The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is “..the only survival crafting game set in the fourth age of Middle-Earth”.
Yes, that’s how is being pitched and it makes our brains hurt just to think about it. Did someone ask for this? We’re big Lord of the Rings fans but we’ve never really thought “You know what the Tolkein-verse needs?” A survival crafting game, that’s what.
But strangely, the more we watch Return to Moria’s trailer, the more we’re actually looking forwards to digging into it. It resembles an underground version of Valheim, with your dwarves mining, refining, crafting and ultimate expanding their territory. This being Moria, you’ll have to deal with orcs and the like invading, which is where the survival aspect comes in.
Yes, they’re still around, even though the Fourth Age takes place after the events of the Lord of the Rings movies. The good news is that with Gandalf having taken care of Moria’s Balrog, that beast shouldn’t turn up.
Your long-term goal is to restore Moria to its former glory, as a dwarven kingdom, though that seems like a mammoth ask. The good new is that you’ll be able to enlist the help of other human players in The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria’s co-op mode. Making the characters dwarves is a smart move as they, at least, have a reason to be mining away.
The realm of Moria is procedurally generated so you should be able to get plenty of playtime out of it, though you’ll still have to wait a while to dive in. The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is pencilled in for a Spring release on PC, arriving via the Epic Game Store.