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First Tales of the Shire trailer reveals a life sim set in Tolkien’s most Hobbity pastures


Perhaps you are fatigued by orcs and swords. Maybe you yearn for a simple life of bucolic betterment to recover from your addiction to spicy wedding bands but still fear to stray too far from your beloved fantasy franchise. Oh look, it’s Tales of the Shire, a game set in Middle-earth which features not a single ounce of stabbing nor – as far as I can tell – any gigantic spiders at all. It’s a life sim about building a home in Hobbiton and keeping up with the Proudfeet. Maybe you will also get to lie around getting totally blazed on halfling reefer. Although I did not spot that in this hearthful new trailer.

Tales of the Shire was but we didn’t know much about it aside from the setting and the name. Edwin’s gut feeling about Hobbiton being an “obvious choice for some kind of slice-of-lifey farming simulation” seems to have hit the mark, at least in part. We see plenty of growing, foraging and friend-making in the above trailer.

From the accompanying notes, it does sound familiar to any Sims or Dreamlight Valley player. You’ll design your own Hobbit, furnish their home, go fishing, gather ingredients, do gardening, make pies, and throw folky festivals that will put the village of Bywater on the big, tea-stained map. Though I don’t know exactly when you’ll do all this; the release date is simply “later this year”.

“Tales of the Shire brings a cosy new dimension to the way fans can experience Middle-earth,” says Kelly Tyson, Head of Product at Wētā Workshop, the studio behind the game.

You can see why she wants to emphasise the cosiness. Lord of the Rings games have traditionally focused on bashing goblins and waging jewellry war. The closest many of us have come to “cosy” in Tolkien-based vidyagames was buddying up with delinquent Uruk-hai in the Shadow of Mordor series. Tales of the Shire looks to be promoting a more orthodox approach to friendship, letting you “build relationships with the Bywater locals by helping them to
build a garden, sharing one of the many daily Hobbit meals, and more.” No branding Hobbit faces with your magical burning hand then. Probably for the best.

There has been a smattering of Lord of the Rings games recently, including the and the subterranean survive ’em up Return To Moria, which Alice B thought was a little janky but also “full of love and pretty reveals” in her .

The settlement of Bywater – I am reminded by – is a village of thatched-roof houses that features in The Hobbit. It is here that Bilbo Baggins meets his dwarven pals in the Green Dragon Inn and they all get shatterblasted on pints of fermented grass or something. Look, I don’t know, I’ve never actually read Tolkien. I’ve never read anything.