Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

One of the most influential game series to come out during seventh gen was Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham games. Those titles not only looked top notch but they really helped bring Batman to life in never-before-seen ways. Well, aspects of the Arkham series actually helped influence Middle- Earth: Shadow of War, such as the combat systems and easy-to-use counterattacks.

In an interview with Monolith Productions vice president of creative design, Michael de Plater, explained to Gamespot that there was definitely inspiration from Arkham Asylum and Arkham City when it came to the combat in the original Shadow of Mordor and its sequel Shadow of War, saying...

Absolutely. It just set the bar for how to make an amazing game within this rich world that's not a movie game. In particular, that it was coming out simultaneously with the Chris Nolan movies, but it was completely its own thing. So it was a very direct inspiration for us, and also did set the bar and elevate third-person combat and action-adventure games. So both are kind of our what we call our predator gameplay; our stealth [was] really influenced by it.

It's true that there was a synergy between Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham games and Christopher Nolan's highly stylized and hyper-realistic films. Both were completely different beasts but they both shared some similitude in capturing a dark gritty take on Batman who was gadget-heavy with a truly unique visual identity that helped them stand out. A lot of people saw films like The Dark Knight and then wanted to play a similar game and found many of those features in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.

Rocksteady also managed to simplify playing Batman to the point where pulling off awesome moves and stylized takedowns was both easy and intuitive, so players felt empowered without feeling over-encumbered with the controls like the Assassin's Creed games, which used to have a similar but far more complex combat system.

Of course, Plater also acknowledged that it was also important for the team to separate itself from the Batman: Arkham games by giving Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War their own unique identities in the form of the Nemesis system, and shaping the game around this system. Plater further explained...

But, of course, we also wanted to have things that made us stand apart and that were really unique. Firstly, the fact that we can have all these weapon systems and be really visceral on the violence of the game, that was pretty fun for us. And secondly, we wanted to have a way to think about what we do with the enemies and how to make them interesting and engaging in varied and that was part of the genesis of the Nemesis system as well.

Monolith received a lot of praise both from gamers and critics for the combat systems in the Middle-Earth games and for how well those systems tie into the Nemesis system. It turns out that Monolith had a winning formula with the mechanics, and its expecting to continue the success from Shadow of Mordor in 2014 with the release of Shadow of War on October 10th for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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