With each generation of video game consoles, a handful of new, major franchises are born.
During the last generation — when the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii dominated — the “Gears of War” franchise exploded, the “Uncharted” series defined the PlayStation 3, and “Wii Sports” defined Nintendo’s Wii.
Right at the end of the last generation, in 2014, a new franchise surprised gamers everywhere by taking a long-existing property — the Lord of the Rings — and turning it into something brilliantly modern and fresh. That game was “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor,” a stylish and gritty third-person action game in the vein of “Assassin’s Creed.”
Despite generic trappings and a long-worn property in the Lord of the Rings, the game was a smashing success. It was beautiful, fun to play, and had a surprisingly well-done story. Far from generic, it was a breath of life into a worn out genre.
And in 2017, “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor” is a getting a big new sequel: “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” is scheduled to launch for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on August 22.
There’s only one piece of art for the game available thus far, with a promised gameplay reveal on March 8.
If you’re a returning fan from the first game, you may be glad to hear that both Talion and Celebrimbor are back as the main playable characters in “Shadow of War.” The plot isn’t unlike the film series: unite a divided Mordor against the forces of Sauron, all using a unique ring that grants magical powers.
The first trailer is out now, with a bigger gameplay reveal coming next week. Check it out right here: