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Fellowship of Fans > Exclusives  > Everything We Know About The ‘Tales of the Shire’ Game So Far

Everything We Know About The ‘Tales of the Shire’ Game So Far

“Tales of the Shire” is an upcoming video game that has excited fans of both the gaming world and the Tolkien community. Developed by Wētā Workshop, the renowned New Zealand-based special effects and prop company known for its work on “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” film trilogies, in collaboration with the game publisher Private Division. “Tales of the Shire” promises to offer a unique and enchanting experience set in the beloved world of hobbits, second breakfast and epic quests.

We also had the delightful opportunity to talk with lead producer of “Tales of the Shire”, Calliope Ryder who delved a little bit more into what we can expect later this year.

Though, what do we know so far about the “Tales of the Shire”?

The game was first announced in September 2023 and is slated to be released later this year.  However, as of now, the game is still in development and a specific release date has not been confirmed.

“Tales of the Shire” takes place and is of course set in The Shire but more specifically in the quaint and cozy town of Bywater where players will help and be tasked with flourishing and growing the village to hopefully become an official village in Hobbiton. The game focuses on the serene and pastoral aspects of hobbit life in the Shire.

Tales of the Shire: A The Lord of The Rings™ Game on Steam

While specific gameplay mechanics and detailed features have yet to be fully disclosed, “Tales of the Shire” is expected to include role-playing and elements of life simulation. With your Hobbit character, players will likely be able to engage in a plethora activities synonymous with Hobbits, just like we saw in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films and books, such as farming, crafting, cooking, and interacting with other hobbits as the trailer showcased. The game is set on the backdrop of a cozy and relaxing atmosphere, encouraging players to explore the Shire, participate in its community, and enjoy the simple pleasures of Hobbit life.

This April an official announcement trailer was released that provided a glimpse into the game’s charming world.

You can check it out here:

Exclusive Interview with “Tales of the Shire” Lead Producer Calliope Ryder

Q. First off, congratulations! The teaser trailer for your new game has been released and has been out now for the last couple weeks, how are you feeling? 

Thank you! It’s been really exciting, and honestly very relieving to finally be able to talk a bit about what we’re making here! I’ve been working on Tales of the Shire in secret for 2 and a half years and it’s been hard keeping a lid on this long – and some of our team have been working on this even longer, so we’re all very pleased to be able to show our friends and family (and Tolkien fans) what we’re up to.

Q. How did the team decide on the art style and direction for “Tales of the Shire”?

Stephen Lambert, our Art Director, has a long history with Tolkien’s works and has been at Wētā Workshop for 20 years – so he’s had a lot of experience tackling different moods and themes in The Lord of the Rings universe. I’d let him wax lyrical about the meaning behind the decisions, but our overall dream for Tales of the Shire was to be an idyllic, childlike return to Middle-earth. We aimed to offer a version of this world that contrasts with the “grimdark” Middle-earth that Tolkien fans have seen before – capturing the lighter writing tone found in “The Hobbit” when compared to the more serious “The Lord of the Rings” — so that players can experience a recognisable shift in atmosphere, just like readers of the books.

Q. What makes “Tales of the Shire” unique among other video games in the same genre and previous Middle-earth games?

I can’t say too much on this note just yet! I do feel like the trailer speaks to this however – it’s clearly very cosy and secluded, whereas many Middle-earth titles tend towards heavier themes, combat, and adventure. I believe a famous Hobbit once called adventures nasty, disturbing things, and Tales of the Shire is much more concerned about not being late for dinner that it is in any of that business!

Q. How do you balance storytelling with gameplay in “Tales of the Shire”?

Unfortunately, I can’t say much on this one yet without giving away gameplay – but fans can expect more info coming soon!

Q. What is your personal favourite feature about Hobbits and their character that appeals to you the most?

Hobbits are wonderful creatures that live in the most secluded, rural areas — yet somehow have more of the finer things in life than any other area or race in Middle-earth! Bilbo continuously grumbling about missing his pantry, his armchair, singing kettle, and his silk handkerchiefs in The Hobbit brings me a lot of joy. Whether it’s hard work to make a lovely loaf of bread, or throwing an excellent party, or growing the largest pumpkin, Hobbits really do put their efforts into a life well lived and well enjoyed. The other aspect I adore is how well they represent small rural communities that are connected to nature in a very grounded, practical sort of way. Coming from Aotearoa New Zealand myself, my childhood was spent connected to rural communities and farms — hand-rearing calves and feeding chickens before I was much taller than them – and of course, eavesdropping on gossip that small, tightknit communities peddle in droves. Hobbits are gossipy and rather petty, whilst simultaneously deeply caring for their community, and I absolutely love it. I think we could all use life being a bit more Hobbit-y at the moment.

Q. Was there any inspiration or themes from Tolkien’s works that you applied to your game?

Our game is absolutely based on the books, and Tolkien has given us a lot to work with! I’d say we’ve heavily leaned on the theme of Fellowship in particular. Fellowship is a constant in any of Tolkien’s works, and Fellowship and Community are at the heart of Tales of the Shire.

Q. Will there be any customisable traits for your own Hobbit character?

I think you could probably extrapolate this answer from the trailer – but I can’t directly say yet!

Q. What’s your favourite or most moving moment in a Tolkien book and why? (Could be any book)

I initially read The Lord of the Rings when I was about eight, and unsurprisingly, a lot of it went over my head. In strong contrast to all of the heart-warming favourites I’ve mentioned before, the part that stayed with me word for word from that first reading (through an eight year old’s eyes) was the moment in The Fellowship of the Ring where they come across the Book of Mazarbul. Gandalf reading the repeated lines of “We cannot get out. They are coming. They are coming” in the dwarves’ last entry – and then the same scenario playing out to our new heroes – was some of my first experience of horror. I was completely fascinated and absolutely terrified by it, and it influences my preferences in horror to this day.

Q. Can you maybe hint at the possibility of any Easter eggs or hidden secrets in “Tales of the Shire” for eagle-eyed Tolkien fans to expect and discover?

They can’t be Easter eggs if I spoil them! However, I can say that the people on this team are incredibly knowledgeable about the lore and have baked their love of it into the game – so the more fans know about Middle-earth, the more they’ll notice and appreciate little references and hints in Tales of the Shire.

Q. How do you plan to support “Tales of the Shire” post-launch with updates and patches?

Currently, the team is completely focussed on launching the game – one step at a time! We’re really hoping that we can share more of the Shire with cosy Tolkien fans for a long time.

Q. People have been making comparisons to Stardew Valley & Animal Crossing in regards to game style. But for you personally, what is the best way to explain the mechanisms of this game?

This one is still under wraps, but I’m really excited to share more here in the near future. I would say our priority for Tales of the Shire has always been to embody the life of a Hobbit, and not all the genre tropes in those titles necessarily fit into the Shire.

Q. Onto next steps now, do you have any idea on when we will see a gameplay trailer of sorts?

I do! And alas, I once again can’t say – but fans won’t be waiting for too long…


Calliope Ryder @callioperyder & @talesoftheshire on X where you can expect more updates!

So it looks like we could potentially be expecting something on the horizon which is very exciting!

The “Tales of the Shire”, a heart-warming new The Lord of the Rings™ game releases this year.

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I’m Harry the creator and manager of Fellowship of Fans and my first introduction to Tolkien was unsurprisingly through my father reading me the Hobbit when I was very young. Being able to grow FoF into a wider and uplifting community is a privilege.

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