After a leak over the weekend, Warner Brothers have officially unveiled Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, a sequel to the remarkably solid Shadow of Mordor. No gameplay yet, though the leak tell us a little about that, though there is a release date: August 25.
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As you might expect, we’re heading Sauron’s forces off at the pass once again, invading his lands and probably taking his men. There’s an armoured balrog, trolls and pre-orders to be had, as well as a planned gameplay reveal on March 8. Based on the Target leak, it’s to be the original game with some extras built on top – though obviously much prettier.
You’ll have your own ring of power to take it to Sauron and the Nazgul, in what promises to skirt the very edges of canon once again. WB promise the Nemesis system will be expanded upon, likely as confused as the rest of us that every developer from Ubisoft to Guerilla didn’t rip it off wholesale in the meantime.
“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,” says Michael de Plater, creative VP at developers Monolith. Specifically, there’s something called Followers that “bring about entirely new stories of loyalty, betrayal and revenge” and Fortresses, which apply the system to entire buildings, creating “dynamic strongholds” to be conquered and personalised.
It’s coming to the latest generation of consoles (no mention of Switch) plus Windows 10 PC on Steam and the Windows Store. It’s also on Xbox Play Anywhere, one of the first third-party titles to use the system.
Game’s out August 25. Gameplay on March 8, presumably a bit more at E3. Can it be an even better seven out of ten? We’ll see soon.