I’ve never been to New Zealand, much less to the preserved set of Hobbiton from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies in the real town of Matamata. But until I actually pull off that globe-trotting trip, Tales of the Shire, a new game from Private Division and Wētā Workshop, might tide me over.
Private Division announced Tales of the Shire today in a brief teaser trailer, featuring a desk full of tools and curios, and many glimpses of cute art of Hobbits, Hobbit holes, farms, and Shire locations like Bywater and the Green Dragon inn. “Your cosy Hobbit life awaits in Tales of the Shire,” declares the YouTube video description.
Tales appears to be the previously announced but untitled collaboration between Private Division’s parent company Take-Two Interactive and Wētā Workshop’s new in-house video games division. That would make it one of five upcoming Lord of the Rings-based games rights-holder Embracer Group announced this year.
Speaking on the company’s collaboration with Take-Two in a 2022 news release, Wētā head Amie Wolken said “It’s a privilege to create a new game set in Middle-earth, especially one that’s so different from what fans have played previously. As fans ourselves, we’re excited for gamers to explore Middle-earth in a way they never have before, and introduce new fans to the magic of The Lord of the Rings.”
So, other than “different from what fans have played previously,” and “your cosy Hobbit life awaits,” there’s no true confirmation of exactly what the gameplay of Tales of the Shire will be. Could it be a farm sim? Social sim? Adventure game? A mix of any of these or more? Yet it’s safe to say that a cozy game about Hobbits in the Shire is enough to gather attention — who would turn up their nose at a bit of second breakfast and a walk in the peaceful countryside of Middle-earth?
According to today’s announcement, Wētā and Private Division are planning a 2024 release for Tales of the Shire on consoles and PC.