Middle-earth: Shadow of War
I was sceptical about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor when it was first announced back in 2014. Let it suffice to say that despite the hype and the marketing controversy that ensued, the game was surprisingly good, especially the nemesis system. The "extrapolation" of the lore was also quite intriguing and although I tend to be a Tolkien purist at heart, I really liked the narrative and the overall aesthetic of the game. The look and feel of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was very much based on Peter Jackson's movies. At the time of the games launch, I managed to purchase a discounted steam code via a CD key seller and also received the "Dark Ranger" cosmetic skin as a bonus. Overall, I spent about one hundred and forty hours playing Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor which was good value for money.
Considering both the critical and commercial success of the game, it’s hardly surprising that a sequel has been developed. Last year, there were several hints that a follow up game was in production. The most notable of which was when an accomplished stunt and motion capture performer, Lauren Mary Kim accidently cited working on the sequel on her resume. However, the rumours have finally been validated as US retailer Target prematurely posted pre-orders for Middle-earth: Shadow of War, on all major gaming platforms. The listing has subsequently been removed but the game developers, Monolith Productions, have confirmed their involvement in the project. According to a further report on Kotaku, Middle-earth: Shadow of War will continue the story of Talion and Celebrimbor, as they work together to forge their own Ring of Power to battle Sauron.
I am pleased that this franchise will continue and am hoping that it will expand upon the systems and game mechanics that were showcased in the prequel. I also have a curious interest in the narrative as it is such a bold gambit do something so demonstrably non- canonical. It would appear that Middle-earth: Shadow of War will feature two Nemesis expansions, two story expansions, and a "Gold War Chest” over the course of its life cycle. The Nemesis expansions will include a new Orc tribe, enemies, missions, and more, while the story expansions will introduce a new campaign and playable character. Early adopters and pre-order junkies can expect to pay $100 up front for access to all content on 22nd August. I may well wait to the end of the year when a Game of the Year edition is inevitable.
A cinematic trailer has now been released. It does not feature any in-game footage but does set up the narrative for Middle-earth: Shadow of War. A further trailer coming in march will showcase actual footage from the RPG. Pre-orders are now available on all platforms.