Warner Bros. Interactive and Monolith Productions released a new behind-the-scenes video this week for the upcoming action role-playing game, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The video features new interview footage with voice-over actor Troy Baker, the voice of the protagonist Talion, and Christian Cantamessa, the lead co-writer and cinematic director. One of the more tantalizing reveals from the video was the appearance of the tragic featured character of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece with Gollum.
The story of the game is set in the intervening years between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As such, it makes sense that a character such as Gollum would be lurking around Mordor. By the time The Lord of the Rings rolls around, Gollum has been a prisoner of Sauron and his forces in Mordor and has knowledge of the area and surrounding pathways. In addition, he has already encountered the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who inadvertently acquired The One Ring from Gollum. Of course, The One Ring was forged by Sauron in the fires of Mount Doom. Since The One Ring is stashed safely at Bag End in the Shire during the events of the game, its role in the game will likely be minor.
Based on what I had previously seen from the game, I was not expecting to see Gollum, but his appearance in the story is a welcome one. My hope is that Andy Serkis, the tremendous actor who helped bring Gollum to life, will return to play–or at least voice–Gollum for the game. Gollum’s part in the story would probably allow for depiction of his capture by Sauron’s minions where he is tortured and interrogated about the whereabouts of The One Ring, the Shire and Bilbo Baggins
Most of the footage and videos released so far for Shadow of Mordor have looked impressive, and this one was no exception. Having seen the E3 preview, the way the Nemesis System allows for unique gameplay on every play through is enticing. However, the success of the game will likely hinge on how well the Nemesis System works in actual play, rather than just presentation. Hopefully, the game will be playable at the 2014 Comic-Con International, so gamers will finally get an idea of how the Nemesis System plays and how the combat feels before its release in October.
Now that we know that Gollum will appear in the game, I am curious to see what other mainstay characters from Lord of the Rings might appear. Sauron will undoubtedly appear in some form. A game that actually depicts Sauron’s return to Mordor and the rebuilding of his empire sounds like a great premise for the story. Unfortunately, it also means that no matter what actions I take in the game, I will ultimately fail in my quest.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor hits the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows PC on October 7.