Play Shadow of Mordor and You'll Realize It's Not Assassin's Creed, Dev Says

"Once people get their hands on it, they stop worrying about comparisons…"


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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor developer Monolith Productions was worried about how some people were comparing the Lord of the Rings game to the Assassin's Creed series. This is because, lead designer Bob Roberts says, the developer always knew that Shadow of Mordor could stand on its own.

"I don't know if vindicated is the right word, because we always knew what it feels like to play," Roberts told IGN. "Once people get their hands on it, they stop worrying about the comparisons and it totally feels like its own thing."

The Shadow of Mordor comparisons to Assassin's Creed didn't just come from fans or the media. Former Ubisoft developer Charles Randall even accused Monolith and Warner Bros. of using animations and code from Assassin's Creed II. "Seriously, can someone tell me how Assassin's Creed [II] code and assets are in this Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor game?" Randall wrote on Twitter earlier this year.

Roberts went on to say that Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system, arguably the game's biggest standout feature, ultimately helped the game separate itself from the pack.

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"There's so much new going on there thanks to the Nemesis system and the way we combined all the elements to make the world come to life," he said. "So we never really got that [Assassin's Creed comparison] criticism once people had a chance to play it. As soon as we started showing it, it became clear we had nothing to worry about."

Further, the interview touches on another potentially controversial topic, that being the way in which Shadow of Mordor takes creative liberties with J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy. Some might not think that the game's Ranger/Wraith hybrid hero Talion would be approved by Tolkien himself (such characters did not exist in Middle-earth, after all), but Roberts said Mordor overall is respectful of the iconic author's work.

"We did the very best job we could do as die-hard Tolkien fans ourselves and we have a lot of people paying close attention to make sure we're as authentic as we can be," he said. "There's always going to be different interpretations as it's big, complicated stuff, but we're doing the thing that we think is the most authentic to his work, themes. and ideas. He looks at death, deathlessness, the corruption of power, and so on."

Also in the interview, Roberts revealed that Monolith was able to boost Shadow of Mordor's frame rate on Xbox One thanks to the new developer tools Microsoft released in June.

Shadow of Mordor launched September 30 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. The game has been generally well-received, though we won't have an idea about how well it's selling. For more on Shadow of Mordor, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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