Middle-earth: Shadow of War is the sequel to 2014's spectacular Shadow of Mordor, which followed the exploits of a ranger possessed by an Elf Lord wraith, on an open-world quest for vengeance. Taking gameplay cues from the likes of Assassin's Creed, Shadow of Mordor thoroughly perfected the formula, delivering a faithful Lord of the Rings experience atop some truly unique and addictive gameplay.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War leaked just yesterday via a Target listing, possibly leading to this early announcement. But now we have a trailer and some other juicy details to gush over.
In a statement to the press, David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, hailed Monolith Productions, saying that Shadow of War will drive the genre forward, and expand on its predecessor's triumphant Nemesis system.
"Monolith Productions continues to innovate by introducing deeper, more personalized gameplay experiences, coupled with authentic storytelling. Middle-earth: Shadow of War truly drives the genre forward by taking the Nemesis System to new heights and allowing players to create their own personal journey within Middle-earth."
Vice President of Monolith Productions Michael de Plater echoed Haddad's comments, emphasizing the studio's commitment to bringing authenticity to the Middle-earth universe.
"Following the amazing reception to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, we massively expanded every dimension of the game, including the world, the story, the RPG systems, the core gameplay and of course the personal player stories of the Nemesis System. As lifelong fans of Middle-earth, we are so grateful to have the privilege to bring to life the most incredible fantasy world ever created in a new way, for a new generation. With Middle-earth: Shadow of War, we can't wait to see the amazing stories players are going to create and share."
The Nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor saw hundreds of procedurally generated orcs locked in a territorial battle for supremacy. Every single orc in Shadow of Mordor had the opportunity to rise through the ranks, eventually morphing into boss fights. In Shadow of War, the Nemesis system will be expanded to include Followers, who will add an entirely new layer of procedurally generated loyalty, betrayal, and revenge, to the previous game's most iconic feature.
Orcs rising through the ranks of Shadow of War's Nemesis system will also gain access to entire fortresses, which will differ based on the strengths and personalities of each individual leader.
Warner Bros says that Middle-earth: Shadow of War will build on the narrative delivered in Shadow of Mordor, creating a more personal and expansive experience where your decisions matter more than ever before. The Target listing pegged August 2017 for the game's launch date, but we'll have to wait and see for official confirmation. Pre-orders will go live "soon."
If you haven't played it already, I can't recommend Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor enough, as it remains one of this generation's greatest games. It's available fairly cheap on Xbox One, using the link below.
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