A fallen monster has ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of War’ fans grieving

Last week, Warner Bros. and developer Monolith Productions showed off the first gameplay from Middle-earth: Shadow of War. The sequel to Shadow of War looks nothing short of stunning, with an advanced “Nemesis” system, new combat abilities, and flying mounts that completely change the course of battles. But a character only briefly visible in the footage — the late Az-Laar The Demolisher — has fans pouring out a pint of grog and shedding a few tears.

YouTube users have already begun uploading their own Az-Laar tributes, showcasing the best moments of the warrior’s short life before he was cut down in a shower of oil and fire. One video, which couples his death with a somber black and white filter and sad piano music, even features a comment from Az-Laar himself.

“This video brings to me comfort. It is appreciated. Though I am gone, I will return,” Az-Laar said.

Naturally, Warner Bros. wasted no time jumping on the Az-Laar grief train itself, releasing its own memorial video that highlighted the audience’s grief as they were forced to watch him charge through a gate, only to be ensnared in an oil trap and set ablaze along with several other members of Talion’s army.

But who could forget Az-Laar’s valiant effort before he was killed? After breaking through the fortress’ initial gate, he picked up a small enemy and ripped its head off without skipping a beat.

Az-Laar is just one of the many characters you can recruit for your ever-growing army in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. The game’s expanded Nemesis system now even allows for characters to leave your side and align with the enemy, and one’s “death” can never be a sure thing this time around. The game launches for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on August 22, with enhancements coming to PlayStation 4 Pro, and Project Scorpio.

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