We’ve known since February that Middle Earth: Shadow of War is coming and from what we’ve seen so far it looks like it’s going to be a stunning game.
In the meantime, though, we’ve gathered everything we know about the game so far including its release date, trailers and all the gameplay that’s been revealed so far.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? It’s the sequel to the 2014 action role playing game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
- When can I play it? August 25 2017
- What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One, PC
So far we’ve had three big trailers for Shadow of War.
The most recent was a mammoth 88 minutes of gameplay with developer commentary which showed off Talion conquering an Orc fort.
Prior to this in April IGN released an exclusive gameplay trailer which showed off the game’s 4K visuals.
In March Warner Bros Interactive also released a 16 minute gameplay trailer which talked players through the upgraded Nemesis system as well as the new follower recruitment system.
Naturally, the first glimpse of the game we got, though, was the cinematic trailer that was released in February which certainly seemed to promise epic battles in an expansive open world.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War will be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 25 2017. We also know that the game will be one of the big launch titles for Microsoft’s upcoming 4K console Project Scorpio so we can expect a special high performance re-release for this platform when it’s launched later in the year.
When the game launches, players will have the option to buy the game in either standard, silver or gold editions with the more expensive editions offering access to more content including story expansions.
It’s worth noting, though, that these story expansions will be available to purchase as separate DLC when they become available for those who don’t purchase the Gold edition of the game.
What we know so far
What’s the story?
Once again, players will enter Tolkien's world and take up the role of Talion, a ranger killed by the Black Hand of Sauron whose body has bonded with the wraith of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor.
Having recently forged a new ring of power, this game will follow Talion and Celebrimbor’s original story during the midst of the battle for Middle Earth as they attempt to use the new ring’s power to face Sauron and the Nazgul. Aside from the fact that it’ll follow on from the events of the first game, not too much is known about the narrative of Shadow of War.
Despite following on from the first game, though, it doesn’t look like you’ll have to have played that before picking up Shadow of War as the developers have said that they’re keen for this to be an entry point into the series for new fans.
Gameplay is something we’ve had an extensive look at for Shadow of War with several trailers having been released already.
Like Shadow of Mordor, this will be an open world third person adventure though this time it looks like the game will be much larger in terms of scale with more of an emphasis on personalization, role playing and large battles.
At its core, though, the gameplay will very much build on Shadow of Mordor’s gameplay, bringing back the Nemesis system and similar melee combat mechanics.
Nemesis returns bigger and better
The Nemesis system that was such a big and highly praised part of the first game is unsurprisingly returning. For those unfamiliar with it, the Nemesis System was an innovative method of enemy design which involved pitting the player against procedurally generated but personalized bosses who had learned from the player’s previous defeats in the game.
This time the Nemesis System will be even bigger and as well as influencing the enemies you fight it will also apparently have an impact on the larger game world around you so that entire fortresses are molded by your actions as Talion.
This time around, Monolith has said that it wanted to step slightly away from the highly single player focused experience of the first game and create something that captured the epic scale of the battles in Tolkien's world, giving the player the opportunity to be at the center of them.
This will be done through sieges and battles. The player will be able to capture a fortress through instigating a siege with their army and it’ll be up to the player to kill the fortress Overlord (boss) and essentially clinch the battle. There will be many ways to weaken the fortress before attacking it (assassinating the bosses for example) but it’ll be up to the player what approach they take.
A new feature that will appear in Shadow of War is ally recruitment. This is something that appears in many games but it looks like it could offer serious depth in Shadow of War; different allies will be useful in different ways and players will have to balance their benefits with the risk that they could betray them at any time.
These recruited followers will be important, then, as players will have to use them to manage the large armies they build in order to attack enemies fortresses while they concentrate on their own close-quarter combat.
New enemies and skills to fight them
New skills and skill trees will also be introduced, giving the player more control over how they play in this larger and more responsive game world.
As you’d expect, this time around players will encounter brand new orcs and trolls (got to keep things fresh) as well as new kinds of Garug and entirely new creatures called Drakes, which are essentially fire-breathing dragons.
Players will also apparently take on Balrogs, Sauron and the Nazgul so it appears the plan to increase scale extends across every aspect of the game.
We're certain to see more of Shadow of War at this year's E3 so make sure you keep checking back for more news!