Lord Of The Rings: Arkham Creed?
Warner Bros. have released an enormous slab of gameplay footage for Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, blowing Monolith's trans-gen openworld murder simulator wide open for the first time. Clearly taking cues from Assassins' Creed and WB's own Arkham series, players will leap around roofs, assassinate Orcs from above and generally dish out some unpleasant stabbery to the legions of Mordor as vengeful ranger Talion. Though Monolith promise that unique Wraith abilities and an exciting new nemesis system will make it stand out from the pack, the similarity to Ubisoft's series is striking enough to make one developer cry foul.
We've got the video and details below.
Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor picks up after the events of the Hobbit films, as Sauron returns to Mordor following the events at Dol Goldur. The Enemy ends up slaughtering the Ranger defenders on his way, with the convenient exception of player character Talion, who awakes from the dead with a selection of powerful Wraith-like skills. Such as
Eagle Vision enhanced senses, aerial assassinations aerial assassinations, the ability to teleport short distances and mind control that can affect enemy behaviour.
Sounds like a reasonable excuse to head into Mordor's "dynamic environment" and crack some Uruk-Hai skulls to us. Mind you, Carl was quick to point out that Talion will have to be removed from the canon somehow, so don't expect a happy ending.
The Nemesis system looks particularly exciting, in that orcs aren't just recycled assets. Apparently each enemy is a character in their own right, with their own face and personality, who will adapt to the player's actions throughout the game - and return battle-hardened with scars from your last encounter. In effect, each player will eventually create their own archenemy. It's an ambitious claim, though how this will factor into gameplay remains to be seen.
Let's face it: we haven't had a properly excellent LOTR game since... erm, well, the legendary TT Games had a crack at it. We're about due.
However, the footage is undeniably similar to Ubisoft's flagship open-world series, even down to the animations. Ex-Ubisoft staffer Charles Randall took to Twitter to accuse Warner Bros. and Monolith of direct plagiarism.
"Seriously, can someone tell me how Assassin's Creed 2 code and assets are in this Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor game," he tweeted.
“Watch the video. That’s AC2 stuff in there. Code/anim for sure,” Randall continued. “I spent two years staring at AC2. I know it when I see it."
Ubisoft and Warner Bros have yet to make an official statement, though game director Michael de Plater stated that apeing Assassin's Creed "definitely wasn't something [they] were consciously going for" in a prior Eurogamer interview.
It's worth remembering that all artists have their inspirations and influences (though of course, some are more obvious than others). What do you make of Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor?