Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor|
|Publisher||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Platform||PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
|Release date||30 September 2014|
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is an open world action-adventure video game, published by Monolith Productions. Released in 2014, the story takes place between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, acting as a bridge between the two eras. The protagonist's name is Talion, a Gondorian Ranger stationed at the Black Gate. Talion's family is slain the night the Dark Lord Sauron and his Uruk-Hai forces return to reclaim Mordor, setting the Ranger on a quest for revenge after he is possessed and sustained from death by a mysterious Wraith.
The family of Talion, a ranger who guards the black gates into Mordor, is brutally killed by the black hand of Sauron. Talion is also killed but is brought back to life merged with a wraith that gives him inhuman powers. He ventures into Mordor to exact revenge and to help the wraith find his past identity and what brings the two together.
Shadow of Mordor is an open-world action/adventure game that is set entirely within Mordor. The overworld is mainly populated by Uruks, as well as never-before-seen creatures, such as the cat-like Caragors and troll-like Graugs.
One defining feature of the game is the Nemesis System, which allows the game to remember Uruks of a certain notability and track their progress as they rise from lowly soldiers to high-ranking captains and even war-chiefs. Most of these Uruks are randomly-generated and can vary in appearance, name, personality, and strengths/weaknesses. the Captains can randomly be found among the anonymous masses, though the war-chiefs can only be encountered by completing certain objectives to draw them out of hiding.
There are a number of tactics and strategies that can be exploited to kill Uruks: In addition to killing them in normal combat, one can also poison a nearby barrel of grog and let Uruk-hai drink from it, grapple them and throw them over the edge of a cliff or platform, set Caragors loose on them by breaking open their cages, launch sneak attacks from above or behind, or "brand" Uruks with the Wraith's powers to brainwash them and pit them against other Orcs.
|The Wraith||Alister Duncan|
|Black Hand||Nolan North|
|Queen Marwen||Claudia Black|
|Ship Captain||Jason Connery|
|Additional voices||JB Blanc|
|Additional voices||Chris Cox|
History and development
Development of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which took about three years, began in late 2011. The game's lead developer was Monolith Productions, who had experience on a Middle-earth game with Guardians of Middle-earth. According to design director Michael de Plater, Shadow of Mordor was developed in parallel with Guardians of Middle-earth but handled by a separate team. It was published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The game was designed by de Plater.
Shadow of Mordor bridges the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, with the team wanting to show iconic elements of the universe in an original way. The team had to draw notes on Tolkien's notes and appendices to ensure that their vision for the game would not change the franchise's timeline. Although the game's environment is inspired by the books and films, several places (such as Udûn and the Sea of Nurnen) were re-imagined. Art director Phil Straub considered consistency with the lore and presenting "something visually new" and realistic the most important elements of creating the game, and the team did not incorporate many fantasy elements in its world. To create some parts of the game environment, they studied photos of Iceland and New Zealand and yellow stone found worldwide. Since Shadow of Mordor is set before The Lord of the Rings, its landscape is less post-apocalyptic; environments also vary by weather, lighting and atmosphere. Early in development the team consulted Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, who advised them against a film tie-in. According to Roberts, the story is designed for accessibility by all players, regardless of their familiarity with the franchise by creating natural interactions and believable relationships among the characters. Its protagonist is Talion, a half-human, half-wraith inspired by Boromir. In the game, the mysterious wraith is later revealed as Celebrimbor, creator of the Rings of Power. The development team picked Celebrimbor because they considered his backstory sufficiently interesting to expand the canon's authenticity, allowing the team to write a story around power (a major theme of the game). In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's tone, the team created a dark atmosphere with humor, reflected in dialogue and voice acting. This was handled by Dan Abnett. The team hired David Salo, a linguist who worked on the Tolkien's languages for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, to develop the Orcs' Black Speech. To prevent inaccuracies, Monolith consulted several Tolkien scholars from Warner Bros. and collaborated with Weta Workshop on the game's special effects and scenery. To depict well-known characters the company partnered with Middle-earth Enterprises, the franchise-rights holder, to prevent misuse and contradiction between the game's story and Tolkien's. The music for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was composed by Garry Schyman and Nathan Grigg, and a soundtrack album was released digitally by WaterTower Music on September 30, 2014.
On December 16, 2014, the downloadable content (DLC) Lord of the Hunt was released. Its storyline revolved around Torvin, and it included new runes, skins and bosses. Lord of the Hunt received mixed reviews from critics. The final DLC for Shadow of Mordor (The Bright Lord) is set 3,000 years before the main campaign and allows players to control Talion's companion, Celebrimbor. It adds a chapter to Shadow of Mordor in which players can complete ten more missions and fight Sauron. The content was released on February 24, 2015 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A Game of the Year edition with DLC was announced on April 29, 2015 and released on May 5 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A special edition, with in-game items and a steelbook, was introduced on August 1.
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