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Thanks to Target we already knew another Middle-Earth game was on the way. Today, Warner Bros. makes it official with two and a half minutes of Middle-Earth cinematics. The August 22 release date was also confirmed. Here’s our first official look at Shadow of War ahead of a March 8 gameplay reveal.
Cool, just make another Ring of Power to fight Sauron. Makes sense. Why did we have to watch Frodo and company go on a hiking trip? Just slap a new ring together and kick some ass. Obviously, the Middle-Earth video game franchise isn’t canon. At least, I hope not for the sake of lore fans.
A new Ring of Power does open the possibilities for new gameplay mechanics that were teased in yesterday’s leak. The trailer’s description also teases an expanded Nemesis system and how it affects the game world.
“In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, players wield a new Ring of Power and confront the deadliest of enemies, including Sauron and his Nazgul, in a monumental battle for Middle-earth. The open-world RPG is brought to life through the expansion of the award-winning Nemesis System. The robust personalization from the first game is now applied to the entire world where the environments and characters are all shaped by player actions and decisions, creating a personal world unique to every gameplay experience.”
Those are some big promises. They always sound good on paper, but often fail to materialize in ways we hope. Give me a more in-depth Nemesis system and better combat, and I’ll be set. We should get a glimpse at how it’s shaping up in next week’s gameplay trailer.
Xbox Play Anywhere and Third-Party Games
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will be a Xbox Play Anywhere title. That means you buy it once and play it on Windows 10 and Xbox One. Including third-party games might be news for some of you, but we just saw it happen with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
We’ve also seen it with smaller titles like Astroneer and Everspace. I say keep them coming. I doubt we’ll ever see the likes of Call of Duty, but we can hope. Resident Evil 7 and Middle Earth: Shadow of War aren’t small games. Sure, they aren’t the biggest games of the year – but they’re big enough.
Also, Middle-Earth isn’t exclusive to Xbox, so it’ll be coming to Steam too.
Update for Project Scorpio?
A press release from Microsoft also mentioned the game will be available for Project Scorpio following the console’s launch this holiday season. That puts Scorpio’s release firmly in the holiday season window (Oct-Dec, most likely November) and it hints at specific support for Project Scorpio (maybe an update to take advantage of the boost in power?).
The question is, will these updates be game specific or are we looking at an across the board boost in games? E3 is a little over three months away, and we’ll learn much more about Xbox’s plans with Scorpio there.