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Talion and his band of mind-controlled orcs have returned and, in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, it looks like they'll be joined by a far larger cast than in the original game. To set the stage for this next epic battle in the realm of The Lord of the Rings, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released an action-packed story trailer.
If you think about it, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was a somewhat intimate game. The player took on the role of Talion, who is also semi-possessed by the spirit of Celebrimbor. They're on a quest for revenge, slaughtering orcs and various other nasties by the dozen in order to stop the rise of the dark lord Sauron. Outside of loads and loads of orc murder, you don't run into a lot of key players in the Lord of the Rings mythos.
Based on the new trailer for Shadow of War, that's all about to change. It looks like Monolith is taking some liberties with the prequel setting and aims to plug in a bunch of familiar faces and locations from the epic fantasy series, as well as a few new creations of their own. Also, it looks like you'll have a whole bunch of new enemies to kill or take control of.
The trailer is like a who's who of Middle-earth, including the requisite army of orcs, the infamously creepy Nazgul, a bunch of winged drakes, Sauron and even the Army of the Dead. A couple of mysterious women pop up, one of whom appears to be of treekind. Oh, and then there are some magic-wielding soldiers who appear to be from Gondor, an armor-clad Balrog (because he needs to be more formidable, apparently) and a particularly nasty spider that I'm assuming is none other than Shelob.
The trailer takes a turn for the epic when Celebrimbor tells Talion "we need to build our army." We know that the popular Nemesis System is returning from the first game, and we assume it will be getting some interesting new wrinkles along the way. For the uninitiated, that's the system that lets you take control of an orc rather than kill them and send them back out into the world to do your bidding. Similarly, orcs that manage to slaughter you (you're kind of a ghost and can't stay dead) will move up their own ranks, growing in power. It's a really cool system that we're happy to see make its triumphant return in Shadow of War.
The trailer comes to a close with the promise that "nothing will be forgotten." We're curious if that is a reference to the story itself, the basic concept of the nemesis system, or perhaps a hint that the player will have some sort of agency in directing the campaign themselves. We'll take a gander at your thoughts in the comments below.