Check out the final world map for Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria.


    If you’ve been keeping up with developer FreeRange Games’ upcoming base-building survival game set in JRR Tolkien’s historical universe, The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria, there’s a chance you’ve come across its world. An initial glimpse of the map was seen.

    However, it was not final. and now, Sports Informer can exclusively share a first look at the final map of Return to Moria in full detail, as well as two different variants. In the gallery below, you’ll find the last map in English, another in English with annotations, and the third in the Runic Alphabet language from The Lord of the Rings.

    Here’s your first look at the final map of the world in The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria:

    With this exclusive preview of the game’s maps, Sports Informer We spoke with Return to Moria’s art director about the game, its visuals, maps and more. Enjoy!

    Wesley LeBlanc of Game Informant: The mines of Maurya are quite famous. Even for non LOTR fans, I think they will recognize “The Mines of Moria” from the movies, memes, etc. I want to know what came first: Mines of Moria as a setting or as a base building survival game? And did one influence the other?

    Free Range Games, The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria Art Director Bradley Fulton:

    We knew from the beginning of this project that the game would be a cooperative multiplayer survival game set somewhere in the land of the Orient. Very quickly, we had the idea of ​​the Dwarves as the main characters – of all the races in Tolkien’s world, they were a natural fit. As hardworking and hardworking people, they pair well with a game centered around mining, crafting and building. There’s also a certain amount of goofy fun that emerges in any co-op multiplayer experience when you’re clowning around with your friends, and we didn’t want it to feel at odds with your characters. Although they have quite a tragic history, Dwarves are sometimes known to be a bit harsh, so this was also a good fit.

    Once we settled on dwarves, Moria immediately jumped out as the best setting in round four. In many ways, Mines of Moria is an actual dungeon crawl. It was a great opportunity to return to the source of inspiration for so many fantasy tropes, and setting it in the fourth era gives players a way to contribute to a beloved setting. We know what happens in Moria leading up to the events of the books, and in the appendices we learn how Moria’s story finally ends, but everything in between is a mystery. By placing The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria in this time frame, we ensure that players won’t know exactly what they might find, and their actions fill some of those gaps. can help.

    What was it like to design these maps? And on that note, what was it like making a game in this popular universe? I imagine creating anything new for one of the world’s most popular fantasy franchises is both challenging and exciting.

    Fulton: One of the most satisfying things about working within this universe is that it creates a shared creative language. The process of creating a completely original layout can sometimes be a struggle, as the team hammers out a vision from different perspectives that may not always align. In contrast, our team was buzzing with creative energy from the start. Everyone was excited for the chance to work within this universe, and they brought with them all their knowledge of the setting. You don’t need to explain what a Dwarf or Orc is – instead, you can spend this time learning about the subtle differences between Dwarven or Orcish tribes and their visual styles or What effect can this have on the narrative?

    It took over the map. The artist we worked with already had a deep knowledge of Middle-earth, so a brief was needed just to describe our goals. We wanted the map to feel like a hand-crafted model of the world it’s from, drawn by the Dwarves using the tools and knowledge of the world they have. Because of our artist’s familiarity with the setting, the rest of the content came naturally.

    Can you tell me a little about the process and how the team plans to make each “run” fun and unique?

    Fulton: As a procedural game location, Moria presents some interesting technical challenges. We knew that the game would have a large number of unique symbols, many of which would be quite familiar to players. Other locations were suggested by Tolkien but never actually shown in the narrative. These locations needed to be arranged in a west-to-east order that fit the player’s travel structure but was not so fixed in space that the path through them was the same every time. Turns out it’s more difficult than that.

    However, within this framework, there are multiple layers of gameplay derived from a random seed. Key resources, events, and challenges are never arranged exactly the same. Above all, we wanted to make sure that even if you’ve completed the main story, when you go to a friend’s world, it’s different enough that your quest still feels fresh. Do it.

    We’ve seen Gimli mentioned – can LOTR fans recognize any other familiar faces or names in the game?

    Fulton: Even before the events of Trinity, certain members of the Fellowship were known to go into the long darkness of Moria. For now, all I can say is that they may have left some traces of their demise.

    Moria also holds many mysteries of the dwarves. Balan’s doomed campaign left its mark throughout the dark halls, and the kings of the Drainline feature prominently in the story.

    Can you tell me a bit about combat and how it works and plays?

    Fulton: One of the core principles of our design is that Dwarven power comes from craft. We wanted to make sure that it was players’ efforts to build ever more powerful gear that drove their success in survival, including combat. To that end, we worked hard to make the fundamentals of combat like dodging, blocking, charging attacks, etc. feel satisfying. However, as the challenge increases, players need to think more about their weapon choices and ways to upgrade them to solve the different problems each new enemy presents.

    Where does Moria return in the LOTR timeline?

    Fulton: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of Moria takes place approximately 50 years after the events of the trilogy and the defeat of Sauron. At the beginning of the Fourth Age, Middle-earth has begun to heal, but shadows still linger in some dark corners of the world.

    For the uninitiated, The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a survival crafting game set in the Fourth Age of Middle-earth. Summoned to the Misty Mountains by Lord Jemli Lockbearer, players take control of a company of dwarves tasked with retrieving the lost goods of their dwarven homeland of Moria. The realm is procedurally generated and can be played alone or with up to eight players online.

    The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria hits PlayStation 5 on October 24. The Xbox Series X/S version is due sometime in early 2024. A physical PS5 version will hit retail on December 5th.


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