Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria Is a Survival Adventure

Dive into the depths of Middle-earth in a PC co-op treasure hunting video game.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
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Sean Keane
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Dwarves gather on stone steps in a shadowy mine, lit by a fire, in Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria

You play as a customizable dwarf character and can team up with up to eight players in Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria.

Free Range Games

Lord of the Rings fans will be able to explore Middle-earth's dwarven mines next spring, when survival crafting game Return to Moria launches on PC via the Epic Games Store. This original adventure sees you and your buddies leading a company of dwarves tasked with reclaiming the lost spoils of the creepy dark mines, as revealed in the first trailer during Summer Game Fest's Epic Games Summer Showcase on Friday.

The reveal by indie developer Free Range Games comes as fans gear up for blockbuster Amazon Prime Lord of the Rings prequel series The Rings of Power in September, and as EA works on free mobile collectible RPG game Heroes of Middle-earth. You might remember Moria as the location seen in trilogy opener Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf battled the fiery Balrog ("You shall not pass.").

In Return to Moria, your customizable dwarf character is summoned to the Misty Mountains by Gimli. You can go solo or team up with up to eight other players online to explore a procedurally generated Moria, which means your environment will change every time you play.

You'll battle plenty of yucky orcs on your journey, but will have to conserve resources, hunt and gather for food and manage your sleep, temperature and noise levels on your journey.

A trio orcs in a cave, lit by torchlight, in Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria

Orcs will impede your progress as you journey through Moria.

Free Range Games

The game also features a base building mechanic that plays into the narrative of restoring Moria to its former glory -- you reveal and clear new locations to create architecture "on a grand scale," the developer noted. You recover dwarven landmarks as the story progresses, and resurrect old mines to yield more resources that'll let you upgrade your weapons and armor.

However, enemies can wreck it all and destroy your progress -- you'll undoubtedly encounter some hardcore beasts as you venture deeper into Middle-earth's depths.

Free Range Games doesn't currently have any word about Return to Moria coming to any other platforms, it told CNET via email.

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