The world of Middle Earth is preparing to welcome gamers back with open arms. Free Range Games recently announced “The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria,” a highly-anticipated title set to release on October 24. Following the somewhat disappointing release of “The Lord of the Rings: Gollum,” fans have high hopes that “Return to Moria” will bring the richness and depth they crave.
Set in the Fourth Age of Middle Earth, a full 70 years after the events of “The Return of the King,” the game focuses on a daring group of Dwarves. Their mission? To reclaim Moria, their ancestral homeland. “The narrative centers on a bold group of Dwarves, determined to reclaim their ancestral home in Moria,” according to the game’s developers.
What makes “Return to Moria” stand out is its robust survival crafting experience. Players can look forward to customizing their very own Dwarf character. You can choose to venture alone or in a fellowship of up to eight players. “Resource management intertwines with exploration,” said the developers, introducing an extra layer of challenge as players must navigate obstacles like hunger and sanity.
John Rhys-Davies, the actor behind the iconic Gimli in the film adaptations, lends his voice to narrate the game. “This familiar fan-beloved face is sure to be a treat,” the developers noted. To ensure the game stays true to Tolkien’s vision, scholar Corey Olsen has been serving in an advisory role. He will help deepen the explorations of Dwarven lore and integrate some of the lesser-known tales within Tolkien’s expansive universe.
One intriguing feature is the game’s procedurally generated map. Each playthrough promises a fresh and unpredictable experience, encouraging players to fortify their positions and build bases as they delve deeper into Moria.
While PlayStation 5 users can anticipate a physical edition hitting the shelves on December 5, those on the Xbox Series S/X will have to wait until early next year for their version. Though the reason for the delay is unclear, it seems that Xbox users might have a different gameplay experience, similar to what happened with “Baldur’s Gate 3” and “Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections.”
As the second Lord of the Rings game released this year, “Return to Moria” carries the weight of fan expectations. Yet, with its innovative gameplay, adherence to lore, and the participation of franchise veterans, this new title appears poised to deliver a memorable gaming adventure in the depths of Moria.