‘Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’ Announced For Next-Gen

Nov 12, 2013 by  

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor
Few acclaimed literary series or film franchises have had as checkered a past with video game adaptations as J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” but it seems Warner Bros. is using the approach of next-gen consoles to win back lapsed fans, today revealing their plans for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Promising a darker, more mature take on the realm and fiction of the series, Monolith Productions will be entrusted with developing the third-person action game for both current and next-gen consoles.

Surprisingly, Shadow of Mordor is not a direct tie-in to either the Lord of the Rings or the next entries in The Hobbit movie series (as is usually the case), but a new chapter set in between the two. Stepping into the boots of a vengeful spirit, players won’t be tasked with ‘saving the day’ or ‘triumphing over evil,’ but a much darker, more personal quest for plain old vengeance:

In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, gamers take on the role of Talion, a valiant ranger whose family is slain in front of him the night Sauron and his army return to Mordor, moments before his own life is taken. Resurrected by a Spirit of vengeance and empowered with Wraith abilities, Talion ventures into Mordor and vows to destroy those who have wronged him.  Through the course of his personal vendetta, Talion uncovers the truth of the Spirit that compels him, learns the origins of the Rings of Power and ultimately confronts his true nemesis.

With the official press release from Warner Bros. comes the additional announcement that Shadow of Mordor will also grace the cover of Game Informer’s December issue. The coverage will bring most of the details, concept art and technical innovations we’re likely to see this early on, with the magazine’s brief announcement teasing some potentially groundbreaking work from Monolith that could only be possible with a new generation of hardware.

Check out the cover below:

Middle Earth Shadow of Morder Game Informer Cover

The track record of Monolith is not in question, having made their name with both the F.E.A.R. series and Condemned. That experience certainly puts more weight behind the claims that Shadow of Mordor will be “dark” – at least, a whole lot darker than the team’s treatment of the source material for Guardians of Middle-earth.

Darker and, apparently, a more even-handed approach to the reactive story and systems shaping the experiences. Much of that innovation is due to the ‘Nemesis System’ crafted by Monolith, taking the lasting impact of player decision seen in other action titles and RPGs, and allowing them to shape the enemies of the game as much as the hero:

Every enemy that players face is a unique individual, differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses. Through the Nemesis System, enemy relationships and characteristics are shaped by player actions and decisions to create personal archenemies that remember and adapt to the player and are distinct to every gameplay session. Gamers are able to craft their own battles, enemies and rewards within the dynamic world that remembers and adapts to their choices, delivering a unique experience to every player.

Exactly how strongly the gameplay can keep to that idea remains to be seen, especially since enemies will have to live in order to pose a threat later on in the campaign. An action game would presumably be based eliminating droves of enemies, so a player’s ability to decide who lives and who dies will have to be restricted somehow. Hopefully more details will arrive soon.

It’s still too early to know what to expect from the game (and as a next-gen title, that’s an even more accurate statement than usual), but Monolith at the helm is promising. Especially if Warner Bros. allows them to pursue a story as mature as they’re used to, and the brief plot description would imply.

What do you think of a darker trip into the fiction of Middle-earth? Is the premise alone enough to gain your attention, or the developer behind it? Sound off in the comments.

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

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Game Informer

11 Comments

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  1. Sounds like they’re about to butcher Tolkien’s law.

  2. Meanwhile J.R.R. Tolkien is rolling in his grave and the Tolkien estate files another lawsuit against Warner Bros. The words Darker and Mature are making me cringe just reading it. They just had to go off and take more pieces out of Tolkien’s work, they couldn’t create something original? They are really pushing it too far now. I just hope this isn’t also a blueprint for a Shadow of Mordor movie, please no. I like the Tolkien fictional universe how it is stop adding new chapters that are just completely unneeded. Leave it to the works of fan fiction and imagination.

    • Well the dark and gritty elements are pretty much part of the fictional universe of Tolkien, there is many mature stuff in books (for example Children of Hurin is one of the most dark and depressing works, parts of Silmarillion too, Lotr has them hell even Hobbit has dark stuff) the only problem is of course ignoring or twisting the info the author gave, he devised the whole timeline, wasn’t there any more interesting exciting periods rather than between Hobbit and Lotr? There’s plenty of material to make a wonderful open world rpg and there is still some space for creativity (like for example constant references to some unspecified dark creatures and monsters passing in the background, the ,,night-walkers” that observed the Army of the West on road to Morannon the Black Gate, ,,dark shapes” in the woods of Bree that haunted during the war, and the ,,enemies who would freeze (Butterbur’s) heart and lay his town in ruin” from which Rangers protected the common folk).

  3. If I Want to play a fantasy game on next-gen where my actions impact the world, I’ll play Witcher 3:Wild Hunt.

  4. A next-gen Lord of the Rings game? I’ll allow it.

  5. Get to work on GCI2 Monolith….A sequel to a game people are still playing over a year after being abandoned.

  6. Seeing as there hasn’t been a good/enjoyable since the PS2, I can’t wait for this if it’s as gound as it sounds, even if it does mess with Tolkien’s lore.

  7. seriously? couldnt they have just done a video game adaptation of the Tale of the Children of Hurin? thats got a freakin dragon fight in it! oh well. im just glad to see another LOTR game coming out.

    @Cal uhhh did you just totally miss LOTR War in the North? epic awesome game.

    • but if you want as dark and gritty as LOTR really got do a video game adaptation of The Battle of Unnumbered tears.

  8. why does this need LOTR licensing? couldn’t they just make a new IP since apparently the only thing this has to do with LOTR is the name?

    • you dont understand. the Tolkien family owns EVERYTHING dealing with Middle-Earth period. NOTHING gets made without their ok. and its not about a name its about the world it is set in. LOTR is just a miniscule piece of the epic lore and history Middle-Earth has to offer.

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