Making history with the first Lord of the Rings survival game.
The Lord of The Rings universe has seen the sun from almost every gaming genre imaginable, including card games, board games, RPGs, and RTS, but never any survival games. What’s to say the genre can suit such a detailed, culturally prolific world of Middle Earth?
Developer Free Range Games want to be the first to take a crack at a Lord of the Rings’ survival game by announcing their development of Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria—a survival game taking place in the Fourth Age of Middle-earth—set within the Dwarven realm of Moria.
Is Return to Moria true to Tolkien’s Middle-Earth fantasy?
Fans of Lord of the Rings have been anticipating when they can step into the mysterious realm of Moria, the place of the long-lost ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm, known for the finest armor and weapons of the realm made out of steel, iron, bronze, and the mysteries of mithril steel.
Embark on a storyline where you reclaim the lost spoils from remnants of the Khazad-dûm to reclaim Dwarven power. The game takes you on a journey to feel the fellowship of the Dwarves in this iconic fantasy. The world is baked in Tolkien’s lore—you must explore mysterious places, including a mission to excavate three legendary mountains.
What makes Return to Moria a survival game?
The list of great medieval survival games is short, with many lacking enough creativity to stand out from the crowd of clones. Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria brings enriching lore to a survival game unseen before with a medieval fantasy backdrop.
Evidently, you will cross paths with mythical beasts and dangerous environments you’ve come to know and love with the LOTR franchise—creating excitement to feel truly immersed into a world many have grown up with—as the survival elements bring that authentic realism to the gameplay.
Dwarves in Middle Earth are one of the most sturdy, resilient, and crafty races, defined by hardships and survivalism. Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is authentic to the representation of a hardened Dwarven lifestyle where you earn your stripes of a warrior by mining, crafting, and battling.
The team wants players to really capture the grittiness of surviving the treacherous mines of Moria since you can’t simply enter and get your precious metals. Players must conserve resources, hunt for food, get well-needed rest, and manage temperature and noise levels.
Once you’ve finally found stability with the bare necessities, you’ll then have hordes of monstrous orcs to battle, including a wide array of other beasts.
Making matters worse, a dynamic light system will be deployed to bring authentic lighting to Moria, where dark nights are truly dark, and rays of light feel like a blessing. This is where the base building comes into play. You can use your crafty dwarven ways to build a defensive base where you set up workshops and store the loot you retrieve from mining.
While there is an extensive variety of enemy types, PvP has not been confirmed. Instead, you can play co-op with up to 8 players, allowing for authentic dwarven group battles against large solo enemies such as trolls.
Customization will be deployed to set your dwarf apart from the rest, making the memories of your journey feel exclusive to you.
To make the experience feel even more exclusive is the addition of procedural generation throughout the realm of Moria so that no adventure will ever feel alike and brings a sense of realistic scale to this beloved fictional landscape.
However, a critique of procedural generation is their lack of character as open worlds. Still, most developers today are bringing many handcrafted elements to procedural generation to bring life to the technology, so it remains to be seen whether handcrafted elements/maps will exist within the realm of Moria.
What to know about the Return to Moria’s development
Free Range Games are not new to development, having worked on noteworthy games including Oddworld: Soulstorm and the survival horror game The Calisto Protocol.
A medieval survival title will be new to their repertoire of experience. However, the developers will have the backing of the esteemed publishers North Beach Games. The publishers have supported many developers who have worked on survival crafting and role-playing games—so the team behind Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria has a positive reputation with the experience to back it up.
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is set to initially release as an Epic exclusive and PC-only title, with a target release date sometime in the spring of 2023.