Many fans of Lord of the Rings will recognize the name Minas Ithil as the fortress that guarded the Eastern border of the kingdom of Gondor. Well, the team behind the upcoming Shadow of War detailed in a short video how they built the city of Minas Ithil and how the gameplay is affected in-game.
Shadow of War will begin with the city of Minas Ithil being under siege which was to incite the same level of excitement and fear that some of the largest battles from the Lord of the Rings franchise brought out. Like the title suggests, Shadow of War will largely be set outside of Mordor and focus on human civilization “to remind people what it is that they are fighting for,” in the words of Michael de Plater, VP of Creative.
In regards to the city of Minas Ithil, it will be entirely explorable and consist of three main levels from the poorer slums at the bottom all the way to the Tower of the Moon. So, whether you wish to progress the story or roam around doing additional side quests and hunting collectibles, that is your prerogative. Shadow of War will showcase the turn of Minas Ithil into Minas Morgul, a fortress held by the forces of Darkness under the Witch King and Sauron.
At Monolith Productions a lot of detail was put into developing the city itself and making sure it was quite authentic. Philip Straub, Art Director at Monolith, stated that their team conducted a lot of research into Roman-style architecture and how buildings and structures would have been built during that time period, in order to get the most accurate representation of a medieval-style fortress.
That being said, they also had to ensure that their pristine city, their pride and joy, broke down in the right way. How would it react if large projectiles hit it? How would the structures collapse? This knowledge was crucial to designing the broken down version of Minas Ithil, the pre-siege state of the city.
But now onto the gameplay side of things. While they did not unveil a heap of new information regarding Shadow of War, they did mention that since the level size of the sequel is around 1.5x larger than the original, gameplay movements had been adapted to suit the larger scale city life. Players will be able to utilize the powers of the Wraith to move silently through alleys and over rooftops, double jumping from rooftop to rooftop is a real possibility and climb speed had been accelerated to accent the larger buildings that can be scaled in Shadow of War.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War will be released on August 22nd 2017 and will be available on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. It promises to be a worthy sequel to the highly acclaimed Shadow of Mordor and will once again have fans both new and old joyously returning to Middle Earth.