It’s not surprising that Warner Bros. and Monolith Production will return to Tolkien’s sinister lands in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, but we didn’t know the game even existed coming into 2017. Target spilled the goods in late-February, however, when it listed the game and posted the cover art alongside the title’s tentative launch date. A few hours later, the studio officially confirmed the game with a proper announcement trailer. We won’t have to wait long to head back to Middle Earth, either — Shadow of War arrives August 22.
The game’s prequel, Shadow of Mordor, was an unexpected delight, so it’s safe to say that expectations run high for the sequel. Monolith offered up a lengthy gameplay trailer at GDC, which showed us that the world is even darker and grimmer than before — and, as expected, riddled with gruesome violence. Here’s everything we know so far about Shadow of War.
At GDC, Monolith showcased Shadow of War with the lengthy gameplay trailer above. One of the things we learned from the trailer was the narrative setup, although much of the narrative is still shrouded in mystery. Protagonist Talion will still host Celebrimbor, the elven Wraith that revived him from the dead after Talion and his family were slaughtered by the Black Hand of Sauron.
Shadow of War kicks off directly after the events of Shadow of Mordor, which saw Talion deciding to forge a new Ring of Power. From the trailer, it seems that he followed through, giving him tremendous strength as he eyes taking down Mordor from within with his newly-assembled army. Talion seeks to both conquer Sauron’s army and turn them against him. From the looks of it, Talion may even square off against Sauron himself and finally avenge his slain family.
We’re still a far cry from the events of Lord of the Rings, which take place 60 years later, but Monolith has kept the well-known events of Tolkien s trilogy in mind.
Speaking with Wired, studio head Kevin Stephens said, “It’s a lot like Rogue One — we know the beginning of the next story, so we want to make sure our story fits without feeling arbitrary or contrived.” He also remarked that Shadow of War has both large and small-scale stories to tell, and that the team has striven to create a “more satisfying conclusion” with the sequel.