The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is survival-crafting game featuring procedurally generated environments in the form of the mines of Moria, many of which are totally dark.
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a 2023 survival-crafting video game developed by Free Range Games and published by North Beach Games set in the fictional world of Middle-earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is set during the Fourth Age of Middle-earth after the events of The Lord of the Rings and follows a company of dwarves as they try to retake their homeland Moria and restore the long-lost ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm.
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is survival-crafting game featuring procedurally generated environments in the form of the mines of Moria, many of which are totally dark. Players have to excavate resources such as iron, gold, quartz, gemstones and Mithril of three mountains and craft tools, weapons, armor, structures and resources. To survive, players must hunt and harvest food, manage their sleep, temperature, will and noise levels and battle orc hordes, cave trolls and other creatures that reside in dark areas. Players can also build bases, uncover various ancient items including swords that glow blue when orcs are nearby, maps, crafting plans and magic amulets, and recover old mines and rebuild forges and halls. They also encounter various pathways which are blocked off with runes. The game also deals with the history of the dwarves, the different dwarf clans and the effect of Sauron's death on the orcs and has been described as post-apocalyptic.
The dwarves can be widely customized using a custom character creator.
Next to the single-player mode one player can also host "their own Moria" to allow up to eight players to join an online cooperative multiplayer.
The game is licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises. The developer, California-based Free Range Games, was inspired by the games 7 Days to Die, Stranded Deep, Subnautica, Valheim and The Forest.
The team did extended research, held team book clubs and consulted with the Tolkien experts Corey Olsen, T. S: Luikart and David Salo, who also developed new Khuzdul phrases. They first assembled a small team of expressive concept artists, under art director Bradley Fulton to create 2D concept art. Game director Jon-Paul Dumont said, that they wanted the game to "recreate the grounded, real-world setting of Middle-earth" and that they "combined these two ideas: expressive character designs with realistic materials, lighting, and animation to create a world that feels real, inhabited by characters full of life." It also features a soundtrack of songs written and inspired by Tolkien.
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