Warner Bros and Monolith Studios have announced Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, a third-person open-world action game set in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe featuring a new, original story that fills the narrative gap between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring.
The player will be in control of a ranger named Talion who is murdered alongside his family by Sauron’s armies and then (conveniently) brought back to life and bonded to a “Spirit of vengenace” who works with Talion to find retribution. This also means Talion gets several spooky powers, allowing him to travel in the wraith world to stalk his enemies.
The game introduces a so-called “Nemesis system” wherein, according to the press stuff, “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”.
Developers, Monolith Studios (also responsible for the recent Lord of the Rings MOBA, Guardians of Middle Earth) have taken a cue from another Warner Bros’ series, the popular Batman Arkham games when it comes to combat. Talion engages enemies using a variety of attacks, with counters for incoming attacks combined with special attacks which are activated as his combo increases. Main or boss enemies also drop runes when defeated, which Talion may use to add bonuses to his weapons. The stronger the enemy, the more powerful the rune and in this lies the potential benefits of sparing certain enemies at the risk of allowing them to become too powerful.
The game will have a skill tree, providing upgrades for the three main weapon types (namely a sword for primary attacks, a dagger for stealth attacks and you guessed it, a bow for ranged attacks) with another tree for his wraith powers.
Although it is still very early days and no gameplay videos are available or even a launch window, there seems to be a lot of potential for this game from an intellectual property that hasn’t really delivered a good game since Battle for Middle Earth.
Shadow of Mordor will release on Xbox One, Xbox360, PS4 and PS3.