The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-Earth is publisher Electronic Arts’ next foray into the world of mobile gaming. Announced this week, Heroes of Middle-Earth will be a ‘collectible role-playing game’ and will first be released in beta form. The beta kicks off in the next few months. Hopefully, the thrill of opening loot boxes will keep the blood pumping and keep us warm. Oh, and it’ll also be free-to-play. Whether it’s free-to-win is still to be decided.
The game is being developed by EA Capital, makers of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. You may remember Galaxy of Heroes from all the way back in 2015. At least EA has got its game names down to a point – maybe next we’ll get Harry Potter: Hero of Heroes (Hero Edition).
Jokes aside, Heroes of Middle-Earth will be featuring turn-based combat and “…a wide roster of characters from across the vast universe of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” The game also features better graphics than you may be used to in mobile games. According to EA’s VP of mobile RPGs, the game will have “…high-fidelity graphics, cinematic animations, and stylized art.”
The game will not be focusing solely on adapting the original series, which EA has also developed games around. The mobile game may cover Peter Jackson’s films, but could also explore lore and stories from wider Middle-Earth. Maia, Istari, and Ainur, anyone?
Loot boxes or surprise mechanics?
Everybody knows EA love to make money. Most companies do. But EA really likes to make money. So much so that many of its games feature some sort of microtransactions. Or loot boxes. It seems Heroes of Middle-Earth will be no different.
Stuck right at the end of EA’s press release for this game is a telling line. “Persistent internet connection required. Age restrictions apply. Includes in-game purchases (including random items).”
This means that we will definitely see some sort of microtransactions, with the added joy of random items. Over the last few years, EA has been questioned on whether or not random items are morally sensible for the company, since children are a large demographic for them. The jury is still out on that, which means EA would prefer to include it in a game like this. Of course.
At the time of writing, EA has not released any official info on when we can expect a release. Nor have they released any glimpses of what the game may look like. This won’t last long though. The game is headed to beta tester’s phones in the next few weeks. One way or another, we’ll get a look at it soon.