Which is described by developer Athlon Games as being "set in the world of Middle-earth at a time long before the events of The Lord of the Rings, exploring lands, people and creatures never seen before by fans of the Tolkien universe". Of course this will be the second The Lord of the Rings Online game with The Lord of the Rings Online launching in 2007, and still on-going today.
The new game ties in with the recent Amazon announcement of a new The Lord of the Rings TV series, supposedly costing upwards of $1 billion dollars across multiple seasons. So a new The Lord of the Rings game separate from the Peter Jackson trilogy and Warner Bros. own Middle-earth: Shadow of War makes sense.
“It’s a singular opportunity to work closely with Middle-earth Enterprises to create a completely new experience for fans of the landmark fantasy work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and we are excited about the resurgence of interest in The Lord of the Rings IP,” said Dave Miller, president, Athlon Games. “This, along with several other major properties Athlon is working with, will help us to further our goal of creating AAA cooperative console and PC experiences that gamers will want to play for years to come.”
“We are extremely pleased to work with Athlon Games to create a new, immersive game experience, exploring epic regions in Middle-earth during the years leading to the events of The Lord of the Rings,” said Fredrica Drotos, Chief Brand & Licensing Officer at Middle-earth Enterprises. “Athlon’s game will allow millions of Middle-earth fans throughout the world a unique opportunity for fellowship and epic exploration.”
Interestingly Athlon Games parent company Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited, also owns Digital Extremes and Splash Damage so it's expected that this will also be free-to-play.