You're Not Allowed To See Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
The desolation of screenshots
The reason you're not allowed to see this new Lord of the Rings game, announced earlier today, is because it's all bound up in a multi-day slow-reveal at Big Game Retailer's In-Store Magazine, which has not as yet progressed past 'lone piece of concept art' stage. So what you're expected to do is feel a surge of desire for this "next-generation, third-person action game set in Middle-earth that explores an original story of vengeance and redemption" even though you don't have the foggiest idea what it looks like.
I was going to be terribly stroppy and refuse to post about the Monolith-developed Shadow Of Mordor until such exclusive silliness had passed, but then I read a thing that sounds rather interesting even though the general grimdark stuff was somewhat turning me off. I'll tell you what the thing is, if you'll indulge my clearly exploitative lead-in.
"Every enemy that players face is a unique individual, differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses. Through the Nemesis System, enemy relationships and characteristics are shaped by player actions and decisions to create personal archenemies that remember and adapt to the player and are distinct to every gameplay session. Gamers are able to craft their own battles, enemies and rewards within the dynamic world that remembers and adapts to their choices, delivering a unique experience to every player."
That's a whopper of a claim, and I hope MESOM can live up to it without just settling on 'this Orc has more hitpoints than this other Orc." Fights that mean something, because that enemy truly hates you, and/or because that enemy does or says something that causes it to be in some way memorable. Great idea, definitely. Perhaps it could be Monolith's path to redemption after a few so-so years. If, if, that claim pans out. If. If iffity if.
As for more on what the game is, here's more pasting for you, in lieu of having anything else to go for now.
"In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, gamers take on the role of Talion, a valiant ranger whose family is slain in front of him the night Sauron and his army return to Mordor, moments before his own life is taken. Resurrected by a Spirit of vengeance and empowered with Wraith abilities, Talion ventures into Mordor and vows to destroy those who have wronged him. Through the course of his personal vendetta, Talion uncovers the truth of the Spirit that compels him, learns the origins of the Rings of Power and ultimately confronts his true nemesis."
I'm almost certain ol' JRR would have balked at such a frothing, lore-bending setup, but as this is being made with the apparent input of Peter Jackon's lot rather than the Tolkien estate, they're hardly going to worry about an exaggerated and hyper-violent take on LOTR.
Out on PC and the new wave of toyboxes. There's a website, but at present it only offers an admin login form. Handy! A piece of concept art, featuring a moody bloke with a sword and glowing eyes, can be found on the website of Big Game Retailer's In-Store Magazine if you're so inclined, but so far there is no sign of what Shadow Of Mordor actually looks like. I solemnly swear to show you screenshots once they are public. Or at least tell someone else to show you.