, Return to Moria isn’t fully based on action or combat — but there is some to be found in the deep places of the world.
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a survival game, with crafting as a focal point. You play as a company of Dwarves, who return to the dank halls of Moria at the beckoning of Lord Gimli Lockbearer. If you’ve seen the films or read the books, the conceit should be obvious. Yep, it’s time to take back Khazad-dûm for the dwarves. And that means rebuilding, and fending off orc intruders — and perhaps some other, ancient evils.
It could be challenging, but thankfully you don’t have to go it alone. The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria will let you play it co-op when it launches on PC. Up to eight players can don Dwarven armor and weapons, seek out resources, craft new equipment, mine ore, build up bases, and more. It’s fully online as well, so don’t worry about how you can fit eight players on a couch. Each player, including yourself, can customize the look of their chosen Dwarf. Armor and weaponry also feed into how you want to look as you mine away.
And they called it a mine!
But you can’t sit around. Exploration is a part of The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria. The environments are procedurally generated, hiding twists, turns, and hidden treasures. According to the press release, “where there’s clatter, there’s combat.” It’s a callback to the first film and book, obviously. But it sounds like mistakes, such as dropping a skeleton into a well, could spark a dust up between your Dwarven forces and the orcs.
“J.R.R. Tolkien and all of his creations within Middle-earth are near and dear to our hearts, and this project presents an amazing opportunity to create new experiences born from one of the greatest stories ever told,” said said Chris Scholz, CEO of Free Range Games. “We are pouring a lot of passion into the game to give players an unforgettable experience.”
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria doesn’t have a solid release date yet, but it’ll be on PC via the Epic Games Store next year.