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The Marquis de Leech

LOTR prequel TV series 2.0

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7 hours ago, Fez said:

Not sure if it'll have any bearing on the TV show, but Amazon announced today that it cancelled its planned LOTR MMORPG following a contract dispute with Tencent (who had bought the game studio that was making the game): https://www.ign.com/articles/amazon-cancels-its-the-lord-of-the-rings-mmorpg

Apparently the MMORPG was also going to be a prequel, but I don't know if Amazon ever announced if there was supposed to be any shared fiction or continuity between the game and the show. Or if it was going to be something entirely different. If there was going to be any sort of Quantum Break-level connectedness I assume that would've leaked though.

I suspect someone might have quietly told Amazon if they wanted an MMORPG to tie-in with the TV show, they'd have needed to have started work on it about six years ago and there was absolutely 0 chance of getting it to launch alongside the show (and maybe not even until it was over).

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3 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I suspect someone might have quietly told Amazon if they wanted an MMORPG to tie-in with the TV show, they'd have needed to have started work on it about six years ago and there was absolutely 0 chance of getting it to launch alongside the show (and maybe not even until it was over).

Amazon announced their New World MMO in 2016, a game that's set to open this year (maybe). I don't think this scenario is likely.

 

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1 minute ago, Ran said:

Amazon announced their New World MMO in 2016, a game that's set to open this year (maybe). I don't think this scenario is likely.

The TV show project wasn't even on the radar until late 2017 and the Second Age idea doesn't seem to have been settled on until 2018, so with the show expected to air in 2022, there was absolutely no time to create a video game of almost any kind (bar a mobile game, perhaps) to tie in with its launch.

If they were planning a general LotR MMORPG that was not tied into the TV show, that's another thing, but there's already an extremely popular Middle-earth MMORPG that's been running for many years with a dedicated fanbase, so that's completely redundant.

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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

If they were planning a general LotR MMORPG that was not tied into the TV show, that's another thing, but there's already an extremely popular Middle-earth MMORPG that's been running for many years with a dedicated fanbase, so that's completely redundant.

I mean, it's not actually extremely popular. Google tells me it has a population of maybe 78000 players, anywhere from a 10th to a 30th of actually popular games.

But that aside, my point is that I don't think Amazon was unaware of the time it takes to make a game. They've been working away for years on their original IP, they definitely know it takes a long time. I suspect the cancellation are genuinely over contract issues (probably related to concerns following Tencent taking over the company) and they may reannounce the project down the line.

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3 minutes ago, Ran said:

I mean, it's not actually extremely popular. Google tells me it has a population of maybe 78000 players, anywhere from a 10th to a 30th of actually popular games.

With the massive division of the MMORPG market, that's not actually too bad. World of WarCraft is still the big beast, Final Fantasy XIVElder Scrolls Online and The Old Republic are all still doing reasonably well (FF14 has mega-popular spikes as well) and LotR Online is a bit below that but still reasonably profitable. It has a very dedicated and long-running fanbase and it still releasing new expansions and material.

MMORPGs are simply not what they used to be in terms of overall popularity though, whilst being even more expensive and time-consuming to develop than they used to be, so I'm surprised Amazon is even thinking about entering the space.

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

The TV show project wasn't even on the radar until late 2017 and the Second Age idea doesn't seem to have been settled on until 2018, so with the show expected to air in 2022, there was absolutely no time to create a video game of almost any kind (bar a mobile game, perhaps) to tie in with its launch.

If they were planning a general LotR MMORPG that was not tied into the TV show, that's another thing, but there's already an extremely popular Middle-earth MMORPG that's been running for many years with a dedicated fanbase, so that's completely redundant.

Amazon Games was created in 2012. In all that time, other than mobile and Facebook games, they've released 2 games, which were both terrible, and canceled 3 other announced games. They have spent a lot of money, but are seemingly very poorly run. To the point that they clearly are not logically planning things.

That said, they had two (now one) known games in the pipeline. The MMO called New World, which was announced in 2016, was originally supposed to release in May 2020 and is now supposed to release this summer. And the LOTR MMO, which was announced in July 2019 and was canceled yesterday. That's right, they were working on 2 MMOs at once, which seems like a terrible idea for several reasons.

Anyway, July 2019 was the same month that Amazon announced the TV showrunners and the creative team. Maybe a coincidence, but it's not a stretch to think Amazon was planning some synergy between the game and TV show. And, since at this point they were 3 years into development of their other MMO, and still thinking it would release in 1 more year, they might very well have assumed the LOTR MMO would release by 2023. Which would be around season 3 of the show, and likely when it's at the height of its popularity.

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15 hours ago, Werthead said:

I think they'll completely obscure the century-long span of Seasons 1-2 and several centuries of Seasons 3-5 into a timespan allowing the same human characters to take part across multiple seasons. Though they can't escape the massive time jump in the middle (in the books, the events span 1,700 years).

They could easily ignore the entire time jump if they wanted to. Pharazôn could be a contemporary of Celebrimbor and Sauron could be captured by Númenor shortly after the destruction of Eregion.

Of course, that would be a massive change ... but so what? They could do it, if they wanted to.

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Yeah, people who're a tiny bit into Tolkien and into MMO are already in LOTRO. I don't see how a 99% fan-fiction MMO in the Second Age could interest them more, however better the gameplay might be (and I wouldn't expect it to be better).

 

21 hours ago, Werthead said:

I think we did this a while back, but now how I'm seeing the story breakdown, given we apparently have 5x 8-episode seasons to work with:

  • Season 1: Celebrimbor and Eregion, Annatar, the forging of the Rings of Power. Presumably a story with the new characters getting involved in these events. The One Ring being forged is the Season 1 cliffhanger.

For maximum effect - since most people who will watch this won't be aware of his identity -, it would be best if Annatar is never revealed as Sauron the Dark Lord until he actually forges the One Ring and says the famous verses. We might possibly be aware of Sauron as a faraway and not too threatening menace, but the reveal should come as a shock to the bulk of the audience.

Since Numenor was a sizable part of the armies that defeated Sauron's onslaught against the Elves, I wouldn't be surprised if the entire timeline was crunched to something like 2 centuries. Of course, Ar-Pharazon shouldn't be alive even as a toddler by the time of the war, he should be born decades later, so that Sauron can fade from memories, the way big wars of the past fade from later generations (be it Napoleon or even growingly WWII nowadays). But Numenor being already a power at the time of the war for the rings, it makes sense to enable them to benefit from Sauron's withdrawal as soon as he's defeated and have them opening shop all over Middle-Earth shores in the next century.

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Interesting, the third and final director for Season 1 is French-Swedish director Charlotte Brandstrom. She's been nominated for Emmies and has directed episodes of The WitcherColonyOutlanderMadam Secretary and Wallander, among many others.

She follows J.A. Bayona (who directed episodes 1-2) and Wayne Yip (who is directing episodes 3-6 at the moment), so she'll presumably be directing episodes 7 and 8.

With at least the last two episodes still to shoot, I think the chances of this launching in 2021 are almost gone now and this will now be an early 2022 launch.

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Posted (edited)

https://www.cbr.com/amazon-studio-boss-lord-of-the-rings-465-million-budget/amp/

Amazon Studios Boss Justifies Lord of the Rings' $465M Price Tag

Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke explains why Season 1 of the Lord of the Rings series will cost nearly half a billion dollars.

Jennifer Salke seems to have confirmed in an interview with Hollywood Reporter that the $465 million budget is actually for season 1 of Amazon's LotR prequel:


https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/hollywood-top-female-executives-1234950963/

Quote

Jen, there were reports about Lord of the Rings, which put the first-season budget at $465 million — making it the most expensive series ever. What does that price tag say about the market today, and how well will it need to do to justify that price tag?

SALKE The market is crazy, as you saw with the Knives Out deal. [Netflix paid $469 million for two sequels.] This is a full season of a huge world-building show. The number is a sexy headline or a crazy headline that’s fun to click on, but that is really building the infrastructure of what will sustain the whole series. But it is a crazy world and various people on this Zoom, mostly Bela and me, have been in bidding situations where it starts to go incredibly high. There’s a lot of wooing and we have to make decisions on where we want to stretch and where we want to draw the line. As for how many people need to watch Lord of the Rings? A lot. (Laughs.) A giant, global audience needs to show up to it as appointment television, and we are pretty confident that that will happen

 

Edited by Krishtotter

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That sounds like they're building a whole mess of sets and the like, and amortizing the cost over several planned seasons (and doubtless spin-offs are in the works). Sort of how like the first episode of Boardwalk Empire cost north of $20 million, all because of the massive Atlantic City boardwalk they built that was used throughout the rest of the series.

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Yeah, Reuters did report a while back that "almost" $500 million was the planned spend for the first two seasons.

If it was for one season, the per-episode cost would be $60 million. That's four times the budget-per-episode of GoT in its final season. At that point it would be a matter of what the hell are you actually spending the money on in an hour? Movie-grade CGI, maybe, but I'm assuming they're not going to have movie levels of post production time (otherwise don't expect to see this show until late 2022 or 2023), which limits the cost there.

Adjusted for inflation, the LotR movie trilogy was $45 million per hour.

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Posted (edited)

Well, the io9 article on it says about $250 million for building out the world -- i presume sets -- that will be used for the whole series.  Season two would likely have a budget of $200 million.  That's still $25 million per episode.  Presumably that's the budget for season one episodes too, with the multi-year sets not counted in that.

They have to do all that and more that Jackson did for LOTR's' 10 hours or so world-building -- but perhaps for 4K video.  Wouldn't be surprised if there was some tech developing for new techniques to film this, with virtual sets like the Mandalorian, but next level to that.

Edited by SpaceChampion

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I can only imagine how bonkers the sets are going to be, either practical or digital. My hopes are high.

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2 minutes ago, Ser Drewy said:

Helm Hammerhand is apparently getting an anime 

 

Wow, that makes my old Eorling heart take a leap. Hope they work in some alliterative verse in the middle of battles.

 

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I feel like if this turns out half decent we are going to get a nice precedent for the ASoIaF Anime I always hoped for...

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"untold story"?
Yes, exactly. So now they're basically just putting out mediocre fan-fiction?

 

Shit, if they can make all that shit merely based on LOTR rights that were sold decades ago, without any additional deal with the Tolkien Estate, then US copyright system is even more fucked up than I thought.

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