‘Hard to watch’: Wētā Workshop’s new LOTR video game is getting absolutely roasted
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‘Hard to watch’: Wētā Workshop’s new LOTR video game is getting absolutely roasted

From "absolutely awful" to "really unappealing", fans aren't stoked.

Gamers aren’t impressed with the first look at a new video game about building a humble life as a Hobbit. 

The first official trailer for ‘Tales Of The Shire’, a ‘Lord Of The Rings’ video game made by New Zealand’s Wētā Workshop and Take-Two, the parent company of the creators of ‘Grand Theft Auto’, dropped today.

It’s not about fighting off evil Middle Earth forces but rather about creating a comfortable life for yourself. You play as a Hobbit and interact with the town of Bywater - fishing, foraging, and farming for food, interacting with fellow hobbits and customising your Hobbit hole. It’s in the same genre as ‘Sims’, ‘Animal Crossing’, or ‘Stardew’. 

It’s a game that fans of the ‘cosy’ genre have been begging for - how good does sipping a beer overlooking the Shire after a long day tending to crops sound? But reception online has been brutal towards the game’s graphics. 

“I wanted Hobbit Life Sim 3000, but I wanted it to look better than the 17-year-old ‘LotRO’ (MMO game ‘Lord Of The Rings Online’),” wrote one person on the r/LOTR subreddit. “The landscape has a cute art style, but the character models and animations are so incredibly ugly.”

“This looks absolutely awful,” someone in the r/Games subreddit said. “The art design is ugly and the PC skipping around all the time is just hard to watch. Maybe I'm just way outside the target demo, despite liking similar games. I dunno, but wow, what a bummer.”

It should be noted that the trailer is using alpha gameplay footage - meaning that it’s not the final product being shown and the real game’s graphics should be improved. But many times a game’s trailer has been similar to the finished product. 

“I want to love it because the Shire is my favourite place in 'LOTR', but the graphics aren’t doing it for me,” a third Redditor added. “Hopefully they improve that before release.”

“Ew… this looks really unappealing,” one more said. “The bland but still somehow horrible art style, the Sims-like animations, the empty landscape, the same stale fishing, cooking and walking around. I had such high hopes.”

There’s no official release date yet, just a late 2024 timeframe. Until then we won’t know if the graphics get improved or if they’ll even matter, Tetris and Snake are beloved games and the graphics are intentionally simple. 

It may be too patriotic of me but I’m backing Wētā to drop a banger of a game.