Monolith Productions is working on one of the most revered fantasy franchises for its new Lord of the Rings prequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and if comments from studio head Kevin Stephens are any indication, the developer is not taking the opportunity lightly. While some may say recent Lord of the Rings console games like The Lord of the Rings: War in the North and The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest have left much to be desired, if Shadow of Mordor suffers the same fate, it won't be for lack of trying.
Asked by Game Informer what the project means to Monolith Productions as a studio, Stephens said, "Everything. This is our future. There's nothing more important than this project."
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic work may also be happy to know Monolith is working with Lord of the Rings licensing company Middle-earth Enterprises, as well as Academy Award-winning film director Peter Jackson, and effects studio Weta for Shadow of Mordor. Last week, lead writer Christian Cantamessa said Shadow of Mordor will be "very respectful" of Tolkien's source material, while at the same time offering a new take on the series.
If Shadow of Mordor turns out to be a success, more games could be in store, but Stephens isn't ready to commit to anything just yet.
"Our ambition is to make the best possible game experience we can. And obviously, we have lots of ideas, and we love the IP, but it's pure conjecture about a franchise or the future," he said. "We always set out to make something that could be the next best franchise. That's always our goal."
Shadow of Mordor tells an original story set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The game's protagonist is a conflicted Ranger named Talion, who has Wraith-like abilities. The game is coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC, but not Wii U. No release date has been announced.
Though Warner Bros. has yet to announce a release date for Shadow of Mordor, the publisher yesterday announced Lego: The Hobbit for a spring 2014 release on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, 3DS, PC, and Mac.