Middle Earth: Shadow of War officially announced

News travels fast and wide along the information highways of the Internet. Retailing giant Target posted and then promptly took down a product page for the sequel to Warner Brothers’ Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. This is hardly the first time a retailer has accidentally released a game’s details in advance of a publisher’s plans. Perhaps only a coincidence, the day after the leak by Target, WB has now officially declared the existence of Middle-earth: Shadow of War with a pre-rendered Announcement Trailer:

Following directly on from the ending of the first game players return to the land of Mordor in Middle Earth. Taking on the mantle of Gondor ranger Talion and the Elven smith Celebrimbor, together they seek to defeat the dark armies of Sauron by forging a new ring of power. A revamped Nemesis system is reported to return where player actions and decisions will shape not only characters but also the environment within the game. No word yet on what types of decisions these will be. I’m personally hoping for some Telltale-esque dramatic moral choice moments of, “should I murder or not murder all of these Orcs at once?”

For those who missed the original, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor featured a roaming open world and melee combat systems similar to those found in the Batman Arkham series. However instead of Batman’s trademark policy of not killing anyone, our Gondor ranger Talion exercises a satisfying form of extreme prejudice when disposing of Orc foes.

One of my personal favourite elements from Shadow of Mordor was the introduction of a nemesis system. Getting killed by a regular Orc would result in them being promoted to a Captain and showing up with the nemesis mark on the Orc Army board. An intelligence gathering mechanic allowed players to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of Orc Captains and War Chiefs then prepare for the assault.

Hopefully the revamped nemesis system is going to be better balanced so that the Orcs will still present a challenge towards the end of the story. Even without the power of a new ring, the skills and abilities players could unlock in the first game made them a god like ghost assassin. The Shadow Strike ability is still one of my favourite things of all time in a game.

The official system requirements for Middle-Earth Shadow of War have also been posted up on the Steam store page:

OS: Windows 7 SP1 with Platform Update for Windows 7
Processor: Intel i5-2550K, 3.4 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce GTX 670 or Radeon HD 7950
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 60 GB available space

OS: Windows 10 version 14393.102 or higher
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce GTX970 or Ge Force GTX 1060 | Radeon R9 290X or Radeon RX 480
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 60 GB available space

Something interesting that caught my eye was that the Steam store page also highlights that the game will contain “In-App Purchases”. There was separate DLC for the first Shadow of Mordor but no purchases to make within the game itself. So far no mention of what these purchases relate to have been spoken about in the press releases.

The game itself – already nicknamed “Shadow of Wardor” – is currently slated for a release date of 22nd of August 2017.

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