With everything else that’s happened this year, it might be hard to remember that there’s a Lord of the Rings MMO in development by Athlon Games. It might be even harder to remember that Athlon Games is owned by Leyou Technologies, which is itself owned by Tencent. Now that that’s all laid out, are you ready to get your hands on Athlon’s free-to-play LotR game?
If so, you’ll still have a while to wait. A document published on Leyou’s website in June was just unearthed by WCCFTech, and it contains a prospective schedule for the game’s development. Significantly, it indicates that the closed beta for the game will commence on Sept. 30, 2022, with an open beta beginning on the first day of 2023.
Other important dates include first passes on art (last June), game lore and narrative drafts (January 2021), and the development of a playable prototype, which is to be submitted to the Saul Zaentz Company, holder of the Lord of the Rings IP (June 2021). All these dates apply to the PC version of the game; PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions are scheduled to launch no more than 12 months after the PC open beta.
Of course, it’s unknown how solid any of these dates are, though it’s worth noting that this schedule was drawn up in June, and so its creators likely took potential COVID-19 delays into account. Notably, the console launches refer to last-gen consoles, rather than the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. When you consider that the console launches won’t be until the latter part of 2023, you would have to think that the game will be on those machines, which will at that point been on the market for about three years.
In any case, it would be unlikely — and nearly unprecedented in video game development — for any of these dates to be moved up, so you probably will need to wait until at least late 2022 or early 2023 before you have a chance to play the game in a closed or open beta. That’s two years or more, which is a drop in the bucket when you realize that Aragorn had to wait nearly 70 years before marrying Arwen. At least you won’t have to defeat Sauron to get into the beta.