The project was originally announced in September 2018 by Athlon and rights holder Middle-earth Enterprises.
Athlon said at the time it was working with a “partner developer” to create an online game set “long before the events of The Lord of the Rings, exploring lands, people and creatures never seen before by fans of the Tolkien universe”.
While a name and release date haven’t been revealed, Amazon Game Studios confirmed it will market and publish the title globally except for China, which will be managed by Leyou.
Amazon Game Studios VP Christoph Hartmann said: “Tolkien’s Middle-earth is one of the richest fictional worlds in history, and it gives our team of experienced MMO developers — from the same studio developing New World — tremendous opportunity to play and create.
“We have a strong leadership team in place to helm this new project, and we’re actively growing our team to help build this incredible experience.”
Amazon is also currently developing a new TV series based on The Lord of the Rings for Prime Video, although it says this is unrelated to the game.
Confirming a round of layoffs in June, Amazon Game Studios said it was reorganising some of its teams to prioritise development of sandbox MMO New World, third-person survival shooter Crucible and “new unannounced projects”.
It was subsequently reported Amazon may countenance its game development studios using third-party engines to bring projects to market following struggles with its proprietary Lumberyard software.