Embracer Group made headlines this summer by acquiring the coveted rights to one of the most successful literary works of all time, J.R.R Tolkien’s legendary fantasy books. The Swedish gaming giant struck a deal with Middle-earth Entreprises, a subsidiary of The Saul Zaentz Company acquiring the rights to The Lord of the Rings in 1976.
Some of the biggest names in the industry had eye on the Middle-earth properties, which were reportedly valued at a whopping $2 billion. But Embracer Group came out on top of such juggernauts as Amazon to be granted rights to everything Tolkien-related, from motion pictures to board games and video games to theme parks.
And plans to cash in on Middle Earth are as rife as they are ambitious, according to the man responsible for brokering the sale. CEO of ACF Investment Bank, Thomas Dey recently disclosed new information about a deal so sensitive and secret its protagonists at ACF “were interviewed in the dark”.
Daley said The Lord of the Rings trilogy amounted to one of barely six “pieces of IP of this magnitude” across the globe. He also projected the franchise could ultimately reach the billion-dollar scale of the likes of Marvel and Star Wars.
Embracer Group is likely to focus on gaming, for starters. With 10,000 developers readily at hand, the studio is a force to be reckoned with in the industry. CEO Lars Wingefors, therefore, announced eyeing opportunities to tackle transmedia projects. “We can power creatives,” he added, to fulfil “their goals and dreams.” As Dey acknowledged, the film and TV world is shifting from mere escapism to sheer immersion. Incidentally, gaming could be a powerful venue to lean into.
Several Lord of the Rings games are already in the works, proving that the appeal of Tolkien’s Middle Earth has not faded one bit. A Gollum-focused game by Daedalic Entertainment is set to hit PC and consoles in the coming months. While the game has been delayed until further notice, anxious gamers may still check The Lord of the Rings: Gollum preview. Prominent VFX studio Wētā Workshop is also teaming up with Take-Two’s Private Division on a new game to be released in 2024. While details are light, the studio founded by Peter Jackson is considering exploring Middle Earth in a never-before-seen way.
Meanwhile, Epic Games announced Return to Moria. This survival crafting entry set in the Fourth Age is scheduled for a worldwide release in the spring of 2023. Electronic Arts, too, is having a say. Only the gaming giant looks toward the booming mobile gaming market with a free-to-play collectible role-playing card entitled The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth.
The hype did not go unnoticed by the iGaming industry, either. Several software publishers have developed LotR-themed machine slots, from Tom Horn Gaming’s Middle Earth to Microgaming’s Lord of the Rings. Many online platforms allow players to enjoy such slots without paying a dime. Free slots may then become a convenient means to switch to online casinos for real money. Real money games are the best option to aim for bigger wins and loftier jackpots. Players may use a range of reliable payment methods to make a deposit and withdraw their earnings smoothly. Better yet, hefty bonuses like free bonus spins and cashback deals can boost a bankroll in no time.
The gaming medium is far from the only one weighing in on Middle Earth. Amazon Prime’s take on the Tolkien universe attracted over 25 million global viewers at launch, making Rings of Power the platform’s biggest premiere ever. The animated film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim should follow suit and hit worldwide movie theatres in April 2024.
The Lord of the Rings franchise is very much alive and kicking, thus. And Embracer Group is looking forward to exploring a number of spin-off movies based on such iconic characters as Aragorn, Gandalf, Gollum, and Eowyn. Middle Earth could therefore spawn a large-scale cinematic universe in the vein of the MCU. So, exciting times are coming ahead for Tolkien fans. In the meantime, movie lovers may revisit Peter Jackson’s visionary flicks, while gamers can go back to acclaimed titles like Shadow of Mordor.