Okay, so he's not (I don't think) going to be in the full game, and if he is it won't be loads, but hearing John Rhys-Davies doing his Gimli voice over the trailer for Dwarf mining survival sim The Lord Of The Rings: Return To Moria is enough to warm the cockles of your 2001 self's heart, isn't it? Coming in that old favourite release window of "fall 2023", Free Range Games' Dwarf 'em up brought its first gameplay trailer to Summer Game Fest tonight, and we saw not only some examples of the building you can do on your quest to - hear me out - Return To Moria, but also the monsters that can emerge from the deep to stop you doing it.
I've said before that I'm quietly stoked for this game, and I remain so. Survival business isn't normally my thing, because I can't be arsed with all that managing food and exhaustion stuff. It's hard enough doing that in real life. But co-op survival I can maybe get behind, especially when it comes in a LotR-y package. If you weren't aware, Moria used to be a big special home for the Dwarves until they famously "dug too greedily and too deep", so I'm sure nothing bad can come of you going back in there to do the same. Oh wait, look, the trailer has a big spider and a troll and some sort of tentacled monstrosity...
Luckily it also shows a Dwarf doing a combat roll and firing a crossbow - plus you can build watch towers, and of course part of the point of mining is to set up an armoury and smith your own armour and weapons, right? That's where we get the survival crafting from. But mostly I'm excited to hit rocks in time with someone else, possibly while singing a good Dwarf song.
Part of the joy of this is that all the press releases have phrases like "Comprehensive Dwarf Builder", which is otherwise known as "creating your own custom character". Return To Moria also has a bunch of stuff like dynamic light systems to use to create safe(r) areas, base building, and, obviously, a shitload of mining. Get it. Get that ore. Look out for this sometime in fall this year, whenever that is, when it'll be coming to consoles too.
NotE3 and Summer Game Fest 2023 is over for another year. You can find out all the latest news by visiting our E3 2023 hub, or you can catch up with our round-up posts of everything that was announced at Summer Game Fest, the Xbox Games Showcase, the PC Gaming Show, Day Of The Devs, and our top highlights from the Wholesome Direct.