I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole. Diggy diggy hole.
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moira

You know what The Lord of the Rings needs? It needs an open-world survival crafting game. This, at least, was the thought by Free Range Games and North Beach games. These studios just announced The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria today during the Epic Games Summer Showcase.

In The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria, you will follow the Dwarves of Middle-earth as they "embark on an original adventure to reclaim and restore their Dwarven homeland of Moria." Players are summoned to the Misty Mountains by Lord Gimli Lockbearer. How deep of a hole are you willing to dig to return to a place you can call "home?"

This title will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store when it launches in Spring 2023. Given that phrasing "when it launches" could indicate that it will hit other PC services at a later date, but who knows.

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The story of The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria takes players beyond the books and into the Fourth Age of Middle-earth, the fantastical world created by J.R.R. Tolkien. Summoned to the Misty Mountains by Lord Gimli Lockbearer, players take control of a company of Dwarves tasked to reclaim the lost spoils from the Dwarven homeland of Moria—known as Khazad-dûm or Dwarrowdelf—in the depths below their very feet. Their quest will require fortitude, delving deep into the Mines of Moria to recover its treasures. Players will join forces to survive, craft, build and explore the iconic, sprawling mines. Courageous expeditioners will need to be vigilant as mysterious dangers await.

The game offers endless experiences by featuring a procedurally generated Dwarven realm of Moria, so no two adventures will be alike, and every expedition is traversable either solo or online with companions. Players can mine to craft greater gear and resources, but beware, mining makes noise, and noise created in the quiet deep threatens to awaken the dangers below: where there’s clatter, there’s combat. Excavate the mysteries of three legendary mountains, extract precious metals, scrape to survive, and battle unspeakable forces to learn the secret of the Shadow that lurks within.

The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria Key Game Features:
  • Feel the Fellowship: Experience the Fellowship of the Dwarves like never before, with the rich lore of the iconic fantasy world from J.R.R. Tolkien interwoven into the very fabric of The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria.
  • Survive the Dark: To survive the treacherous Mines of Moria players must conserve resources, hunt, and gather for food and manage their sleep, temperature, and noise levels. Utilize dynamic light systems for safety and to blaze a path further into the darkness. Battle unspeakable evils and survive hordes of monstrous Orcs in visceral combat, while uncovering the secret of the Shadow that looms within the mountain.
  • Base Building: Find solace from the darkness. Reveal and clear new locations to create architecture on a grand scale. Get creative and construct bases from scratch or build upon the existing environment. Beware the evils which seek to destroy Dwarven progress.
  • Rebuild and Reshape Moria: Restore the long-lost ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm to its former glory, recovering Dwarven landmarks as the story progresses. Resurrect old mines and refire their forges to yield their untouched resources.
  • Explore: Delve into the depths of the Mines of Moria. Procedurally generated environments are abundant with resources and fraught with mystery and danger, providing a unique experience each and every time.
  • Co-op Multiplayer: Adventure alone or band together with friends in online cooperative multiplayer with up to eight players.
  • Craft Dwarven Tools, Weapons and More: Craft and loot legendary Dwarven armor, tools, weapons and structures. Rebuild ancient forges to strengthen, repair and enchant gear. Upgrade and unlock new technologies and fantastical machines.
  • Uncover Magic Artifacts: Discover ancient magic items including swords that glow when Orcs are near, maps of long-dormant Mithril veins, books with forgotten crafting plans and amulets that give strength or wisdom.
  • Mine Ore and Jewels: Establish mines to unearth deposits of precious resources such as iron, gold, and quartz; and fantastical materials such as Mithril. Access crafting stations and forges to convert ore to ingots and upgrade gear. But be prepared, mining is loud and can awaken what lurks in the darkness.
  • Comprehensive Dwarf Builder: Players become part of Dwarven Legend as they create their own Dwarf in the custom character creator. Dwarves can be customized in a variety of ways to create a unique Dwarven identity. Then, during gameplay, players can find and craft armor and weapons to further enhance their unique style.