The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a survival-crafting game coming to PC in 2023

by Pierre Bell

Set during the Fourth Age of Middle-earth, also known as the Age of Men.

The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a survival-crafting game in the works, and it’s coming exclusively to PC upon release in spring 2023.

Announced during the Epic Games Summer Showcase, the game is in development at Free Range Games, known as both an in-house developer and an external studio. As the latter, it is currently working with Striking Distance Studios on The Callisto Protocol and previously worked on many of the levels in Oddworld: Soulstorm.

Set in the Misty Mountains during the rather peaceful Fourth Age of Middle-earth, this original adventure finds a company of dwarves setting out to reclaim the ancient subterranean complex of Moria. Long abandoned and overrun with all manner of evils and hordes of orcs, the company has been sent by none other than the lord of the Glittering Caves himself, Gimli of the House of Durin, to take back the Dwarven homeland and recover its lost spoils.

Controlling the dwarves, you will delve deep into the Mines of Moria to recover its treasures, and join forces to survive, craft, build, and explore all the Dwarrowdelf has to offer. But beware: mysterious dangers await, so be ever vigilant.

"We at Free Range Games are absolutely thrilled to finally reveal The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria,” said CEO Chris Scholz. "J.R.R. Tolkien and all of his creations within Middle-earth are near and dear to our hearts, and this project presents an amazing opportunity to create new experiences born from one of the greatest stories ever told.

"We are pouring a lot of passion into the game to give players an unforgettable experience.”

Before the journey begins, you will create your Dwarf using the custom character creator. Dwarves can be customized in a variety of ways, and during gameplay, you can further enhance your Dwarf's style with new and crafted gear.

Once in the game, you can mine to craft greater gear and resources, but just know that mining makes noise, and noise threatens to awaken the dangers below. You know what happened when Durin's folk delved too deep, right? So, who knows what awaits you in the darkest depths of Moria.

To survive, you must conserve resources, hunt, gather food, and manage your sleep, temperature, and noise levels. You will use the game’s dynamic light systems for safety and will need to reveal and clear new locations to create architecture. When building bases, you can do so from scratch or build upon the existing environment.

While striving to restore the long-lost kingdom to its former glory, you will come across various landmarks and resurrect old mines. You will rebuild the mines' ancient forges to strengthen, repair, and enchant gear while upgrading and unlocking new technologies and machines. Forges and crafting stations will allow you to convert ore to ingots and upgrade gear.

Ancient magical items can also be discovered, including swords that glow when orcs are near, maps of Mithril veins, books with forgotten crafting plans, and amulets that give strength or wisdom.

The game features a procedurally generated Dwarven realm, meaning no two adventures will be alike, and every expedition can be taken on either solo or online with up to eight companions.

Free Range Games said additional announcements and information on Return to Moria will be shared in the coming months.