Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the direct sequel to the 2014 sleeper hit Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, will release on August 22 on all major platforms. The announcement comes a day after images of the game leaked via a pre-order listing on Target Canada’s website yesterday.
The game is on its way to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC, but also PlayStation 4 Pro and the still-undated and untitled Project Scorpio from Xbox. It will also be a part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program.
The announce trailer, above, is purely cinematic but does promise a gameplay reveal trailer on March 8 so we’ll check back in there in a week to see how it looks.
Shadow of War will mark the return of the previous game’s twin heroes Talion and Celebrimbor, known together as The Bright Lord. The two will once again find themselves deep within enemy territory, battling to turn Mordor against the Dark Lord Sauron, piece by bloody, hard-fought piece.
One of our favourite parts of the original game was the inclusion of an innovative new tech developer Monolith Productions called the Nemesis System that tracked encounters with surviving enemies and allowed them to remember your tactics, meaning you could never surprise them with the same plan of attack twice. The Nemesis System returns in Shadow of War and, if the press release is to be believed, will now be applied not just to enemies but the world around you. Environments, characters and enemies alike are all tied to your decisions and playstyle, and through this every player will create a version of Mordor that is entirely their own.
The Nemesis system now also includes Nemesis Fortresses, dynamically generated strongholds built to defend specifically against you that the player must figure out how to break.
“Monolith Productions continues to innovate by introducing deeper, more personalized gameplay experiences, coupled with authentic storytelling,” said president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment David Haddad, in a prepared statement from the press release. “Middle-earth: Shadow of War truly drives the genre forward by taking the Nemesis System to new heights and allowing players to create their own personal journey within Middle-earth.”
It wouldn’t be Warner Bros. Interactive, however, if they weren’t trying to wring every last dollar out of you however, so let’s talk about editions and pre-orders.
There are four different versions of the game — standard, silver, gold and mithril. While Warners haven’t set pricing at the time of writing, we can tell you what each version gets you.
The standard version will get you a legendary Champions War Part, as well as an exclusive epic Sword of Dominion.
The silver edition will get you the Slaughter Tribe Nemesis Expansion, the Outlaw Tribe Nemesis Expansion and a Silver War Chest, all worth US$90 according to Warners. The aforementioned expansions include new Orc tribes that contain new enemies, followers, missions, abilities, weapons, Fortresses and wilderness changes, as well as a Mythic Gear set.
The gold edition stacks with the silver edition, giving everything listed above and adding the Blade of Galadriel Story Expansion, The Desolation of Mordor Expansion and a Gold War Chest over a Silver one. Warners says all of this is worth US$125. These story expansions add to the game’s main campaign, and add playable characters and abilities, new side quests, enemies, allies and more.
Last, the mithril edition will get you everything in the silver and gold editions plus a limited edition 15″ Tar-Goroth Balrog vs. Carnan Drake statue, a suite of exclusive lithographs, a premium case containing a magnetic Ring of Power, steelbook cover, soundtrack, cloth map of Modor, Tribes sticker pack and a gold and mithril war chest. Warners says this set is worth over US$350.
Time will tell on Australian pricing, and we’ll bring you that information as soon as we know more. For now, it’s just good to know for sure that we’re going to be heading back to Mordor in the very near future.