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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Shadow of Mordor cover art.jpg
Developer(s) Monolith Productions
Publisher(s) Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Director(s) Michael de Plater
Producer(s) Michael Forgey
Designer(s) Bob Roberts
Chris Hoge
Artist(s) Phil Straub
Writer(s) Christian Cantamessa
Composer(s) Garry Schyman
Nathan Grigg
Engine LithTech
Platform(s) Linux[1]
Microsoft Windows
OS X[2]
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release
Genre(s) Action role playing game
Mode(s) Single-player

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is an open world action-role playing video game developed by Monolith Productions and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. An original adaptation of the legendarium created by J. R. R. Tolkien, the game is based on Tolkien's fantasy novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and is heavily influenced by director Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film adaptations. Officially announced in November 2013, it was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in September 2014 and released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November 2014.

The story of the game takes place between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The players control Talion, a ranger who was killed by the Black Hand of Sauron. The wraith of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor bonds with Talion's body, and together they set out to avenge the deaths of their loved ones. Players can engage in melee combat, and utilize wraith abilities to fight and manipulate enemies. The game introduces the Nemesis System, which allows the artificial intelligence of non-playable characters to remember the deaths of the game's protagonist and react accordingly.

The game's development began in 2011. In order to create an accurate environment and be consistent with the books written by Tolkien, the developer consulted several people from Warner Bros., as well as Peter Jackson. In addition, the team received assistance from Weta Workshop, who gave advice to the team in creating special effects. Monolith focused on the development of the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, while the development of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions was outsourced to Behaviour Interactive. The port to Linux and OS X was done by Feral Interactive.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor received critical acclaim upon release. Most praise was directed at its combat, open-world design, the game's lore, and the Nemesis System, which most critics agreed was the best part of the game. Some criticism was aimed at the game's story and boss battles. Shadow of Mordor marked the biggest launch for a game based upon Tolkien's universe, and would go on to win several awards from video gaming publications. Two post-release downloadable content, Lord of the Hunt and The Bright Lord, were released in December 2014 and February 2015 respectively. A sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, is scheduled for release in October 2017.

Gameplay[edit]

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a third-person open world action role-playing video game, where the player controls a ranger by the name of Talion who seeks revenge on the forces of Sauron after his family, including his wife, are killed.[4] Players can travel across locations in the game through parkour, riding monsters,[5] or accessing Forge Towers, which serve as fast travel points.[6] Though Talion is mortally felled in the game's introduction, the wraith of the Elven Lord Celebrimbor is able to use his power to keep Talion alive, along with gifting him wraith-like abilities to exact his revenge.[7] Missions in the game feature main story missions that follow Talion's quest for revenge, side missions that involve following Gollum as to find artifacts that are tied to Celebrimbor's past,[8] missions to free the human slaves that have been captured by the Uruk armies and forced to work for Sauron,[9] and additional quests to help forge new abilities for Talion's sword, bow, and dagger.[10] The player also has the freedom to pursue side quests and roam around Mordor, with special activities to collect specific flora or to hunt certain creatures, or to find old artifacts or Elvish seals.[11][12] Completing quests earns the player a number of rewards: experience points that are used to unlock new abilities for the player from both Talion's ranger and Celebrimbor's wraith skills, a Power value that allows the player to access more powerful abilities to unlock, and an in-game currency called "Mirian" that the player can use to improve Talion's health, wraith skill capacity, or forge new slots on his weapons to add additional runes (as described in the Nemesis System below).[11][13]

In completing missions, the player can have Talion engage in melee, ranged combat, and stealth approaches, with some missions rewarding the player more for completing the mission in a specific manner.[10] Talion's ranger abilities are enhanced through Celebrimbor, allowing the player to mix combat with special focus-based attacks; these latter attacks can be used to slow time down while aiming with the bow,[14] drain focus out of an enemy foe,[5] or, later in the game, brand the foe to become an ally of Talion.[15] The combat system uses an attack-chain system that enables the player to perform special moves after building the chain to a large enough value, such as instantly draining a foe of focus or performing an area focus attack. With the combat system, they can also counter and dodge attacks.[16] Stealth is a critical element in some missions; several areas are considered Strongholds and should Talion's presence be discovered, an alarm will sound and more Uruks will arrive to try to kill him.[11][17]

Nemesis system[edit]

Gameplay screenshot of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor showcasing the nemesis system

A core feature of Shadow of Mordor is the Nemesis system. The game can track any Uruk (A "nastier orc," the general antagonists of the game) that the player comes into contact with. While there are "generic" Uruk for the player to fight en masse, and will be as cannon fodder as part of Sauron's armies, the game will begin tracking Uruk that perform any notable talents within the game, such as killing the player, or surviving an encounter with the player. These Uruk will be promoted into captains. Defeating these leaders will help to weaken Sauron's army, and these leaders will drop a rune which the player can install on Talion's weapons to provide additional buffs in battle.[10] Alternatively, being killed by a leader will cause the current mission to be cancelled and the player returned to a safe point to continue exploring, and the leader will gain additional power, making him more difficult to defeat in the next encounter.[18] If the procedurally generated Orcs[19] survive an encounter with Talion, they will also be promoted.[20] Further, such deaths are tracked through online servers, and the player's friends on the various network services will be notified of this death and be offered the chance to accept a Vendetta mission, and exact revenge on the Uruk. If the mission is successful the game will give rewards to both the original player and the victorious friend.[21]

The leader Uruk will have a range of strengths and weaknesses, the latter that can be exploited in combat to quickly weaken and defeat the leader.[20] The player can gain knowledge of these through finding intelligence mostly by draining and interrogating marked Uruks for this.[6][22] Being able to exploit such weaknesses in defeating the leader will gain a better quality rune and more experience points in this manner.[22] Once the player gains the ability to brand Uruks, they can brand these leaders and convert portions of Sauron's army to their side.[23] At this point, the player can use the Nemesis system to trigger infighting within the Uruk forces which they can then directly participate in, helping to weaken the army further.[24][25][26][27] Uruks that survive their encounter with Talion will remember this when Talion combats them again; for example, an Uruk who was thrown into a fire by Talion might want revenge on him for being disfigured.[7][28]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

The game takes place in the 60-year gap between the events of Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.[7] The family of Talion (voiced and motion captured by Troy Baker), a ranger of Gondor responsible for guarding the Black Gate of Mordor, is killed by the armies of Sauron, but Talion is revived with "wraith-like abilities" and heads into Mordor to exact his revenge.[29] Mordor is not yet a barren wasteland in this story.[30] The player will encounter Gollum (voiced by Liam O'Brien).[11] Talion discovers that the wraith who revived him is Celebrimbor (voiced by Alastair Duncan), the greatest Elven smith master of the Second Age, who also seeks revenge against Sauron.

Plot[edit]

Talion, a captain of Gondor, serves within a garrison stationed at the Black Gate of Mordor. The garrison is attacked by Sauron's Orc forces led by three Black Númenórean captains; the Hammer of Sauron (John DiMaggio), the Tower of Sauron (J. B. Blanc), and their leader, the Black Hand of Sauron (Nolan North). Talion, his wife Ioreth (Laura Bailey), and his adult son, Dirhael, are captured and ritually sacrificed by the Black Hand in an attempt to summon into himself the wraith of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor. However, Celebrimbor (who suffers from amnesia due to his centuries as a wraith) instead merges with Talion, preventing him from dying alongside his family. Talion and Celebrimbor then depart to both uncover Celebrimbor's identity—increasing his/their power—and avenge the death of Talion's family.

Over the course of their travels, Talion and Celebrimbor encounter Gollum multiple times, who is wandering Mordor in search of his "Precious" (The One Ring). Gollum possesses the ability to see and speak with Celebrimbor due to his prior contact with the One Ring, and pledges to serve the "Bright Master". Hoping that Celebrimbor might lead him to the One Ring, Gollum leads Celebrimbor to relics of his past, each of which restore parts of his lost memories. Celebrimbor gradually recalls how Sauron, disguised as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, deceived him into forging the Rings of Power. Celebrimbor ultimately assisted Sauron in forging the One Ring, but was able to steal it from him. Celebrimbor proclaimed himself the Bright Lord of Mordor and raised an army of Orcs against Sauron. However, the Ring ultimately betrayed Celebrimbor and returned to Sauron. A victorious Sauron then punished Celebrimbor by executing his wife and daughter (whom Sauron had taken hostage to force Celebrimbor to aid him) before finally killing him with his own smithing hammer.

In his search for the Black Hand, Talion allies himself with Hirgon, a ranger deserter who leads a community of Gondorian outcasts choosing to settle in Mordor, and Ratbag the Coward (Phil LaMarr), an Orc who offers to bring Talion closer to the Black Hand in exchange for his assistance in climbing Mordor's military hierarchy. Talion helps Ratbag ascend the ranks to the level of warchief by killing each of his immediate superiors, finally becoming Warchief himself. Talion then goes after the other Warchiefs in Udun, weakening Sauron's forces in that area. Soon enough, Hirgon has a plan to draw out the Black Captains. Using acquired grog and blasting powder, Talion helps the Outcasts destroy a statue dedicated to Sauron. Instead of the Black Hand answering the "message", the Hammer of Sauron is sent, promptly executing Ratbag for not answering his duties to kill the ranger. Talion and The Hammer then face off, with packs of Uruk joining the fight, but after a savage battle, Talion manages to kill The Hammer.

Talion is then sought out by the warrior Lithariel, the daughter of Queen Marwen (Claudia Black), who claims to be able to assist Celebrimbor with his mission. Marwen is the ruler of Núrn, a kingdom of sea raiders located in the south of Mordor. She uses her powers to guide Talion and Celebrimbor to another of Celebrimbor's relics. Talion also gets help from a Dwarf hunter named Torvin, teaching Talion the ways of the hunt to dominate Caragors and Graugs (beasts native to Mordor), eventually fighting a massive Graug from Torvin's past who killed Torvin's hunting partner, later revealed to be his brother. Later, Marwen advises them to use Celebrimbor's powers to take control of an army of orcs and other beasts, using them to lead an assault against Sauron. Talion eventually realizes that the wizard Saruman is possessing Marwen, and assists Lithariel in freeing her from his control. Talion, however, still carries out Saruman's plan, leading an army of mind-controlled orcs in an assault against the Black Hand's stronghold at Ered Glamhoth. However, rather than the Black Hand, Talion finds the Tower of Sauron waiting for him. The Tower mockingly taunts Talion that Celebrimbor chose him as a host and can free him at any time and offers the elf a place at Sauron's side. Refusing the offer, the two battle and Talion emerges victorious after viciously stabbing the Tower to death with his son's sword. Afterwards, Celebrimbor confesses that the Tower told the truth and promises to let Talion join his family in death if he wishes, once the Black Hand is slain.

Talion then travels to the Black Gate for a final confrontation with the Black Hand. The Black Hand quickly incapacitates him with a spell that also restores the last of Celebrimbor's memories. He then kills himself as part of a ritual that forces Celebrimbor to depart from Talion and merge with himself. This allows Sauron to possess the Black Hand's body and incarnate in physical form. However, Celebrimbor is able to briefly paralyze Sauron from within, allowing Talion to destroy Sauron's physical form. With the Black Hand dead, Celebrimbor wishes to depart for Valinor. Talion instead convinces him to stay and attempt to overthrow Sauron. Gazing at Mount Doom, Talion declares his intention to forge a new Ring of Power.

Development[edit]

Development of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which took about three years, began in late 2011.[31] The game's lead developer was Monolith Productions, who had experience on a Middle-earth game with Guardians of Middle-earth (a multiplayer online battle arena game released in 2012). According to design director Michael de Plater, Shadow of Mordor was developed in parallel with Guardians of Middle-earth but handled by a separate team. It was published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, who had published the Batman: Arkham game series.[29][32] The game was designed by de Plater, who had worked with Creative Assembly on Rome: Total War and Ubisoft on Tom Clancy's EndWar and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.[33]

Shadow of Mordor was Monolith's first third-person open world video game for the eighth generation consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and de Plater considered its development an educational experience for the studio.[34] In Monolith's introduction to the genre, many core mechanics were built from scratch and the studio were inspired by successful video games such as the Batman: Arkham series created by Rocksteady Studios; those games inspired Shadow of Mordor's stealth and free-flow combat mechanics.[35] The studio considered Rocksteady's games good examples of how to handle a licensed title.[33]

[Sports games] are designed that if there's a failure through the mid-season you don't rewind to the last save and start playing again from that point, as much as you potentially wish you could.

—Michael de Plater, creative director of Monolith Productions

The game's signature feature is its Nemesis system. The Monolith team considered themselves experts in artificial intelligence, and wanted to push its boundaries. Allowing players to choose their story (a sandbox-game pillar)[33] and "leverage the new generation hardware through innovation", the team wanted to create a system allowing non-playable characters to respond to player actions; this later became the Nemesis system.[34] The system's idea was frameworked three months after development began, and to best present it everyone in the studio was involved. The developers hoped that with the system, orcs could be memorable for players. It was made more complex during the game's early development, incorporating personal relationships among orcs, but was later pared down when the studio considered it too complicated. The Nemesis system was also inspired by pen-and-paper role-playing games. Although most orcs are similar, some were designed with distinctive behavior patterns. These orcs have dialogue written by Dan Abnett, and the team hoped the special orcs would surprise players.[36] The team also hoped that the system would provide tension and competition, similar to a multiplayer game. The studio was inspired by sports games, where the narrative continues when players lose a match.[37] This can prevent immersion and narrative from breaking when players die in the game.[33] According to Rob Roberts, the system is designed so players can emotionally attach to the protagonist through gameplay drama.[38] They also hoped that through the system, players can create their own villain, leading to an organic story.[39]

Shadow of Mordor bridges the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, with the team wanting to show iconic elements of the universe in an original way.[32] The team had to draw notes on Tolkien's notes and appendices to ensure that their vision for the game would not change the franchise's timeline.[39] Although the game's environment is inspired by the books and films, several places (such as Udûn and the Sea of Nurnen) were re-imagined. Art director Phil Straub considered consistency with the lore and presenting "something visually new" and realistic the most important elements of creating the game, and the team did not incorporate many fantasy elements in its world.[40] To depict volcanic activity, the studio sent a team to Eastern Washington and the Columbia River plateau to photograph a volcano;[41] to create other parts of the game environment, they studied photos of Iceland and New Zealand and yellow stone found worldwide.[42] Since Shadow of Mordor is set before The Lord of the Rings, its landscape is less post-apocalyptic; environments also vary by weather, lighting and atmosphere.[41]

The game has a standalone plot. Early in development the team consulted Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, who advised them against a film tie-in.[32] According to de Plater, the story is character-driven to be "authentic" relative to Tolkien's themes.[32] The game was written by Christian Cantamessa, who was lead writer and lead designer for Rockstar San Diego's Red Dead Redemption.[11] According to Roberts, the story is designed for accessibility by all players (regardless of their familiarity with the franchise) by creating natural interactions and believable relationships among the characters.[43] Its protagonist is Talion, a half-human, half-wraith inspired by Boromir.[40][44] Although Torvin was originally proposed as the game's playable character, the idea was scrapped,[45] as the team wanted to follow the philosophy of featuring standalone characters.[39] The wraith is later revealed as Celebrimbor, creator of the Rings of Power.[46] The development team picked Celebrimbor because they considered his backstory sufficiently interesting to expand the canon's authenticity, allowing the team to write a story around power (a major theme of the game).[47] Another important component was Mordor's tone. The team created a dark atmosphere with humor, reflected in dialogue and voice acting. This was handled by Dan Abnett, who previously worked on books related to Warhammer's "dark and gritty" universe. The team hired David Salo, a linguist who worked on the Tolkien's languages for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, to develop the Orcs' Black Speech.[43] The game's narrative was also inspired by BioShock, which according to de Plater, has successfully incorporated systemic stories with players' choices.[40]

To prevent inaccuracies, Monolith consulted several Tolkien scholars from Warner Bros. and collaborated with Weta Workshop (Jackson's design company) on the game's special effects and scenery.[48] To depict well-known characters the company partnered with Middle-earth Enterprises, the franchise-rights holder, to prevent misuse and contradiction between the game's story and Tolkien's.[43]

Monolith focused on developing the game's PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions,[49] with development of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions outsourced to Behaviour Interactive.[50] Although the game's core gameplay mechanics, story and narrative are unchanged in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 ports, some features (such as the Nemesis system) are less complex than the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions. According to the game's developer, the Nemesis system was too large for older consoles.[51][52][53][54]

Waterphones were used during the game's soundtrack development.

The music for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was composed by Garry Schyman and Nathan Grigg, and a soundtrack album was released digitally by WaterTower Music on September 30, 2014.[55] In designing the game's music, the team used a number of sonic tools which synchronize with other aspects of the game (such as player actions and enemy movements); combat music included waterphones and spring drums.[56]

In August 2013 an artist mentioned that Monolith Productions was working on a AAA title separate from Guardians of Middle-earth,[57] and on November 12 its title was announced.[58] Although the game was originally scheduled for release on October 7, 2014,[59] according to Warner Bros. its release was moved up to September 30 in North America and October 3 in the United Kingdom due to "fans' excitement".[60] The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were released on November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe.[61]

On December 16, 2014, the downloadable content (DLC) Lord of the Hunt was released. Its storyline revolved around Torvin, and it included new runes, skins and bosses.[62] Lord of the Hunt received mixed reviews from critics.[63]

The final DLC for Shadow of Mordor (The Bright Lord) is set 3,000 years before the main campaign and allows players to control Talion's companion, Celebrimbor.[64] It adds a chapter to Shadow of Mordor in which players can complete ten more missions and fight Sauron.[65] The content was released on February 24, 2015 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[66]

A Game of the Year edition with DLC was announced on April 29, 2015 and released on May 5 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[67][68] A special edition, with in-game items and a steelbook, was introduced on August 1.[69]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 86.67%[70]
(PS4) 86.55%[71]
(XONE) 85.82%[72]
Metacritic (XONE) 87/100[73]
(PC) 84/100[74]
(PS4) 84/100[75]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 6/10[76]
Eurogamer 8/10[77]
Game Informer 8.25/10[78]
GameSpot 8/10[79]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[21]
GameTrailers 8.7/10[80]
Giant Bomb 5/5 stars[81]
IGN 9.3/10[82]
Joystiq 5/5 stars[83]
PC Gamer (US) 85/100[84]
Polygon 9.5/10[85]
Awards
Publication Award
Game Developers Choice Awards Game of the Year
GameSpot Game of the Year
Giant Bomb Game of the Year
Joystiq Game of the Year

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was critically acclaimed. The review aggregator websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version scores of 86.67 percent (based on nine reviews) and 84 out of 100 (based on 17 reviews);[70][74] the PlayStation 4 version scored 86.55 percent (based on 57 reviews) and 84 out of 100 (based on 85 reviews),[71][75] and the Xbox One version scored 85.82 percent (based on 11 reviews) and 87 out of 100 (based on 12 reviews).[72][73]

The game's core feature, its Nemesis system, was praised. According to Lucas Sullivan of GamesRadar, the system elevated Shadow of Mordor to excellence by making its villains memorable and adding personality to its protagonist.[21] Brad Shoemaker of Giant Bomb agreed, writing that the system created many distinctive characters and its side content extended the game's longevity.[81] Joystiq's Alexander Sliwinski said that the system made each playthrough unique and made the game stand out from other action games.[83] Chris Carter of Destructoid found the system gimmicky, since it failed to create unique villains; it added different appearances and weaknesses to villains without adding personality.[76]

Shadow of Mordor's combat was considered excellent by most critics. Shoemaker and Sliwinski compared it to the rhythm-based combat system of the Batman: Arkham game series; both found it engaging and fluid.[81][83] Shoemaker praised the game's combat variety; the combination of the combat and nemesis systems created "a specific kind of chaotic, emergent nonsense" desirable in an open world game.[81] According to Sliwinski and Shoemaker, even without the Nemesis system the combat system would make the game compelling.[81][83] Although Matt Miller of Game Informer found the game's focus on killing made it repetitive, failing to capture the charm of its inspirations Assassin's Creed and Batman: Arkham,[78] Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot called Shadow of Mordor's combat an improvement of the Assassin's Creed formula.[79]

Reception of the game's storyline was mixed. Although Shoemaker and Sliwinski praised its "dark" tone,[81][83] Shoemaker found some story elements (such as Gollum's introduction) forced and designed to appeal to a particular audience.[81] According to Game Informer's Matt Miller, Shadow of Mordor fails to successfully tie together all of its various plot threads in the game's conclusion.[78] Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot also found the storyline erratic, dragged down by anti-climactic fights and scenes.[79] Dan Stapleton of IGN wrote that the story introduced memorable characters but would not make sense to fans of the series, and his interest in the game waned towards its end.[82] Destructoid's Chris Carter was disappointed in a plot he considered generic ("Go here, kill this, draw out this big bad, then kill him for your family"); the game failed to add anything new to the universe, and its side missions were more interesting than the main campaign.[76]

Other aspects of Shadow of Mordor were praised. Sullivan enjoyed its Lord of the Rings' lore, and found the number of collectibles in the game "staggering".[21] Miller also admired Monolith's extensive use of lore in the game, and praised its soundtrack and voice-acting;[78] Stapleton agreed, particularly about the voice acting.[82]

Elements of the game were criticized. Sullivan found some side missions repetitive,[21] and Sliwinski was disappointed with some of the boss battles.[83] Miller wrote that some Shadow of Mordor features are too complex and inaccessible for new players or those unwilling to use strategy.[78] Critics disagreed about the Nemesis system. Miller wrote that the system fell flat in the game's final hours;[78] according to VanOrd, the system was unappealing until the game's second half.[79] Carter found the unskippable cutscenes after a player died annoying.[76]

Unlike Shadow of Mordor's current-generation versions, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions received mixed-to-negative reviews and many technical problems were noted. According to Thomas Morgan of Eurogamer its frame rate was substandard, and Yannick LeJacq of Kotaku cited "many technical hiccups and glitches". Morgan believed that the game developers spent little effort on the port, and LeJacq questioned the need to release the game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at all.[86][87] Shadow of Mordor was well received by BioShock series creator Ken Levine, who called it the first open world game with a non-linear story and narrative and said he would bring some of its elements to his upcoming science-fiction project.[88]

Sales[edit]

Shadow of Mordor's release was the most successful for a Lord of the Rings-based game. The game debuted at number two in the UK retail software sales chart in its first week (behind FIFA 15),[89] and was the ninth-bestselling game in the United States in October 2014.[90]

Controversy[edit]

When Shadow of Mordor was introduced, Monolith was accused by former Ubisoft employee Charles Randall of using assets (such as the protagonist-animation code) from Assassin's Creed II.[91] Monolith responded that all their project's assets were developed from scratch; they had confidence in their originality, and the game was based upon the Nemesis system.[92]

In October 2014, after the usual video-game review outlets were unable to obtain early access to Shadow of Mordor, John Bain (known as TotalBiscuit) said that YouTube video creators had been offered early access in exchange for agreeing to a contract requiring them to describe it positively. Jim Sterling of The Escapist obtained a copy of one of the contracts and analyzed it in detail.[93][94][95] The Federal Trade Commission began an investigation and announced in July 2016 that Warner Brothers Home Entertainment had violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, and that the company must declare sponsored advertising in the future.[96]

Awards[edit]

Sequel[edit]

The game's sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, was announced in February 2017. The sequel is being developed by Monolith Productions and published by Warner Bros. and will be released Worldwide on October 10, 2017

References[edit]

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External links[edit]