The Next Lord Of The Rings Video Game Is Full-On Tolkien Fan-Fiction

The Next Lord Of The Rings Video Game Is Full-On Tolkien Fan-Fiction

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the newly unveiled video gaming sequel to Shadow of Mordor, looks like it’s ramping up things up in every possible way. The last game already played fast and loose with Lord of the Rings lore, but now you’re a human leading armies of orcs into an invasion of Mordor. With your own ring of power. Also, there may be dragons?

GIF by author from footage provided by WBIE

Talion the resurrected human ranger, imbued with the spirit of Celebrimbor — yes, that Celebrimbor from the novels, the elf who helped Sauron forge the One Ring (not so “one” now, though) — is back, and the first gameplay from the new game shows things are going to get as wild as its gloriously fan-fictiony premise.

The upcoming sequel to Shadow of Mordor seems to sport an exponential multiplication of its predecessor’s Nemesis System, which made it so non-player characters would engage in unique storylines with you. A 16-minute demo video shows how you’ll be conquering fortresses to take over territories and how the troops you command will change things up dynamically. There’s a strong tabletop vibe from what’s on view here, making it seem like strategy will matter a lot more in this title. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is out on August 23 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows 10.


  • Well, it can’t possibly get any fan-ficcier than the last ga-

    but now you’re a human leading armies of orcs into an invasion of Mordor. With your own ring of power.

    – oh. Oh. Fair enough, then.

      • … Say what?

        Oh boy, just found the Balrog teaser video. Starts off with him snatching his ring back via the Force, like he’s Luke on Hoth, so it ticks the fan-fic “reference to other works” box. The $300 USD Edition (Jesus H Christ!) has a Balrog statue, so hopefully they had the restraint to keep it as the final boss and not have a swarm of them running around as elite mobs..

        • You get a balrog, and you get a balrog… Everyone gets a balrog!

          Yeah, I just hope that the balrog isn’t something that the player has to fight, since it would be all but impossible to beat (at least in Tolkien’s world). Celebrimbor could have been a great warrior as well as a smith (grandson of Feanor and all that) but Talion is a far cry from the mighty warriors of the Adan such as Olorakhor, who was the only mortal man who is said to have slain a balrog.

  • Never finished Mordor because I found it to be quite boring apart from the nemesis system. If War can keep the whole game engaging with all the features I’ve just seen I’m nearly ready to say it’ll be game of the year.

    • It’s not a question of whether they can deliver on the nemesis system because they already have in the last one. So that’s reassuring at least. What this game looks like is them understanding that trying to tell a new LOTR story that stands up to what fans expect from the franchise is beyond their abilities, so they’re shining a spotlight on what they are really good at instead of struggling through with what they’re not good at.

      Looks like more emergent gameplay and less serious LOTR plotlines.

  • hope they fixed the relentlessness and pointlessness behind the first game. The never ending feeling that the more you kill the bosses, the more that just take their place. sadly, sometimes later in the game it just started to bore me, it was like why am I killing this guy there will just be another rising up.

    is it just me, or do the animations early in the video fighting boss on top of the gate look pretty awkward, a few moments between each kill where he looks robotic and not very fluid?

  • I don’t mind them playing fast and loose with the lore, given that Talion wasn’t created by Tolkien.

    It’s like Quentin Tarantino said when questioned about the ending of Inglorious Basterds:

    “You can definitely say, ‘Look, there is a point in the movie that history went one way, and we go another. Now, where I’m coming from that is basically my characters changed the course of the war. Now, that didn’t happen because my characters didn’t exist, but if they had existed, everything that happens is fairly plausible.”

  • The fighting animations and fighting in general could stand to be a fair bit more fluid. IT was really noticeable when the other combatants nicely stood back and let you finish your combo on their ally. More noticeable than usual, I think.

    Maybe I’ve been playing too much DS3 and Bloodborne…

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