Netflix Acquires Upcoming ‘Lord of the Rings’ Project

As if Middle-earth wasn't spread thin enough, Netflix is now getting in on The Lord of the Rings franchise. On Tuesday, the streamer announced that it will host Tales of the Shire: A The Lord of the Rings Game. The game has been generating a lot of hype on other platforms, and now the mobile version will be available exclusively for Netflix subscribers.

Tales of the Shire is coming to the Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X and Steam this fall, with no specific release date just yet. On Tuesday, the Netflix logo appeared in the midst of all those iconic gaming companies on the game's website – a sign of the growing legitimacy of Netflix Games. The streamer offers premium mobile games with the cost of a Netflix subscription, allowing users to play right in the app and cut down on all the clutter and ads on their phone. From what we've learned so far, this game may push the boundaries of what mobile games can deliver.

Tales of the Shire is a simple life simulator game where players don't need to battle orcs or deliver magical rings to volcanoes – they just live out the idyllic life of a hobbit. You begin by creating your own home in a hillside just like Bilbo or Frodo Baggins, then filling it with all the amenities and comforts you want. The game includes farming, bartering and exploring, comparable to other life sim games such as Stardew Valley.

While this isn't an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's writing, it does give Netflix some skin in the game as other media companies battle for control of The Lord of the Rings intellectual property. Amazon famously paid a fortune for the rights to make The Rings of Power, but even then, they aren't allowed to use material from The Silmarillion. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is reviving the franchise with the animated movie The War of the Rohirrim coming later this year, and the live-action movie The Hunt for Gollum is planned for 2026.

For many fans, Tales of the Shire is probably the ideal way to spend more time in Middle-earth. The simple, quaint lives of hobbits in the Shire has always been a staple of the series, and extensive worldbuilding has always been Tolkien's strong suit. Many of the best narratives in his writing have already been fleshed out on screen, so any further spinoffs are likely to take a lot of creative liberties – for better or worse.

With this upcoming game, fans can create their own low-pressure stories day after day. Tales of the Shire will be released in the fall of 2024, though no exact release date has been planned yet. The mobile version of the game will be available exclusively through Netflix Games.