There are a lot of Middle Earth fans out there who may be turned off by the prospect of warping or changing the lore that has made the Lord of the Rings universe such a smash success, but Monolith and publisher WB Games are working hard to breath new life into a new LOTR game that's unlike any other. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor follows a new addition to the fantasy world, Talion, a Ranger of Gondor tasked to guard over Mordor's Black Gate.
The storyline in Shadow of Mordor takes place historically between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. During this time, Sauron and his Black Captains return to lay waste to their enemies, slaughtering anyone in their path. Talion is kept from entering the afterlife by a mysterious spirit, which then turns the hero into a half human half wraith hybrid. This kind of creature has never existed in Tolkien's universe and it seems like the type of character that's custom tailored to become a video game protagonist.
A new video gives us a glimpse at the combat structure, as well as the Nemesis system, which is perhaps the most interesting part of the upcoming title. Enemies within Shadow of Mordor are intelligent and come equipped with a fight or flight mentality. Units that manage to escape Talion's grasp won't simply forget about the encounter. They are capable of building armies, remembering combat details, and can hold a serious grudge.
The trailer above follows Talion as he attempts to deal with an Uruk captain named Ratbag. Talion has already had a previous encounter with Ratbag, making the mission and impending battle a much more personal experience. Ratbag has been promoted to a slaver thanks to his heroic defense against Talion, and our hero must stop him from trafficking and imprisoning humans.
This game is shaping up to be a very interesting and ambitious project. Combat and movement appear to be a mixture of the Batman Arkham series and Dishonored. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is due to release on Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, and PC, sometime this year.