Here's Why Shadow of Mordor Doesn't Use Lord of the Rings in Its Name

It's a Lord of the Rings game that isn't called Lord of the Rings. What gives?

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is very much a Lord of the Rings game, and yet it's "Middle-earth"--with its infuriating lack of intercapping--and not "Lord of the Rings" seen in the new game's title. In an age where companies love to leverage their brands wherever possible, why didn't Warner Bros. Interactive slap the most widely known name it could in front of Shadow of Mordor?

According to lead designer Bob Roberts, it comes down to wanting to distinguish the game from the movies. Speaking with Eurogamer, he explained, "One of the things, our goals from the beginning was not to make a movie game--not to just rehash the same events over again. So just trying to make the best game we can, and make it clear that this is its own thing, it's its own story, it's its own experience. We're not just rehashing a movie. "

The story of the main Lord of the Rings trilogy has been told in games before, both directly and indirectly. Shadow of Mordor delves into an entirely new tale set prior to those books (and movies), doing something completely different to what we've seen before in Tolkien's universe.

"So giving it a name that's clearly its own thing, I think helps kind of separate it," Roberts continued. "If this is your entry point into Lord of the Rings--if you've never seen the movies or never read the books--this will make sense; you'll be able to start here. And then, hopefully, all the other stories you see beyond that once you dig into the rest of the world will be enriched by that."

Roberts went on to say that fans' reception to the game will dictate where developer Monolith goes from here. He stopped short of confirming any plans for sequels, only saying the studio has plans for DLC that "will tell new stories," such as the one that lets you play as Celebrimbor. "Beyond what we're doing for this game, we've got to stay focused--eye on the ball right now on this one," he said.

Shadow of Mordor was released this week to a positive reception on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. You can read our review here.

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