Target may have leaked Middle-Earth: Shadow of War either due to a gaffe or a finely orchestrated publicity stunt, but regardless of the cause, Warner Bros. has officially announced the game via a cinematic trailer.
The trailer (spoilers for people who have yet to finish Shadow of Mordor) picks up where the first game left off: the ranger Talion and the wraith Celebrimbor forging their own Ring of Power to challenge the Dark Lord Sauron. As soon as the ring is finished, Celebrimbor is spirited away via a dark and possibly evil cloud. We do not know if this is an important plot point or meant to hype up the game, as Celebrimbor is featured prominently on the game’s box art. Furthermore, the trailer features a wide array of iconic Lord of the Rings monsters, including trolls, Rightwraiths, and even a mighty Balrog, which implies that players will face all of these creatures in one form or another. The official press release confirms this, as it states that “players [will] wield a new Ring of Power and confront the deadliest of enemies, including Sauron and his Nazgul, in a monumental battle for Middle-earth.”
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will improve upon its iconic Nemesis System with Followers and the Nemesis Fortress. The title “Shadow of War” implies the game will revolve around an ongoing war between Sauron’s Orc army and Talion’s army, most likely consisting of ensorcelled Orcs. Each of Talion’s allies (i.e., Followers) will add “entirely new stories of loyalty, betrayal, and revenge.” Furthermore, enemy strongholds in Shadow of War will require different strategies, and no two players will have the same experience.
Gamers can now pre-order four different editions Middle-Earth: Shadow of War:
- All pre-orders, including the Standard Edition, come with a special sword and “war party” (likely a regiment of Talion’s army).
- The Silver Edition comes with two nemesis expansions (each with their own enemies, followers, missions, abilities, weapons, fortresses, and gear) and a “silver war chest.”
- The Gold Edition comes with two nemesis expansions, two story expansions (each with its own campaign, playable character, abilities, side missions, enemies, and allies) and a “gold war chest.”
- The limited Mithril Edition comes with two nemesis expansions, two story expansions, a 15″ statue, lithographs, a premium case, a Ring of Power, a Steelcase, the game soundtrack, a cloth map of Mordor, a sticker pack, a gold war chest, and a “mithril war chest.”
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will release on August 22nd for the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4