The amazing announcement trailer can be seen in the video embed above. It’s a CG video, with the first gameplay slated to arrive on March 8.
Like Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of War is developed by Monolith Productions. Talion and Celebrimbor return from the first game; they must “go behind enemy lines to forge an army and turn all of Mordor against the Dark Lord, Sauron.” The first game’s praised Nemesis System also returns.
Here is the official plot description for Shadow of War:
“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 action-adventure game 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.”
Shadow of War is set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
“Following the amazing reception to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, we massively expanded every dimension of the game, including the world, the story, the RPG systems, the core gameplay, and of course the personal player stories of the Nemesis System,” Monolith Productions VP Michael de Plater said in a statement. “As lifelong fans of Middle-earth, we are so grateful to have the privilege to bring to life the most incredible fantasy world ever created in a new way, for a new generation. With Middle-earth: Shadow of War, we can’t wait to see the amazing stories players are going to create and share.”
Shadow of War’s updated Nemesis System features an element called “Followers.” These are characters that will add “entirely new stories of loyalty, betrayal, and revenge.” The Nemesis System from the first game was a gameplay system that allowed enemies to remember every encounter with the player. The enemies also have different personalities.
Overall, Monolith is promising a “richer, more personal, and expansion world” for Shadow of War. Players can expect to see “epic heroes and villains,” as well as “iconic locations, original enemy types, even more personalities, and a new cast of characters with untold stories.”
In its own statement, Microsoft confirmed that Shadow of War will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title for Xbox One and Windows 10. This means buying a digital copy for either platform provides access to it on the other. Additionally, Microsoft announced that Shadow of War will be available on Project Scorpio this holiday. The game will also be available on PlayStation 4 Pro.
Shadow of War launches on August 22 in North America and August 25 in Europe.