The mystical world that makes up the fabric of Lord of the Rings’ Middle-Earth is full of important aspects that all fans clamor for. Video game developers Monolith Productions is prepared to take all those aspects and push them into a far more darker rendition of that world with their newest game. Players will take revenge of Sauron’s armies by taking control of the wraith-like Talion.
A lot of great things have been said about this game during its preview period. Shadow of Mordor may turn out to be a surprise contender for 2014 Game of the Year. Our interview with Michael de Plater from Monolith Productions goes over the game’s most basic elements on down to its intricate play mechanics.
Here’s everything you need to know about Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor!
1. So when did the idea behind Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor begin to take shape?
Michael de Plater: About three years ago now.
2. Describe the main playable character Talion and his overall connection to the world of Middle-earth.
MDP: Talion begins the game as a Ranger of Gondor stationed on the Black Gate of Mordor. He is murdered, along with everyone he loves, when Sauron and his Black Captains return to reclaim Mordor. However he’s not left to rest in peace; an ancient Spirit is also awakened by Sauron’s return and this Spirit is one of the most important figures in the history of Middle-earth. His name is Celebrimbor and he is the elf who worked with Sauron to forge the Rings of Power, including the Nine which are worn by the Nazgul. He resurrects Talion and together they pursue the Dark Lord into Mordor.
3. What is the Nemesis System all about?
MDP: It’s about letting players create their own stories and their own memorable, personal villains. There’s a lot of AI and technology under the hood, but from the players’ point of view it brings the Uruk Social Network to life, so that any enemy can rise up through the ranks and become a boss. They also remember and react to their encounters with the player, so they build up their own stories over the course of the campaign.
4. Can you detail the two distinct skill sets Talion has access to?
MDP: The first is all of his Ranger skills, related to melee combat and hunting your enemies. The second are Celebrimbor’s Wraith skills which include his elven abilities with the bow as well as the power to dominate and terrorize your enemies. On top of that, we also have epic weapons which you can upgrade and customize with runes you gain from defeating nemesis enemies.
5. Give us some insight into the game’s leveling system, weapon customization and army building mechanics.
MDP: In order to gain new abilities, you earn experience for defeating enemies and completing questions, you also increase in power by disrupting Sauron’s war machine. The Uruks are constantly creating fresh side missions called Power Struggles, and by intervening in those, you earn power which unlocks new levels of abilities. With regard to weapon customization, you place runes onto your sword, bow or dagger. The runes are earned by defeating Nemesis Enemies and you get bonuses to the strength of the runes by exploiting their weaknesses, getting revenge and terrifying them, building your legend in the process. The most powerful, epic runes are earned by going after the bosses in Uruk society, the Warchiefs, and by placing death threats to let them know you are after them. Building your army means going after the Warchiefs and using Celebrimbor’s Wraith powers to dominate them and turn them into your followers.