‘Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System Reduced On Current-Gen

Published 1 year ago by

Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor Current Gen Differences

As the wave of next-gen promises begins to crash upon the gaming community, developers promising better graphics and faster processing are appearing at every turn. But these days it’s not enough to simply be a looker – you have to have a hook. The developers of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor have one sure to turn a few heads, and it isn’t the hit-or-miss Lord of the Rings fiction providing its backdrop.

Monolith may not have experience in a third-person, fantasy RPG setting, but the studio has certainly come up with an interesting twists on standard open world gameplay by giving the game’s villains every bit as much customization and detail as the hero. It’s a shame, then, that the developers have confirmed that those elements are the ones that will have to be dialed back for current-gen platforms.

It’s an understatement to say that the Lord of the Rings license hasn’t had as consistent a level of success in video games as it has on the big screen. So when Monolith first announced Shadow of Mordor, it was understandable to see them highlighting the game as a dark, mature, and previously-unexplored original tale told in Tolkien’s fiction. But it was the studio’s Nemesis System – promising to shape not just the story, but the villains themselves according to player decisions – that seemed the most compelling hook.

Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor Orc Nemesis

The developers later released a detailed walkthrough video showing how such an abstract idea would actually be put into practice. We would encourage any fan of RPGs to watch the video for themselves, but in short, the player will encounter several of Sauron’s ‘Black Captains’ throughout the campaign, free to leave scars, bad blood, and intimidation unique to each player’s strategy and decision-making.

Since few games have ever seemed to take the approach before, the Nemesis System seemed to offer a next-gen depth on a mechanical and storytelling level, not just a technical one. That seems to be truer than many may have thought, as Shadow of Mordor‘s design director Michael de Plante explained to IGN that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game will show some differences when compared to their next-gen counterparts:

“We’re very focused on the PS4 and Xbox One… We’re focusing on the next-gen platforms, and then going to do whatever we can to get as much as possible on current-gen.

“To break it down, some of the stuff we’re pretty confident will still be very similar on current gen: the core mechanics, like combat, stealth, ranged and movements; the basic control and gameplay, that should all be really solid. What it won’t have is the same level of depth and variety and simulation within the ‘Nemesis system’.

“The story will be the same and the core gameplay will be the same, but [the ‘Nemesis system’ is] just so huge in terms of content, calculations and AI we’ll just have to try and get as much of it in as we can.”

Whether de Plater’s comments should be taken as good or bad news depends largely on whether a next-gen console sits on a particular reader’s shelf. The abundance of cross-generation games simply upgraded for Xbox One and PS4 won’t keep fans happy for long, so there will come a time when a warning that a current-gen version is significantly less inspired than next-gen will actually be seen as a positive.

Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor Talion Wraith

The only question becomes exactly how much of the Nemesis Systems fundamentals the developers will be “get in” to current-gen (previous-gen?) console versions. There’s no question that the game looks visually interesting and mechanically sound enough to attract an audience on any platform, but if the Nemesis System is the team’s primary talking point, the issue of marketing a port which fails to capitalize on it can’t be overlooked – even more so when the game in question is strictly a singleplayer experience.

Since a release date has yet to be set for Shadow of Mordor, the problem of marketing to two different generations of consoles may have solved itself by the time it hits shelves. Whatever the case, the developers certainly have an interesting challenge on their hands; one sure to elate next-gen gamers, and give previous-gen owners pause.

What do you think of the director’s comments? Does the Nemesis System being truly realized only on next-gen make your purchase clear, or are you still waiting to be convinced this game will be worth a look?


Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will release for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: IGN

TAGS: Lord of the Rings, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Monolith, PC, PS3, PS4, Warner Bros. Interactive, Xbox 360, Xbox One

  • http://screenrant.com boogoo

    I think you hit it on the head with there needing to be a time when this is seen as a positive. The PS4 and Xbox One are here and the gaps between next-gen and current-gen are only going to grow further apart. If gamers want developers to start taking advantage of the power of these new consoles then current-gen versions will naturally start to become less and less appealing.

  • DarthMalnu

    This is completely understandable, and still a huge bummer. I was getting pretty excited about this game, but the jump to next gen is going to be a loooong while away for me.

  • SanFranGradGuy

    Honestly, it’s not the developer’s fault that the Nemesis System can’t run soundly on a last-gen platform, and Shadow of Mordor isn’t the first game that’s had to dial down features between it’s last-gen and next-gen versions. The last-gen systems are growing more and more limited by the day compared to the power of the next-gen systems, and there’s some things that simply can’t be done on both systems, at least not without severely compromising something on last-gen ports, such as graphics or cutting back in other areas. It sucks for those who own last-gen systems – last generation I had a PS2 for a LONG time before I upgraded to a 360 and PS3 but it’ll change when they can afford or are willing to move to the next gen systems.

    • Justin Loomis

      Exactly, I remember my first encounter with a game on next and last gen. Spider Man 3. It looked so good! I don’t mean, well, yeah, the graphics were good, but the gameplay too. Kingpin and Scorpion would be in it, and as a PS2 owner, I was so excited! Only to find out upon renting from Hollywood Video (RIP), it was like Spider Man 2, only it sucks. No interiors to speak of, the streets felt so empty compared to Spider Man 2. And the side villians were almost completely different! I felt very angry. And I remember, I finally got a 360, rented it, and thought…this…this is what I wanted.

  • Zach

    When are people going to start calling the Xbox One and PS4 current-gen consoles and the 360 and PS3 previous-gen? Because I keep getting confused.

    • dethfuse

      I’ve been doing it. But yea the internet needs to catch up.

  • Jihost

    So wonder what this means for the PC version. I would assume they would treat that as a next gen iteration but then again…….

    • Justin Loomis

      Oh, PC pretty much always gets top shelf…except for Spider Man 2, for some reason.

  • Cameron

    I personally think its good that he said that the previous gen version of the game won’t be as good even though I have a Xbox 360 and not expecting to get a Xbox one in the near future, because creators can’t be expected or at least shouldn’t keep trying to make games that equal on both generations. As evident with the comments by Michel de Plante if the creators are going to make full use of the new consoles and continue to innovate they have to ignore the restraints of the the previous gen consoles.

  • Bob stark

    I have a PS3 and I was really exited when I saw the trailers and the gameplay and they started to talk about the nemesis system I was so happy. But then I found out it wasn’t going to be as good as the next gen console nemesis system why even make the game for current gen consoles if you can’t keep one of the games best features!!!

  • flint

    i honestly think the blame here is to lie with console creaters and denying the reverse game (like cant play 360 on ones) thats bull and forces people who have the older one to buy brand new junk so they can play later games and force it out of poket due to not being able to trade in the old console because you still need it to play your games. and that will stop the old ones from buying new consoles simply because the point is adding to games you already own not starting over from scratch and while people are focused on that delima the quality of gaming slips due to developers trying to rush and make sure their fans have games on the new console if they bought it without realizing the consequences

  • tinkywink

    Coming from an Xbox 360 gamer. I honestly think they shouldn’t even bother releasing a last gen version of this game. Not only is it going to be dummied down big time but a lot of valuable content will be removed. It won’t be worth the $60 price tag.

  • Logan

    I think it will be worth it. Even if the Ps4/Xbox 1 versions have a better “nemesis system”. Obviously due to the 2 month delay, they are probably figuring out a way so that a majority of the nemesis system is on the PS3/Xbox 360.

    • Michael

      Its so not worth it man. Just got it today and will be taking it straight back. Not worth $60. Not even worth $40!! Just a scheme to get us all the new systems. They dont care.

  • Comrades

    I already play these game for ps3 version, and this game had very terrific graphic for ps3 version, highly not recommended if you on ps3

  • Talian

    Dude the games not even out yet lol ^

  • Michael

    This game was a huge dissapointment for previous gen consoles. They just tossed a bunch of stuff together and handed it to us a month later at the same price as next gen. Waited 30 more days for absolute garbage!!

  • Matthew.

    Man I am so disappointed with this game. The graphics are horrible I just wish I had enough money for an Xbox one so I could buy it on an next gen console.

  • Rethar

    Very disappointed , the game is terrible I can’t enjoy it , very slow , and glitches my goodness , the visuals are horrid , and I wonder why because games like assasin creed play extremely smooth with excellent graphics , this is purely a marketing scheme to get u to upgrade to next gen consoles . Taking it back don’t waste ur money

  • Mohamed

    I got the ps3 version few days ago , the only thing that annoys me is the 10secs loading screen when u exit the map or the pause menu , else than that the game is worth it imo and i am rly enjoying it