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- Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor really impressed me with the sandbox elements it brought to mix and twist the kind of combat and platforming gamers have come to expect from other action-adventure franchises, so it's easy to see why the developers at Monolith Productions felt no fear in releasing in the Fall against a major new Assassin's Creed game.
Speaking to IGN, Lead Designer Bob Roberts said that accusations of Middle-earth using game code and assets from that series shouldn't matter "once people get their hands on it."
I don't know if vindicated is the right word, because we always knew what it feels like to play. Once people get their hands on it, they stop worrying about the comparisons and it totally feels like its own thing. There's so much new going on there thanks to the Nemesis System and the way we combined all the elements to make the world come to life. So we never really got that criticism once people had a chance to play it. As soon as we started showing it, it became clear we had nothing to worry about.
Speaking of the game's Orc-vs-Orc Nemesis system wherein players can create new rivalries between the monstrous forces teeming across Middle-earth, Roberts said that it remained a backbone of the game from the start.
"Obviously though it's so big and there's so much content tied into it, that once you've done all the animations, voiceovers and tuned the fights and so on it takes a huge amount of time over a number of years."
Roberts said that the team tried many different ideas and that some of the Nemesis remained conceptual to maintain flexibility in the development process. "Whatever game you want to apply the concept to, while it has broad potential, you need to be prepared to spend a lot of your development time on it."
"We did the very best job we could do as die-hard Tolkien fans ourselves and we have a lot of people paying close attention to make sure we're as authentic as we can be." I'd say the team did a great job, so don't forget to read our review of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.