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EA is making a free-to-play Lord of the Rings RPG for mobile

Electronic Arts is stepping back into Middle-earth. The publisher has announced a free-to-play mobile game called The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth. The RPG is the first EA mobile title based on J.R.R. Tolkien's works. EA Capital Games is developing the game. The studio was behind another successful collectible mobile RPG in 2015's Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.

Heroes of Middle-earth will include characters from both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, along with collection systems, turn-based combat and "immersive storytelling." EA said in a press release that players will experience "iconic stories from the world of Tolkien and take up the fight against the great evils of Middle-earth." Unsurprisingly, given that this is a free-to-play mobile title, there will be microtransactions.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with The Saul Zaentz Company and Middle-earth Enterprises on the next generation of mobile role-playing games,” said EA's vice-president of mobile RPG Malachi Boyle said. “The team is filled with fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and each day they bring their tremendous passion and talents together to deliver an authentic experience for players. The combination of high-fidelity graphics, cinematic animations, and stylized art immerses players in the fantasy of Middle-earth where they’ll go head-to-head with their favorite characters.”

This will be EA's first LOTR title since 2009's The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, as Polygon notes. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, NetEase and Glu Mobile (which EA bought last year) are among the other publishers who have released mobile LOTR games.

EA expects to start limited regional beta tests of The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth this summer.

It's not the only major LOTR project scheduled to debut this year. Daedalic's action-adventure title The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is supposed to arrive in 2022. And then, of course, there's the small matter of Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series, which will premiere on September 2nd.

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