Lord of the Rings prequel Shadow of Mordor is "not a movie game"

Film director Peter Jackson pushed the studio not to make a movie game but rather something entirely original, Monolith reveals.

Early in the development process for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings movie director Peter Jackson saw the game and offered Monolith producers some advice: Don't make a movie game.

"The thing he really pushed us to do and was really supportive of doing was to not make a movie game," Monolith design director Michael de Plater told GameSpot. "He's like 'make the best game you can that's not a movie game.' There's no point in trying to reproduce [the movies] as a game. So he was really supportive."

Jackson's Lord of the Rings films spawned tie-in games from Electronic Arts that told the stories of those films. And in 2012, Warner Bros. released Lego: Lord of the Rings, which also followed Jackson's movies. A Lego: Hobbit game, based on Jackson's movies, is coming later this year.

Instead of basing its story on Jackson's movies or even other events from J.R.R. Tolkien's writing, Monolith's Shadow of Mordor tells an original story set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The story begins the night Sauron returns to Mordor and puts players into the boots of a conflicted Ranger named Talion, who has Wraith-like abilities.

It's not only Jackson who is involved with Shadow of Mordor. de Plater explained that Monolith is working "really closely" with special effects and prop studio WETA Workshop, which rose to prominence for its work on the Lord of the Rings series, for the game's world and character design. He said the New Zealand-based company's attention to detail in the areas of equipment and culture has been "really valuable."

In addition, Tolkien purists might be happy to learn that everything Monolith creates for Shadow of Mordor must be approved by Middle-earth Enterprises, the top-level licensing company for the Lord of the Rings brand. "Everything goes through them," de Plater said.

But it doesn't end there. de Plater pointed out that Warner Bros., which holds the rights to Lord of the Rings video games, has some "professional Tolkien scholars" on staff. "They look after everything," he said.

Also in our interview with de Plater, we asked about the game's branding. Nowhere in the Shadow of Mordor title is "Lord of the Rings" mentioned, despite the game existing in that universe. Is it possible that Warner Bros. is trying to establish a new sub-brand of the larger Lord of the Rings universe with Shadow of Mordor?

"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves at all," de Plater said. "Everything hinges on how good this one is."

Shadow of Mordor is coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC, but not Wii U. No release date has been announced. For more on the game, be sure to check out GameSpot's just-published preview featuring additional insight from de Plater.

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Discussion

99 comments
kennythomas26
kennythomas26

Alright I am sold, I am really interested now.

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

It also isn't a LOTR game.


Nice try though Monolith

praticaljokers
praticaljokers

I see this as an improvement in the lotr series. In my opinion I never thought the movement was any good, you always felt limited, you had to stick a path, war in the north didn't change much, and the combat was ok. Movie games in general are usually not good, but some are, such as 007, star wars, batman, and the matrix path of neo. I like the prince of Persia style climbing they got going on. I do not think they are stealing assassins creed style of climbing. One game title does not own climbing. I think it should be put into more games, like skyrim, that would have been pretty cool, even though you can walk up mountains, still. It sucks, few games let you climb objects. It seems nice, you could climb a tower, and it would be a nice vantage point for an archer. The story has a nice looking twist for once, the gameplay looks great, and the graphics are a major improvement. I like what I saw.

ggregd
ggregd

The initial announcements provoked skepticism about adherence to the lore.  Now this sounds like he "doth protest too much."

LOtR is based on clear deliniation between good and evil.  A dark story and character motivated by revenge just doesn't scan well.

benleslie5
benleslie5 moderator

Looks a lot like Assassin's Creed but set in Middle-Earth

Brakkyn
Brakkyn

I take lore seriously...but they seem to be going through the proper channels.  The Lord of the Rings has always seemed very linear, though, with little happening outside of the main characters, which leaves little room for expansion.  Lord of the Rings Online did a fairly good job, I though.

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

to many people here that take lotr lore way to seriously.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

I'll be keeping a close eye on this.

I have to give credit to Warner Bros.; they've done an excellent job with then licensed properties they've developed games for. I expect this to be good, if not great.

Barighm
Barighm

I dunno man. They said they were being extremely close to lore before and yet I've read entire articles from people saying how they (correctly) got so many things wrong in the movies, so I'm just gonna say this is lies and hype.

cainetao11
cainetao11

Love me some LOTR so I hope its good.

thrombosis45
thrombosis45

Now that's disappointing, I thought they were going to say it wasn't just another cutscene 'game' like Assassin's Creed. Sit through cutscene...walk 2 feet....another cutscene...push 2 buttons....then another cutscene...Yeah,.can't wait for LOTR themed cutscenes, that's what the AC series was missing.

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

I already knew this, and the majority of this article. :O Woot repeat news. Anyways, I'm not massively into the LOTR really. I enjoyed the movies, tried reading the books and found it difficult to get into. 


This game though does interest me. I like what they are doing with the inner mechanics and how the AI and gameplay evolve. 


As always the comments cease to amaze me. lmfao You all do realize, if you try hard enough.. You can compare anything to anything right? Sigh.

jack00
jack00

So it's assassin's creed with a Lotr paint job. That's too bad, I would of prefered an adventure brawler like the two towers or return of the king on ps2 :/

WozzaBoi
WozzaBoi

I keep hearing all this about how the human/wraith hybrid is a total teabagging of the LOTR lore, I am curious as to why exactly (if there are any Tolkien aficionados here that could enlighten me).

Also, I am curious if they will establish this story as part of the official canon of LOTR, or keep it as a "what if?" type deal

BARRICADE_28
BARRICADE_28

Game looks really good so far, but what's with the douchebag-sounding narrator in the video?

vanvir1
vanvir1

The game looks good. I hope it will have at least deacent story. I don't understand the "grabbing orc/goblin as a living shield" as I always though that those vicious creatures would cut through their companions to kill the human.   

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

"It's not shit guys honest, please buy it"

Hurvl
Hurvl

Some may think that Talion is a stupid name and go "Wraith-like abilities? WTF is that ?" and I wonder how it'll end, since it says that he'll venture into Mordor to avenge his family, but then what? They can't kill Sauron at the end, I hardly believe they'd be allowed to do that. Though, I don't really care about who's the final boss as long as the game is fun to to play.

DigitalDame
DigitalDame moderator moderatorstaff

I watched the Gameplay Walkthrough this morning, seems... interesting. 

archav3n
archav3n

This game will be epic IF it's not Lord of the Rings. Stop ruining the lore please.

Balckor
Balckor

If this gets through Middle-Earth Enterprises.. Just.. I hope it doesn't. Is making an open-world roleplaying game set in Middle-earth really that hard to make? One that stays true to the rich lore behind one of the arguably best fantasy stories ever? The foundation and inspiration for most modern day books?


I think I'm asking too much here, please just kill of the Shadows of Mordor hogwash.

pip3dream
pip3dream

@ggregd  is this REALLY true?  There are a few characters that are clearly LAWFUL GOOD in the Tolkien literature, and there are clearly the LAWFUL EVIL, but there are also a very colorful cast of characters that lean towards good or evil, with mixed motivations and ambitions of their own.  I don't see why this new story sticks out at all, it seems to perfectly fit into this relatively gritty light and dark world of good and evil, and shades of in-between.



Sumpskildpadde
Sumpskildpadde

@ggregd Yes, but keep in mind that no where is "lord of the rings" mentioned. I know it ties into the story, but they've emphasised how important it is to them that people seperate this from the movies/books.

reconx89
reconx89

@benleslie5 Yeah I guess, but whenever a game features anything that has too do with Climbing and  stealth people just say "Assassins Creed Clone." and walk out. I think this game has enough differences for it not to be called an "Assassins Creed Clone."

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

@thrombosis45 This is a book based game they need to make the gameplay good but the Story has to be there as well.

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

@WozzaBoi Wraiths need to either have a Ring of power or be stabbed with a Morgul blade. However its also said that those who die in Dishonor can become a wraith but Wraiths are not really alive. And have no physical body

archav3n
archav3n

@DigitalDame I hope there's RPG elements in it. Skilltrees? Loots? Weapons? Armors? Stats? Else it's just AC clone...

I_ArCh0n_I
I_ArCh0n_I

@archav3n Unless the release of this game sends out a virus which modifies every version of the films in every house and simultaneously is able to modify every LOTR book to fit in line with this game I would say your precious lore is safe

douglasflaherty
douglasflaherty

I want my white council! That was going to be so great. :( why do they always have to add mages and stuff to lotr games? Fantasy RPGs can be fun without mages it's so lore breaking. There was that mount and blade "last days of the third age" mod but it lacked the adventurey side of lotr. Best lotr game so far tho. If they do explain this human-wraith merging thing better in the game, I think this could be good though

ggregd
ggregd

@Balckor Try LOtRO.  It might be exactly what you're looking for.  It's free to play.

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

@Balckor Here's the rub though. I feel like the majority of LOTR fanatics are unable to divorce a stand-alone game from their precious lore. It doesn't really matter how good it is, it won't be good enough. For those of us that can get the rose-tinted glasses off and un-lodge the pine cone from our asses, it could be promising. ( Before you spazz out, this isn't directed at you specifically and is meant to be more in general. )

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

@Balckor I doubt they'd be making it WIHTOUT prior consent from M-E Ent. This isn;t a bunch of indie spods we're talking about here.

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

@Sumpskildpadde @ggregd The world of Middle earth has always been good and evil it doesn't matter if this is LOTR its set in between The Hobbit and LOTR which means the lines have been drawn your either a Wraith in service to the Dark lord or a Ranger  in Service to yourself not both.

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

@reconx89 Exactly.

inFamous had similar climbing mechanics and no one accused Ubisoft of copying Sucker Punch's code

Evanduil
Evanduil

@Deadlysyns87 Which is why he's inhabiting a physical body. This argument is so stupid. Tolkein never excplicitly said this deal with Talion and Wraiths cannot happen. He just never did it. 

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

@Deadlysyns87wrong no where did it say that they need the ring of power or be stabbed with the morgul blade to be a wraith, they were just the only instances shown so far that made them wraiths Tolkien never wrote or said that those were the only ways to become a wraith.

DigitalDame
DigitalDame moderator moderatorstaff

@archav3n Well, doesn't the Nemesis System alone makes it less of an AC clone?

agustote12
agustote12

@Deadlysyns87 fight between good and evil is pretty much the whole thing of the books. Tolkiien was catholic so his religion influenced the books a lot. and @ggregd remember Saruman? he was good but then he wa seduced by the power of the One


douglasflaherty
douglasflaherty

There was a guy in silmarillion who was killed by morgoth and became a wraith. He then went to another guy to tell him what was going down before moving on. (He was not evil but was also a wraith) Besides, from what I see, tallion isn't a wraith. A wraith has been bound to him. They are separate people. I just hope that we'll learn a reasonable explanation for how this occurred later in the game (as promised). It does a better job of sticking to the lore than the hobbit movie (Peter Jackson's famous fan fiction) or lotro (why so many mages?!)

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

@Deadlysyns87 which they havent described how talion got wraith powers, so it still goes along with the lore

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

@soccerpzn @Deadlysyns87  Wraiths are ghosts only the Evil ones could do harm because they are powered by Saurons sorcery its mentioned in The Silmarillion  when Gorlim betrays his people he appears before his leader as a Wraith and tells him how to get a ring back. Wraiths only have powers when created through dark sorcery.

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

@Deadlysyns87the ring wraiths are a completely different set of wraiths that were raised and directly affected by Sauron, thats the only reason why they were completely desroyed when sauron died. Wraiths in general is never fully explained or defined by tolkein or tolkeins enterprise, so they can come up with different types of wraiths.

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

@soccerpzn @Deadlysyns87 Your wrong Wraiths in Tolkien's work only come from what i said however if this is supported by Tolkien Enterprises it will exist in a canon of its own. However Tolkien has given us his Lore on Wraiths in multiple books they have no Physical form which is why the Ring Wraiths could only die when Sauron did. His sorcery kept the Evil spirit alive.

archav3n
archav3n

@DigitalDame I hope the combat is satisfying. At the moment it seems like Arkham Combo and counter there.