Middle-earth: Shadow Of War trailer shows the new Nemesis system

There’s a moment in the 16 minutes of footage of Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site] below where the clipped voice-over refers to the “RPG systems” as player finds some new armour. It seems odd to me to think of that as the RPG system though when the rest of the game greatly expands the original’s Nemesis system and is about relationships forming dynamically between procedurally created characters. That sounds more like roleplay, to me. Watch it below, it’s cool.

Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system, if you missed it at the time, created rivalries between the half-wraith main character(s) Talion and Celebrimbor and the individual Uruks you were fighting. You’d kick a guy’s butt, he’d escape, and then come back later with a beef, a scar, and a WWE-style cutscene intro. The back half of the game then became about turning those Uruks to your side and infiltrating the enemy army.

Shadow of War takes both those ideas further by putting you in greater command of that new army and letting you do things such as, as shown above, storm enemy forts. The relationships you form with other creatures include becoming nemeses after fighting just as before, but also being betrayed by members of your own army, being saved by members of that army that you’ve deployed as spies, and – as the voice over lady says – “even friendship.” I guess Shadow Of Friendship is a less catchy game name.

This does mean a lot more cutscene-wrestling intros breaking the flow of all the free-running and Arkham Asylum-esque combat, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt at this point given the amount of personality it’s wringing out of a fantasy universe that’s been rendered generic by copycats. Also because there’s a big dragon near the end of the video that you can fly around on.

Shadow of War is due for release on August 25th.


  1. Dogshevik says:

    I donĀ“t know anything about this game or the prequel, but the long-winded trash-talk, even mid-melee, really reminds me of the WWE in all its sillyness.

    Apt comparison.

    • LexW1 says:

      Let me be clear, I fucking LOVE the original, but WWE comparisons are 100% merited, and 100% an AWESOME thing. The original was pretty much completely bonkers. It doesn’t actually deviate from the lore of LotR as much as people say, but in spirit? Oh my god, Tolkien would be spinning in his grave so fast you could use him to power a small city.

      Does that make me sad? No. No it doesn’t.

      Because Shadow of Mordor was awesome, it just got too easy at the end.

      This looks like Shadow of Mordor on coke and LSD, and that is absolutely a great thing.

      • Buggery says:

        I’m a big fan of the tonal shift in these games, like a Middle Earth Gaiden if you will

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        It gets way, way WAY too easy late game, which is a shame, it was so much funnier earlier in the game, not many games have Run away! part of the gameplay circuit like SoM had in the beginning.

        It was all about ambush a few orcs here, run away when too many showed up, and then you got a bit stronger and could actually take on and win against a bunch. Eventually you could easily wade into any sea of orcs to get to the one you were looking for and just brand him to your side.

        Sure hope they add another higher difficulty or something in the sequel.

  2. Culby says:

    In its defense, the WWE Intros might have been one of my favorite bits. I got quite used to being called “Gravewalker”.

  3. Scelous says:

    Isn’t it a little bit early for Warner Bros to be hyping the shit out of this game, given that it’s not out until the end of August?

    • Xocrates says:

      Frankly, them going from announcement to release in 6 months actually sounds like they’ve started really late.

  4. Superpat says:

    This really feels like it’s setting should of been warhammer instead, but the evolution to nemesis system looks interesting!

  5. firebat792 says:

    As long as the Orcs still talk like extras from the Eastenders, it’s going to be terrific :D

    • aircool says:

      Yep, if orcs don’t sound like geezers, they’re just not orcs.

  6. Eightball says:

    Wow, they added exactly what I wanted to the first game and then threw in vaguely turn-based-strategy elements? Unf.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Right? It’s like someone took the spirit of Mount and Blade and gave it Warner Brothers money.

      • Captain Narol says:

        Exactly, the great foundations of M&B mixed with the universe of SoM and its innovative Nemesis system…

        But not only WB’s Money, but also their unvaluable Middle Earth license !

  7. GenialityOfEvil says:

    I didn’t know Graugs were Welsh.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Maybe it’s the other way around ?

    • LexW1 says:

      Wasn’t he a Troll rather than a Graug? Either way that was a pretty sexy Welsh voice, and I guess if you’re going to differentiate them from Orcs, who are sort of shriek-y versions of Cockney geezers, you might as well go with basso profundo Welsh accent.

  8. Generic Manchild says:

    Video got me pumped as fucc. Now I want to go outside and punch a dog.
    (No I don’t. I love animals)

  9. Freud says:

    Seemed a bit heavy on cut scenes. I don’t mind the odd one but having the fighting constantly interrupted because the game wants to show you something will get annoying.

    Other than that, it looks good.

    • ShaunOfTheFuzz says:

      The forts assaults could be the set piece elements of the game; the 1st game wasn’t exactly heavy on cut-scenes during gameplay.

  10. aircool says:

    Something, something, something, Dark Lord…

    Released two days before my birthday, what a treat. I do hope there’s some open areas to roam and not just the set pieces.

    Now I’m going to have to reinstall the original.

  11. Askis says:

    Looks interesting, but I hope the massive amount of cutscenes is just for this trailer.
    Heck, the big bad Overlord fight is mostly smacking about his underlings, then the ally charges in and the boss is killed in a cutscene…
    Might be a QTE with the button prompts removed though.

    It also looks like they removed the hit streak system for finishers and Wraith powers in favor of unlimited executions and a mana bar for the powers, which I actually don’t mind.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Yeah, that looked pretty heavy on the scripting. It can be annoying to have your player agency taken away, like that final cutscene boss kill by your ally. On the other hand, it might be cool if the fight could go another way, if you didn’t have that particular ally to help you.

      • LexW1 says:

        I think, given this was Alpha, that was probably scripted, but from the way the Gravewalker paused, it looked like maybe he pressing a “call ally” button or something, and if so, that could be totally awesome.

        • Gorncaptain says:

          It looked like it played a similar ‘activate’ animation to the first game. With the glowing fist in the air to tell your mooks to kill Uruk’s. So if that’s anything to go by it looks like a player choice to call him in, rather than the game itself interrupting. Which would be fantastic.

  12. ColonelFlanders says:

    “Epic third person open world action RPG”.

    Try not to narrow your scope too much there, WB; you could at least try to squeeze some kart racing and 4X strategy in there!

  13. Deviija says:

    “Shadow of Friendship.” I’d play the heck out of that.

  14. Captain Narol says:

    Totally WTF but absolutely orgasmic !!

    17/10, Game Of The Year 2017 (if they don’t fuck it up)

    I just hope my laptop will be abble to run it…

  15. Scandalon says:

    I was pleasantly surprised by the first one.

    I just hope this one, after “winning”, ends with (what I assume is still Talion) becoming an infamous dark one of legend, and not some “though he used the enemy’s power that taints and corrupts all it touches, it was all fixed with M’cguff’n of Power” – that being one of the key sub-themes of Tolkien and all…