The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
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|The Lord of the Rings: War in the North|
|Developer||Snowblind Studios, Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)|
|Publisher||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)|
|Platform||PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360Mac OS X|
|Release date||1 November 2011 (North America),|
for other regions, see Release.
|Genre||Action, role-playing game|
|Modes||Single player, two/three-player co-operative, online|
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (commonly abbreviated to WITN) is a role-playing video-game developed by Snowblind Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows. The game takes place during the War of the Ring but adapts the seldom-mentioned battles that took place across Eriador and Rhovanion. The game was released between 1 November and 25 November 2011.
The game is based on both the books and the films.
Although the game includes familiar locations from Middle-earth it does not revolve around the core story of The Lord of the Rings; instead, it creates an original tale. The player controls his own fellowship, a trio of fighters - Eradan, a Dúnadan "Ranger of the North," Andriel, an elven "Loremaster of Rivendell"[note 1] and Farin, a dwarvern "Champion of Erebor" - to get behind enemy lines and have to stop Agandaûr, the game's antagonist, before his plan succeeds.
The game starts with an introduction, narrated by Gandalf. Gandalf tells that heroes like Aragorn, Frodo Baggins and Gandalf are honored much, but that without a few, not well known heroes - Eradan, Andriel and Farin - the north of Middle-earth would have been lost.
The game then switches to Bree, where the three heroes make their way to the Prancing Pony, just a few days before Frodo arrived in Bree. Arrived in the Prancing Pony, they find Aragorn in a corner of the inn. They tell Aragorn that the Nazgûl attacked and defeated the Rangers at Sarn Ford, and a flashback shown in which the Witch-king meets a Black Númenórean, Agandaûr. Eradan, Andriel and Farin overhear their conservation: Agandaûr tells he has summoned an army of Orcs of the Misty Mountains and assembled an army in Fornost, to aid the Nazgûl in the Hunt of the Ring. The Witch-king sends Agandaûr back to Fornost, so he can attack immediately. The flashback ends, and the game returns to the Prancing Pony
Farin asks Aragorn why the Nazgûl attack the Shire, to which he answers that a Hobbit with an important burden is making his way to Bree. And that this "must be protected at all cost". Aragorn sends Eradan, Andriel and Farin to Fornost, where they have to stop Agandaûr's army before it can attack.
Chapter 1: Fornost
As soon as Eradan, Andriel and Farin enter the ruins of Fornost they are attacked by a band of Orcs and Goblins. After cleaning the main gate, they end up in the pits under Fornost. There they hear an animal screaming. After finding their way out of the pits, they find the source of the noise - a giant Eagle. The three heroes unchain the Eagle and kill it's jailers. The Eagle introduces himself as Beleram, a servant of Gwaihir who gathered news but was taken out of the air by siege engines and sorcerers. Together the Eagle and the three heroes make a plan: while Beleram would attract the enemy's attention, Eradan, Andriel and Farin would make their way up to the battlements to destroy the siege weapons. The plan works out succesful, as all siege weapons as well as two Orc sorcerers are destroyed. The player, furthermore, obtains a scroll with unreadable text.
When reaching the outer wards of Fornost, the players meets again with Beleram. The eagle thanks his rescuers again and tells them that he saw Elladan and Elrohir within the ruins. While searching the two Half-elves, they defeat a giant crossbow, used by Orcs, and are trapped by a Troll. Just shortly after the death of the Troll, the sons of Elrond appear.
Andriel introduces Eradan and Farin to Elladan and Elrohir, and informs them about their task. They collaborate in this task, but instead of just stopping the army to attack they decide to kill Agandaûr. The sons of Elrond guide the player to the citadel. They separate, however, after defeating another giant crossbow. Eventually, they are locked on a bridge between two gates. After surviving an ambush, the sons of Elrond appear again and open the gate. After defeating another more ambushed, they arrive at the gate of the citadel. Which is protected by a magic spell, to stop intruders. While the sons of Elrond undo the magic, the player defends them against an attacking force of Orcs, Goblins and a Troll. As Eradan, Andriel, Farin, Elrohir and Elladan enter the citadel, Beleram remains outside to protect them against reinforcements.
Inside, they overhear a conversation between Agandaûr and Tharzog, chieftain of the Orcs of Mount Gram. Tharzog tells Agandaûr that there are intruders in Fornost, after which Agandaûr angrily commands him to find and kill them immediately. After Agandaûr leaves, the player and the sons of Elrond go onward in the tower. Tharzog, however, notices them and as a gate is closed, the player is cut off from the sons of Elrond. Tharzog and his guard attack Eradan, Andriel and Farin, but the latter manage to kill him.
At the same time, Elladan and Elrohir fight Agandaûr on the top of the Citadel tower. Agandaûr is no match for the twins alone, but when Eradan, Andriel and Farin join them he flees on the back of a Fell beast. Beleram attempt to chase him, but Agandaûr summons a thunderstorm and escapes.
Beleram returns to Gwaihir, in the Misty Mountains, to inform him about the events in Fornost, Elladan and Elrohir return to Rivendell and Eradan, Andriel and Farin go back to Sarn's Ford to inform Halbarad.
Chapter 2: The Barrow Downs
The leader of the camp, Halbarad, sends the party to Rivendell, to report of the events at Fornost to Aragorn. As they are to travel through the Barrow Downs, Halbarad asks them to keep an eye out for two rangers, Luin and Kilaran, who went missing in the area. Traversing the Barrow Downs, Eradan, Andriel and Farin encounter many wights as they fight their way through the tombs, following ranger clues into Amon Gorthad, the Great Barrow. There, they find Kilaran ensnared in nightmares. Luin has fallen to a great wight, controlling him, and they must defeat him to make their way out and finally head to Rivendell.  The fellowship travels through the Barrow Downs, where they have to find two lost rangers.
Chapter 3: Ettenmoors
Chapter 4: Gundabad
Whilst the Fellowship of the Ring travels towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring, Sauron has sent one of his most cruel servants, the Black Númenórean Agandaûr, to the North to destroy Rivendell and defeat the Free peoples of Eriador and Rhovanion. Eradan, Andriel and Farin travel to Gundabad to discover the strength of Agandaûr's army.
Chapter 5: Mirkwood
Eradan, Andriel and Farin travel with Beleram to Mirkwood in search of Radagast. In the air they’re attacked by Wolfram, a sorcerer and a Fell Beast rider, after which they fall from the Eagle’s back. They defeat Wolfram, after his death Wolfram’s Fell Beast tries to escape but is killed by Beleram. Andriel leads the others deeper into Mirkwood. They are ambushed by a group of Orcs and an Orc shaman. Eventually the fellowship enter a cave where they defeat a Cave-troll.
Developed in association with Middle-earth Enterprises, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North explores both original and familiar narrative elements as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment holds the rights to develop video games based on both the literary and motion picture content from The Lord of the Rings. Breaking new ground as a mature RPG video game set in Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North advances the RPG paradigm through innovative online, interdependent co-op play for up to three players who form their own Fellowship to fight Sauron’s forces in the North.
In The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, players can become the heroes in the great battle of the North as part of the epic War of the Ring. Exploring unseen lands, story elements and characters from Middle-earth as well as elements familiar from past feature films, gamers will experience extensive character customization and development, expansive co-op gameplay options and upgradeable weapons, skills and special abilities.
—Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, product announcement
Commentators have noted that this is the first iteration of The Lord of the Rings-based games which is aimed at an older audience - predicted to be the first game in the series to be given an M-rating - with the inclusion of graphic violence and gory bloody detail with players being able to decapitate orcs and slash limbs off enemies. When defeating enemies you can gain experience and loot. With experience you can gain new skills; there are twenty skills for each race. Every skill has five different ranks. Loot can also be found in chests. Some items can only be used by a certain race, therefore it is possible to trade with the other characters of your fellowship. The gameplay - in both single and multiplayer modes - revolves around strategically combining the different abilities of the threesome to good effect, for instance the dwarf can find treasure and spot weaknesses in structures, which lead to alternate roads, whereas the elf can find herbs to heal other party members. When in single-player, the other two characters will be controlled by computer AI. Working together with the other characters of your fellowship is very important to defeat stronger enemies.
It is possible to co-op (cooperative mode) both local and online; players can join the game at every moment. While the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 support split-screen, online split-screen and online multiplayer, the PC only includes online multiplayer.
The game will not be open world, nevertheless some areas will be more open than others. It is still unknown if it is possible to return to earlier locations. There will be several NPC's (Non-playable characters) in the game, some of them will have a more passive role while others fight beside you. Like many RPG's the dialogue system is very important, and affects the game's storyline.
If you are in need of help you can call the eagle Beleram, who can help you to defeat bigger or stronger enemies. Calling him is limited in the beginning, but while leveling you can find items which make it possible to call him. It is impossible to call Beleram underground or in buildings and there is a cool down for using him.
- Eradan: Eradan is a Dúnadan and one of the Rangers that accompanied Aragorn as the Grey Company. He is very good in tracking enemies and fights with a sword and a bow. He can move undetected behind enemies with his skill evasion.
- Andriel: Andriel is an Elf of Rivendell and was sent by Elrond to investigate Sauron's armies that were gathering in Eriador and Rhovanion. One of her abilities can create a shield that protects her and the other characters of the fellowship against ranged attacks. She can use her staff as both a melee and a ranged weapon.
- Farin: Farin is a dwarf of Erebor that has traveled to Eriador to repay his debt to Bilbo Baggins. He can be used as a tank and his strength is in battle enemies in close quarters. His main weapon is an axe, but he uses a cross-bow as his ranged weapon.
- Elladan and Elrohir
- Barliman Butterbur
|Richard Horvitz||Adalgar Oldbank|
|Kim Mai Guest|
|Jennifer Hale||Idona Bellflower|
|Yuri Lowenthal||Frodo Baggins/Glorhirin|
|John Patrick Lowrie||Beleram/Galar|
|Oliver Muirhead||Otto Aster/Luin|
|Liam O'Brien||Elladan & Elrohir|
|Jim Piddock||Bilbo Baggins/Elrond|
- Carn Dûm
- Sarn Ford
- Barrow Downs
Development on War in the North started at early 2010 or late 2009, Saul Zaentz Company claimed the name The Lord of the Rings: War in the North in June 2009. However, the game was not officially announced until 18 March 2011. Since its announcement several images, traillers and concept art of several locations and characters has been released.
War in the North is considered to be a tie-in to Peter Jackson's film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. But since this game was developed before the film adaptations of The Hobbit entered production, War in the North features minor continuity errors in relation to those movies.
Elrond summarizes the War of the Dwarves and Orcs as it is described in the novel; with Azog perishing during the Battle of Azanulbizar at the hands of Dain Ironfoot. However in the movies, Azog survives that battle, but was killed many years later by Thorin Oakenshield at the Battle of Five Armies.
The winged fire-drake Urgost is depicted as having four legs and a separate pair of wings, as with most traditional depictions of Western dragons. This contradicts the movies' portrayal of Smaug, who is depicted in The Hobbit film trilogy as having wings attached to his forelegs like a wyvern (though Smaug was originally intended to have separate wings as well, as shown in the theatrical cut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey).
Since the first announcement in March 2010, Warner Bros. have periodically released trailers demonstrating various aspects of the gameplay and revealing the characters and locations. All video links are to YouTube, and times are in minutes:Video expaining how to use Andriel's "Sanctuary" skill to complete Chapter 2: Barrow Downs
|Unite Your Fellowship||1:03||17 March 2010||Teaser trailer; short clips of action and trolls|
|E3 2010 Trailer||1:03||10 June 2010|
|Extended Fellowship Trailer||1:34||12 August 2010||Expanded version of teaser trailer|
|War in the North @ PAX 2010||1:22||c. September 2010||Coverage of Penny Arcade Expo 2010 exhibit|
|Untold Story||1:22||17 November 2010||Outline of plot with various shots of locations|
|Snowblind Tolkien Toast 2011||1:22||3 January 2011||No gameplay; Snowblind's birthday toast|
|The Black Númenórean||1:59||1 February 2011||Exploration of Agandaûr, the game's antagonist|
|Behind the Scenes: The Untold Story||2:38||17 February 2011||Outline of the several locations of the game|
|Brutal Combat Trailer||1:35||9 March 2011||Coverage of The War in the North's combat gameplay|
|Pax East Hands-On||0:52||16 March 2011||Coverage of Penny Arcade Expo 2011 exhibit|
|Blood and Steel: The Combat of War in the North||2:33||31 March 2011||Exploration of game's combat and Middle-earth's darker side|
|Combat Vignette||0:44||13 April 2011||Gameplay vignette covering the different combat styles|
|Gameplay Video: Mount Gundabad||2:28||5 May 2011||Exploration of the gameplay in Gundabad|
|Snowblind Studio Tour||2:42||11 May 2011||No gameplay; A guide through Snowblind's studio|
|Dev Video: Art Direction Process||2:09||11 May 2011||Coverage of art, including concept art of several locations|
|Prepare for War: Weapon Development||2:01||12 May 2011||Coverage of weapons|
|Heroes will Rise||1:36||1 June 2011||Teaser trailer|
|Beleram Gameplay Trailer||0:48||22 June 2011||Exploration of Beleram, one of the games’ main characters|
|Behind the Scenes with new heroes||2:14||24 June 2011||Coverage of some of the several characters|
|E3 Walkthrough||2:34||1 July 2011||Walkthrough of the game at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)|
|The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Movie Touchpoints Trailer||2:04||7 July 2011||Game trailers; uses fragments from The Lord of the Rings (film series)|
|The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Fellowship Trailer||2:00||20 July 2011||Teaser trailer|
|The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Champions Trailer||August 2011||Interactive trailer|
|I Love The Lord of the Rings: Dev Video with Jason Olander||2:34||8 September 2011||A dev video with Jason Olander, who tells about his love for The Lord of the Rings and how it applies at his work|
|Power of Three||1:35||23 September 2011||Cinematic trailer focussing on the main characters: Eradan, Andriel and Farin|
|Behind the Scenes - Power of Three||2:34||29 September 2011||Focusses on the three main characters, Eradan, Andriel and Farin. Also covers co-up and introduces Challenge mode for the first time|
|Eradan Character Vignete||1:48||18 October||Trailer totally dedicated to Eradan, the Dúnadan/Human character|
|Farin Character Vignete||1:48||21 October 2011||Trailer totally dedicated to Farin, the Dwarf character|
|Andriel Character Vignete||1:48||21 October 2011||Trailer totally dedicated to Andriel, the Elf character|
|Fight Together or Die Alone! The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Official Launch Trailer||1:12||28 October 2012||Final teaser trailer, featuring many characters and locations of the game|
|LOTR WITN - G4 Exclusive - Slay the Orcs||2:55||3 November 2011||Review of X-play, includes interviews with actors of The Lord of the Rings films|
|WITN - Love of Middle-earth||5:13||4 November 2011||Interviews with actors and scholars about War in the North, The Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth|
|WITN - Slay the Orcs||5:12||4 November 2011||Interviews with actors and scholars about War in the North, The Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth|
|WITN - The Legend of the Rings||5:27||4 November 2011||Interviews with actors and scholars about War in the North, The Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth|
|The New Fellowship||5:29||4 November 2011||Interviews with actors and scholars about War in the North, The Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth|
|Combat Tactics: Dodging Tharzog - The Lord of the Rings: War in the North||1:18||29 November 2011||Video expaining how to use "Dodging" to defeat Tharzog in Chapter 1: Fornost|
|Combat Tactics: Siege of Nordinbad - The Lord of the Rings: War in the North||1:21||8 December 2011||Video expaining how to defend the gate in Siege of Nordinbad|
|Combat Tactics -- Sanctuary at Barrow-downs||1:50||19 December 2011|
|Combat Tactics -- Evasion at Mirkwood||1:50||23 January 2012||Video expaining how to use Eradan's "Evasion" skill to complete Chapter 5: Mirkwood|
|Wallpapers and Concept Art of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.|
|North America||1 November|
|Middle East||4 November|
|Low Countries||4 November|
|Southern Europe (except Spain)||4 November|
|Eastern Europe (except Russia)||4 November|
|South America (except Brazil)||4 November|
|Northern Europe||8 November|
|Australia and New Zealand||16 November|
|United Kingdom||25 November|
|Asia (except Middle East and Russia)||Unknown|
Besides the normal version of the game, a collector's edition will be released. This collector's edition will include an artbook, a behind-the-scenes music dvd, a quiver case as well as access to digital gubbins: icons, avatars and themes. Some retailers give extra add-ons. Both the collector's Edition and the special add-ons will be avaible in North-America and Europe; it is still unknown if it will be avaible in other parts of the world.
It's a very handsome game with well voiced cutscenes, and places the compelling Lord of the Rings realm in the hands of a developer with solid RPG credentials. Fans of both have good reason to look forward to a unique entry in the series.
Commentators immediately picked up on Snowblind Studios' experience with role-playing games (such as Baldur's Gate and Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest) along with frequent mentions of the more "mature" and "brutal" design of the game, and the desire for an action RPG in the manner of previous Snowblind games.
- Images from The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
- The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, a 2010 game also published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, a 2006 game which also took place in the north of Middle-earth
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Soundtrack), soundtrack of the game
- Official Website
- Official site for the Mac OS X version at FeralInteractive.com
- Official Twitter page
- In early development the human was a mage and the Elf a ranger, but this was changed on a later stage.
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- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Prologue
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Main Gate
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Battlements
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Cult of the Lidless Eye
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Outer Wards
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Inner Wards
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, The Citadel
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Citadel Tower
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