Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor Has Assassins, No Creeds

By Nathan Grayson on May 21st, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

I swear I'm not Eziooooooooooooooooooooo

I remember when Lord of the Rings games legitimately excited me. Of course, I was roughly 12 seconds old back then and wanted to grow up to be Legolas (life experience has since taught me that Aragorn is where it’s at and also that far better fantasy literature exists), but there was a time when the prospect of mowing down a million orcs like so many blades of sickly green grass seemed like an idyllic, Shire-worthy way to spend an afternoon. I wondered, then, if Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor‘s latest trailer would rekindle that feeling in me, that wide-eyed reverence of a youth boxed away in the basements of time. Long story short, it didn’t. Kinda made me want to play Assassin’s Creed, though.

So basically, runes give your weapons new powers, like fire arrows and videogames. You get them by sending death threats to orcs and then slaughtering chieftains in cold blood while they’re surrounded by loyal friends, which doesn’t sound weirdly sociopathic at all.

Combat, meanwhile, is unabashedly cribbing notes from Assassin’s Creed and the Batman: Arkhamplacetime series. There are far worse Heroes Of Our Time to liberally imitate, but it could be maybe a teensy bit less obvious about it.

Beyond that, Shadow of Mordor sure looks like a Lord of the Rings game. More Peter Jackson-style design, more easily enraged orcs, more high fantasy. On the upside, FEAR and No One Lives Forever developer Monolith is steering the ship, but their track record is kinda all over the place these days.

Shadow of Mordor will be out in October. Are you feeling up for some wanton murder in Mordor?

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90 Comments »

  1. unangbangkay says:

    Me likey! Always wanted a “high fantasy AC-style game”, now that we have AC with guns (watchdogs) and regular AC. I haven’t tired of that style yet, I’m ashamed to admit.

    • yhancik says:

      (I couldn’t help but read your comment with AC meaning Air Conditioning)

      • Ross Angus says:

        In a similar vein, when someone describes themselves as having a GSH, I can’t help but read it as “Gas Central Heating”.

  2. Shockeh says:

    I’m unashamedly praying this strays more onto the Arkham side of the combat spectrum than Creed. The combat system that Rocksteady created is easily the better of the two, and it’s genuinely satisfying to get a really good combo going, whils the AC system is ‘Wait, press Counter’ and often feels so much like a chore it’s actually more fun to run away and generate a chase.

    • wodin says:

      Me too. The combat in Batman was very good indeed, almost rhythmic.

  3. 2late2die says:

    Nothing wrong of cribbing good ideas from other games, half the industry is built on that. I do agree they are a bit too obvious about it, but that’s a small nitpick more than anything. I still love the core mechanics of AssCreed games, it’s just the repetitiveness that kills it, and even then “kills” is a strong word since I just recently started Freedom Cry and am actually having fun with it.

    Anyway, fantasy Altair (or Ezio, depending on your preferences) running around ganking orcs? Bring it on! :)

  4. Drake Sigar says:

    Wha-what’s going on?!

    Oh. I was so bored I lost consciousness for a moment. Which is quite awkward because now I’m writing this from an upturned car.

  5. clumsyandshy says:

    Looks pretty cool!

    Would have been even more interesting if it wasn’t for the boring LoTR license & setting.

  6. db1331 says:

    Not to sound smaug, but I hope that was console footage. The framerate looked to be in the 20s at times.

    • bbungle says:

      It’s a youtube video – they don’t go above 30fps.

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        But will the final product have mordor frames per second?

      • db1331 says:

        I’m aware. The game didn’t even look to be hitting the 30fps limit for YT. That’s why I said it looked “In the 20s.”

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          People are saying this is Assassin’s Creed in a Lotr setting, but I think they have Altaired it enough to make it stand apart from that game.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      I’m surprised this obsession over frame rate continues to dragon. Most 2D animation makes do with 12 fps and looks fine and this does not look like the kind of game that requires twitch response. I’ve yet to play a game where I felt like anything over 30 fps significantly improved the experience.

    • mr.black says:

      It definitely won’t look so Gandalful on a standard PC.

  7. HiFiHair says:

    One epic rare loot to rule them all.

  8. mouseclicker says:

    I guess it makes sense that Nathan would be just fine with Shadow of Mordor shamelessly stealing all of its ideas from other games, since the “far better fantasy literature” he mentions did just that with Lord of the Rings. Consistent, if nothing else.

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      And, to be fair, Lord of the Rings is just an amalgamation of Norse, English, and Christian folklore.

      All creativity is a remix of a remix of a remix.

      • wodin says:

        ..and his WW1 experiences…oh and Catholicism.

      • SillyWizard says:

        To be fair, every story that has arisen in modern times is a product of those that have come before.

        It’s never been about telling a new story — it’s always been about how the story is told.

        “…far better fantasy literature exists.”

        What an ignorant thing to say.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Better to have good tools in everyone’s ‘hands than in a dead mans.

    • Fattsanta says:

      That kind of pissed me off, Nathan disappoints me again.

    • Werthead says:

      Indeed, because fantasy as a genre only came into existence in 1954 and did not exist before it (or, at a push, 1937). This might come as a surprise to E.R Eddison, Frank Baum, Robert E. Howard, Jack Vance, Mervyn Peake and Poul Anderson, however.

      Tolkien is a vitally important author in the history of fantasy. He’s very good, and clearly hugely influential. However, that does not automatically translate into being the best. There’s plenty of other authors in the genre, before and since, who have taken it into new and more interesting places. There’s plenty who don’t crib from Tolkien at all, and others who do who seek to challenge and re-examine Tolkien’s ideas instead.

      The days of lazy authors copy-pasting LotR for a quick profit are, mercifully, long behind us at this point. Insisting that it is still the norm merely shows a lack of knowledge about the current state of the genre.

    • killias2 says:

      I’m a Tolkien fan (I read the Silmarillion for Christ’s sake… and can spell it correctly on my first try!), but let’s be real here… Not all epic fantasy rips off Tolkien. In fact, a lot of the epic fantasy these days seems aggressively anti-Tolkien. This is true even of authors who revere Tolkien (George Martin, Joe Abercrombie), but there are also authors who don’t cite him as influence at all (Michael Moorcock, Glen Cook, Steven Erikson).

      The moral clarity and casual racism of Tolkien is pretty much anathema to the best contemporary epic fantasy. He obviously left a huge stamp on the “typical” fantasy setting, but even that has become sort of frowned upon. None of the best work written now has elves or hobbits or dwarves or orcs. In fact, other than Tolkien, I’m not sure I’ve read a single book with any of those races in it.

      In video games, the influence seems much stronger, but I also think we ignore other major influences. Vance’s Dying Earth series, for example, was a -major- influence on D&D. Some of the stories read like someone wrote down their adventures from playing RPGs. It’s really that strong. Howard’s Conan, Lovecraft’s.. unvierse, and Moorcock’s Elric are also significant influences. In Japanese games, the influence of manga and anime runs deep.

  9. draigdrwg says:

    Think that the LOTR license is up there with the 40k one in terms of “Licenses currently being squandered on bizarre projects”

    • Cockie says:

      The fact that this is getting made but Battle For Middle Earth can’t be sold anymore makes me sad

    • scannerbarkly says:

      Truthfully I am glad to see at least one game move away from the central lore and cast of characters.

    • cpmartins says:

      And no actual RPG in sight. The one license who’d be ripe for it, ignored. And I mean an actual RPG, with big, meaty conversation trees, choices and their inevitable consequences and deep character customization. Make it so they fall outside of the books timeline and you’d have my dream fantasy rpg.

  10. Dawngreeter says:

    “I remember when Lord of the Rings games legitimately excited me.”

    I too have grown cynical about anything remotely related to lords, rings or any relationship thereof. Then during some ridiculous closing sale of a local gaming club/store I got The One Ring RPG. That’s the first thing since the movies ruined everything that I felt legitimately excited about LotR. For anyone stuck in the same boat, I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a look: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/

    It made me recall that Tolkien had some really awesome stories to tell. And that those stories aren’t the stories we remember from movies and shit games.

    • Phantom_Renegade says:

      The movies ruined everything? The only reason there is such a big amount of lotr stuff out there today is because Peter Jackson had a hard on for those books. That RPG you like? Wouldn’t exist. Any videogame set in the Lotr universe? Wouldn’t exist. If you’ve enjoyed any lotr thing in the past ten years, Jackson says hi, you’re welcome.

      You don’t have to like the movies, but saying they ruined everything is ridiculously pretentious.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        I apologize for being offensive to your belief system, but that’s what I think.

      • Sandepande says:

        They didn’t ruin everything, they merely put a lot of emphasis on the epic stuff, and did some odd rework on the characters. The production design, however, was really, really nice.

        • Distec says:

          Yeah, the films are fine.

          I get why somebody might have an issue with Jackson’s take on Tolkien’s work. But really, they’re okay. Maybe we can save words like “ruined” and “terrible” for more deserving things.

          • Dawngreeter says:

            Maybe it’s just me but I can’t get Elf Surfing out of my head. You know, Legolas surfing down some stairs on a shield while murdering a small Uruk-hai village. And Legolas surfing down mumak trunks while reducing a mid-sized Harad town to a scarcely populated frontier encampment through cleaver arrow application. I thought maybe Hobbit would be better. But apparently Legolas is now water surfing on Dwarf heads this time around, all the while applying arrow-based counter intelligence on Ork scouts.

            I think that warrants the use of “ruined”.

      • thebigJ_A says:

        Saying they ruined everything *is* pretentious, but thinking the movies are the only reason lotr games exist is just factually inaccurate. LotR was huge long before those movies, and the influence of the books far outweighs the movies. They bumped up the number of products some due to tie-ins and cash-ins, but beyond that all the movies did was make a lot of the lotr products have the Peter Jackson visual style and action-emphasis (which is unfortunate).

    • casusbelli says:

      I had a similar experience, and also have to recommend the RPG system wholeheartedly. Although I liked the movies, the RPG really got at the essence of Tolkien’s stories and its themes, making me want to create similar stories of my own. And all that set in a neglected part of Middle Earth.

  11. Tony M says:

    “His Sword Rarglargh, His Bow Aeketiede, and his Dagger Twyknnule.” Yep, thats Lord of the Rings alright.

  12. Phantom_Renegade says:

    The game looks good, but I keep remembering that WB is publishing, and what a nightmarish buggy crapfest the previous Arkham game was on release and then their stance on not patching it ever instead churning out DLC. If WB had not been publishing, this would have been day or week one. Now? When I read conclusively that bugs are not an issue.

  13. tnzk says:

    If you were 12 and wanted to be Legolas, then you were taken in by the Lord of the Rings movies, not the Lord of the Rings books. Legolas is completely badass in the movies. He’s an actual character in the novels.

    But no, there are very few, if any, fantasy literature that go toe-to-toe with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It’s up there with the “Alice” novels and Gulliver’s Travels. That’s right: you don’t compare Lord of the Rings with the rest of the subgenre it influenced.

    Woe unto the person who compares A Song of Fire and Ice or The Wheel of Time to LotR.

    • wodin says:

      When I was a kid I wanted to be Strider more than any other character (going back to the early eighties, was about 11 or 12). The film did him justice aswell I thought. The worse thing for me about the film was the way the Elves looked…Galadrial wasn’t to bad but the others..hmm..

      • arccos says:

        Being Strider sounded like a lot of work. I’d rather be Butterbur!

    • GardenOfSun says:

      This, very much this, absolutely this.

    • Werthead says:

      Actually, Legolas is barely even present in the books. He doesn’t really do anything and even Tolkien later admitted he was there for purposes of diversity in the Fellowship. As he said, Legolas achieved the least out of all the Fellowship. Jackson went ridiculously over the top turning him into a one-elf army, but at least it made him distinctive.

      “But no, there are very few, if any, fantasy literature that go toe-to-toe with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It’s up there with the “Alice” novels and Gulliver’s Travels. That’s right: you don’t compare Lord of the Rings with the rest of the subgenre it influenced.”

      Saying LotR is untouchable and cannot be criticised is a ludicrous statement. It is an important and fine work but hardly perfect. It also has moments of terrible and unnecessary padding, some dire songs and poetry (Tolkien could occasionally do a fine poem, but 90% of the time turned out purple tripe) and very mixed fortunes in characterisation (brilliant with Boromir, Gollum, Sam and Frodo; okay with the likes of Eowyn, Aragorn and Gimli; terrible with Gandalf, Faramir and Legolas). There are also moments of unsurpassed brilliance, like the Scouring of the Shire, the Ride of the Rohirrim and the descent through Moria. There are also moments of awfulness, like the Tom Bombadil interlude and the fact that – as the films have emphasised – Tolkien goes to the “Call in the eagles!” well a couple of times too often when his characters get into trouble.

      “Woe unto the person who compares A Song of Fire and Ice or The Wheel of Time to LotR.”

      Why? ASoIaF has vastly superior and more interesting characterisation than most of LotR. It’s more psychologically interesting, complex and darker than LotR but not, despite claims to the contrary, THE SILMARILLION; Tolkien was doing incest, genocide and slaughtering almost his entire main cast years before it got fashionable. In terms of prose writing Tolkien has GRRM beat hands-down, but in terms of dialogue they’re not far off one another. Tolkien has much better worldbuilding in detail but also a lack of convincing scale (everywhere the story’s happening is vitally interesting but everywhere else appears to barely-inhabited wilderness).

      Apart from the angles of actually having female characters doing stuff and also having entire languages invented for it, WoT isn’t really comparable to Tolkien at all, though.

    • MichaelGC says:

      I distinctly recall being 13 (close enough?) and wanting to be Legolas, and that was in 1988.

      (The fact that I was a short dumpy kid with all the inherent poise & grace of an upturned turtle may have been a factor.)

    • mr.black says:

      I wanted to be Frodo. He even has a very similar name to me. Ultimate powah!! And subsequent rejection for the sake of purity, bitchez!

  14. Jahooba says:

    This looks pretty great. I’m lovin’ the animations, which are very fluid.

    However, one thing I didn’t like about AC4 was the really long kill animations – they were really drawn out and totally broke the flow of combat. In the first AC a perfect counter would just have your sword shoved through the guy’s chest and that was that – it was so quick. I loved that. So, anyway, I’d like to see quick kill animations in SoM.

    • tyren says:

      Every game with a slow-motion killcam needs an option to turn it off.

      One slow-motion decapitation feels pretty badass. After decapitation number thirty, maybe it’d feel a touch more satisfying for that head to go flying at full speed.

  15. DasBlob says:

    I didn’t play any of the AC titles (because Ubisoft), and just the first to Arkham titles (and liked them), so I’m not bored by this type of combat yet. If the campaign is basically “hunt down orc, hunt down next orc” this could be a game I play for an hour each evening after a mentally exhausting day at the office, when I couldn’t stomach anything more complex anyway. Now, if only there was an option to rename the orcs, say, from “Rukdug the Savage” to “Peter from Accounting”…

  16. Tuor says:

    ‘also that far better fantasy literature exists’

    Nathan Grayson, you are dead to me now.

    • Heimmrich says:

      yeah, whats up with that. i dont even like lotr that much (im a hobbit guy), but its impossible to not recognize his work as something great and woeful.

    • Cyda says:

      I know right, I read that and my brain went “what what what what WHAT!!”.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      “far better exists”

      Sounds like the point of view of someone whose initial, or at least primary, contact with the world was the visually nice but shallow movies (something that’s unfortunately more and more the case as time goes by) and all the viscera that they influenced.

      Some approaches, some might arguably be *as* good… but FAR better? Name it, because whatever this mystery literature is that’s vastly better than Tolkien and yet somehow almost unheard of by the public is something I’ve got to read.

      People should check out the Tolkien Professor, especially his older stuff.

  17. Lone Gunman says:

    Is there some kind of law in place that games journalists must make a sly dig at LotR? I’ve seen it a lot recently.

    Even though I’m not much of a shakespear fan I still understand why his work is considered to be so important.

    • The Random One says:

      Understanding a work’s importance doesn’t require treating it as a holy cow beyond criticism.

      • thebigJ_A says:

        Yeah, but just hipstering it like was done here isn’t really criticism.

  18. Jstn says:

    Read this for an article that gives both a better understanding of some of the depth of Tolkien and a game that does Tolkien right (card game, though—not PC).

  19. povu says:

    He looks like the Prince of Persia from Warrior Within. I checked, I’m pretty sure it’s the same voice actor. :D

  20. lemoncookies says:

    “also that far better fantasy literature exists”

    A spurious claim if I ever saw one. Tolkien remains the gold standard amid a pile inferior imitators, like the hilariously overrated quack George RR Martin (notice the RR he chooses to keep in his name). Name me “far better” works of fantasy than Tolkien’s and I’ll take a shotgun to my nuts.

    • arccos says:

      I just assume the RR stands for rail-road, because he looks like a train conductor close to retirement.

    • rittenhaus says:

      I am genuinely curious to see some names named of far better fantasy works than Professor Tolkien’s. I would read the hell out of any such things. There might be a crate of Scotch eggs waiting for the first person to name names in this thread.

    • Erayos says:

      I’d say Robin Hobb or Glenn Cook have some better fantasy works, but yeah, Tolkien is a pretty cool fantasy standard.

      • SillyWizard says:

        Glen Cook isn’t “better.” He’s pretty fun to read (II’m on book 7 of the Black Company series as we speak) but he’s certainly not “better” than Tolkien.

        Glen Cook has more in common with Robert Howard than Tolkien — he’s a pulp novelist. His books are great fun, and certainly easier to read than Tolkien’s, but by any serious literary standard, Tolkien blows him out of the water.

        :/

        • Erayos says:

          You may be right, I’m pretty sure it depends on what you seek in a book. I can’t really compare the two with a pure literary point of vue though, being in a country with some barbaric language, I just had to deal with some translations many years ago.

          While Tolkien’s universe is far superior to any other in my opinion, with the strongest lore of all fantasy books, I still think the main plots are pretty weak. Robin Hobb is better at this exercise, while keeping a not so bad lore and universe around it, which is why I’d consider her a bit better than Tolkien. (You made me realise that I maybe shouldn’t give Glenn Cook as an example, my memories of his work are fuzzy.)

          • rittenhaus says:

            Thanks for noting those two… it would be interesting to see Nathan’s picks as well.

    • Werthead says:

      ‘R.R.’ refers George’s middle names, Richard Raymond. He also only started using the initials because when he started writing as ‘George Martin’ (in the 1960s), people kept asking him if he was the manager of the Beatles. Also, for the first 30 years of his career Martin wrote horror and science fiction, and no fantasy at all until he published A GAME OF THRONES in 1996. So yes, it is a coincidence, as much as people don’t want to believe that.

      “Name me “far better” works of fantasy than Tolkien’s and I’ll take a shotgun to my nuts.”

      I wouldn’t necessarily say “far better”, but these are all at least batting similar averages:

      THE DYING EARTH series and LYONESSE TRILOGY by Jack Vance
      THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN by Gene Wolfe
      ASH: A SECRET HISTORY by Mary Gentle
      THE BROKEN SWORD by Poul Anderson
      THE GORMENGHAST TRILOGY by Mervyn Peake
      THE PRINCE OF NOTHING and ASPECT-EMPEROR trilogies by R. Scott Bakker
      THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN by Steven Erikson
      A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by George R.R. Martin (caveat: if he sticks the landing, which is not certain)
      The MYTHAGO WOOD books by Robert Holdstock
      The DISCWORLD books by Terry Pratchett
      The SANDMAN series by Neil Gaiman

      I would also rank the following as not really ‘better’, but certainly worth looking at as works of fantasy that go in different and more interesting directions than just ripping off Tolkien:

      THE ETERNAL SKY trilogy by Elizabeth Bear
      Pretty much anything by K.J. Parker (but especially the FENCER TRILOGY and THE FOLDING KNIFE)
      The CROWN OF STARS series and CROSSROADS trilogy by Kate Elliott
      The LAND FIT FOR HEROES trilogy by Richard Morgan

      And then there’s works which take a highly revisionist look at Tolkien and critique him through their own stories:

      THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT by Stephen R. Donaldson
      THE SUNDERING duology by Jacqueline Carey
      MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN by Tad Williams
      THE TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND by Diana Wynne Jones (although to be fair this is more riffing off the post-Tolkien imitators of the 1980s than Tolkien himself)

      • Cockie says:

        The only ones I’ve read from that list are Pratchett (who is my favourite author) and the Thomas Covenant books, which I gave up on halfway the second book because the main character is so unlikable.
        So I guess I know what I’ll be reading the coming months, thanks!

      • Laurentius says:

        I can’t comment on whole list but I read Wolfe, Anderson, Tad Williams of course Pratchett and Gaiman and liking it as a fan of fantasy literature but saying it’s better then Tolkien or even on par on average makes my brain melt but I understand : “de gustibus non est disputandum”. Yet when you make such unrelated claim as “far better fatnasy literature better then LoTR”, well seems unecessary.

        • Cockie says:

          But he didn’t claim that

          • Laurentius says:

            I was refering to Nathan Greyson line that initialized this discussion that of course can not have any resolve and as a defense of comment that may sound if i dismiss or look down at Werthead literatur preferences which i am not. It’s just Romans already knew that kind of discussion can not go anywhere and as such Mr Grayson opinion on LoTR seems to me unnecessary.

          • Cockie says:

            Ah, I see. Ok then.

      • killias2 says:

        Great post, but I think you’re missing some of the newer epic fantasy.

        Stuff I’d put up there:
        Joe Abercrombie – First Law Trilogy and the Standalones
        Steven Erikson – Malazan Book of the Fallen

        Other competitors:
        Patrick Rothfuss – Kingkiller Chronicles (sorta dependent on how book 3 lands)
        Scott Lynch – Gentleman Bastards
        Peter Brett – Demon Cycle
        Daniel Abraham – Both his Dagger and the Coin and The Long Price series are quite good

        • Werthead says:

          Erikson is on there. Abercrombie is huge fun and his work has some bite to them (and the only Tolkien comparison is the “What if Gandalf was a total arsehole?” angle), but I’m not sure they’re going to be considered classics. Scott Lynch is on the same level. They are both highly readable and entertaining though.

          I like Rothfuss (once got a bear hug from him) but I feel his books are very overlong with not very much happening. Nice writing, but he needs more meat to the story. I also enjoyed Brett’s first book up to the rape scene, and then the second and third books became very rape-happy to the point of silliness, especially the female characters who are traumatised by it and the male ones who fight back to become badass magical ninja Muslims. The WTF became too strong to take the story seriously. First book, with the tattoo magic, is great though.

          Abraham is superb, especially THE LONG PRICE QUARTET (and his soon-to-be-a-TV-series SF work, THE EXPANSE). He should have been on the list.

          • SillyWizard says:

            What?! Blasphemy! I would happily consume Rothfuss’ writing at double the length and half the action! Triple and a third! An order of magnitude each way!

            The guy is a beast of awesome. I would easily pay $5 to entangle my beard with his.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Maybe even $6.

          • xao says:

            I’m not sure that writing books that are “overlong with not very much happening” is necessarily a disqualification if we’re using Lord of the Rings as a touchstone…

      • rittenhaus says:

        Thanks for the many intriguing suggestions. I’d read some of Peake before and really enjoyed his use of language, though almost nothing actually happens, at least in the first Gormenghast book. Hadn’t encountered Vance or Holdstock before… will be fun to investigate.

        • Werthead says:

          Holdstock’s work is very heavy on mythology and atmosphere. It’s quite different from a lot of the other stuff mentioned, but it’s very good. Fun gaming fact: Holdstock also wrote the original novella that accompanied ELITE, THE DARK WHEEL. He was thinking of writing a sequel for the next ELITE game, but passed away in 2009, long before it became a reality.

          Vance’s impact on fantasy cannot be overstated. He’s not a household name like Tolkien, but Vance influenced so many other writers – GRRM, Roger Zelazny, Pratchett, Wolfe, Gaiman, M. John Harrison, Gygax and hence all of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS (which even uses Vance’s magic system) – that he can comfortably called the second-most-influential author in the entire genre, though facing some stiff competition from Howard. THE DYING EARTH is good but it’s the second and third books, about the insanely overconfident rogue and trickster Cugel, which are genius. The whole LYONESSE trilogy is also brilliant. His use of language is superb.

      • xao says:

        I greatly enjoy much of Tolkien’s work, but I’ll argue for authors like Roger Zelazny, Steven Brust, Glen Cook, Steven Erickson, Robin Hobb, Patrick Rothfuss, Daniel Abraham, Terry Pratchett, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, and yes, George RR Martin to be worthy of mention in the Great Fantasy Authors discussion. Even if you’re not a Song of Ice and Fire fan, it’s worth checking out some of his other work.

        It’s worth noting that too many Tolkien comparisons focus on the Lord of the Rings and try to stack up another’s entire body of work against it. It’s tough for anyone’s entire output to match up with a single masterpiece. Sure, not everything Zelazny wrote was on par with Lord of the Rings… but neither was everything Tolkien wrote.

  21. Juke says:

    Echoing disappointment with Nathan’s too-cool-for-school dig at LotR in a perfectly routine game project update post. It’s become common, too; these days I check the bylines before clicking any post; in some cases, I move on even if the topic interests me. It’s disappointing. Honestly, maybe the Greyson Flair is fun for some folks, but I think Nate reports just fine without needing to “punch up” his articles to match some ephemeral RPS editorial voice. Hoping this comes off as somewhat constructive; I think Nathan’s a fine contributor, but it’s not necessary to hang on to that scrappy, new kid’s more-is-better approach forever. You’re part of the team, now! You won! Take your cues from the veterans, amigo. They know how to pace themselves for the stretch run.

  22. HisDivineOrder says:

    I remember way back when Monolith made really GREAT games.

    WB really mashed them into generic paste.

  23. Laurentius says:

    Let’s take a jab at LoTR for no apparent reason, or maybe just to sound cool on the Interent. This is getting hillarious.

    • Distec says:

      Got quotas to fill, son. Haven’t gone against the grain hard enough.

  24. cylentstorm says:

    Why would anyone be ashamed of having fun in a game? I still like AC, even though I think that they’ve stretched the soul of the series a bit too thin. (Loved/finished Black Flag, but have yet to finish Brotherhood or play it’s sequels.)

    Anyway–I showed an early trailer of this (SoM) to a friend who absolutely hates Lord of the Rings, sort of likes AC, but digs fantasy themed games…and he was more than intrigued. Here’s to hoping this is one LotR title that does more than parrot the movies’ (or the books’) aesthetic and naiveté. I’ll give it a shot, anyway.

  25. MichaelGC says:

    Will there be riddles?

  26. thebigJ_A says:

    He just tried to hipster LotR.

    And it came off as pretentious as hipstering usually does.

  27. The Random One says:

    A 13-year-old’s LOTR Fanfic: The Game

    But I’ll play it and probably enjoy it.

  28. Deadly Sinner says:

    I saw the same couple of animations repeated throughout the trailer, which is never a good sign. I do wish that developers would quit doing drawn out execution animations that interrupt the game-play, unless they are rare (like for a special move) or more interesting than these generic animations.