Amazon cancels 'Lord of the Rings' video game first announced in 2019

The company said it is 'disappointed' to call off the role-playing fantasy game

Viggo Mortensen in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Courtesy New Line Cinema
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Amazon's embattled video game division has cancelled an online role-playing game based on the fantasy series The Lord of the Rings, which was first announced in 2019.

The game had been in development at Amazon Games alongside China's Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd, which was purchased by the conglomerate Tencent in December.

The resulting contract negotiations led to a dispute between Amazon and Tencent that eventually caused the game’s cancellation, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorised to speak publicly about the issue.

An Amazon representative confirmed that after Tencent's acquisition of Leyou, "we have been unable to secure terms to proceed with this title at this time".

The Amazon team working on the game will be moved to other projects. "We love The Lord of the Rings IP, and are disappointed that we won't be bringing this game to customers," the representative for the Seattle-headquartered company said.

The Lord of the Rings series of novels was penned by author J R R Tolkien and adapted into a highly successful film trilogy by director Peter Jackson. The tale follows Frodo, a young hobbit, and his band of companions who must make a treacherous journey to destroy a dangerous ring once owned by a dark lord eyeing a return to power.

The cancellation follows a string of bad news for Amazon Games, which has been unable to release a successful video game since launching in 2014. The company has cancelled previous announced games Breakaway and Crucible. Another of its games, New World, has been delayed repeatedly.

Amazon owns the popular streaming service, Twitch, but its video game division has been floundering for years.

Amazon's incoming chief executive Andy Jassy said earlier this year that he was committed to the video game division, which launched under outgoing chief executive and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.