Home Gaming Middle Earth: Shadow of War has a love/hate relationship with its Orc enemies and allies

Middle Earth: Shadow of War has a love/hate relationship with its Orc enemies and allies

3 min read

Orcs are bastards. No really, I’m not trying to be speciest here but f*** Orcs. They come over here to the Shire, kill all our Hobbits and take their jobs? We should build a wall to keep them out or something, and send the bill to Sauron. We need to make Middle Earth great again dammit! My political career may be kicking off right now thanks to hardline stance on those damn Orcs, but according to my critics I may have been preaching some alt-facts about the smelly green bastards present in Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

These Orcs are still out for blood, but like the old paraphrased adage goes: Not all Orcs. Some Orcs will actually be of aid to you in Shadow of War, an intriguing new gameplay feature this time for a sequel that created fantastic love-to-hate relationships with the green-skins in the Nemesis System. Said system has been expanded, but as design director Michael de Plater revealed, there’s a bigger emphasis on creating stories with enemies and allies this time around.

“One of the interesting things that we learned from Shadow Of Mordor was that we’d see these stories of how someone would have a particular enemy and they’d hate them and hate them and then finally they would achieve this satisfying revenge and the enemy’s head would go sailing through the air and they’d have these mixed emotions. A bit of sadness that the story was over,” de Plater explained to Glixel.

Now we’re making you love to hate these enemies. Then when those guys come on your side they’re still the same personifications of evil that they were before, but now they’re on your side. You sort of love to hate your enemies and hate to love your followers. There’s definitely this attachment that grows as they’re useful for you or as you help them survive.

You have this relationship with them and there is this reciprocity that develops. Like the moment when the Demolisher (a massive troll that’s been on your side) burns to death and dies, it definitely prompts some mixed emotions. Even if they’re your followers when they die, they’re still going to drop gear. Your loved one’s gone, but you’ve got a nice inheritance.

I think one area that we wanted to make stronger was that from reading threads about the most memorable orcs it broke down into two types. People would either remember them based on gameplay – ‘this guy was so tough, he was immune to everything’ or ‘he had poison weapons and I couldn’t beat him’ – or people would remember them based on their personality and their identity.

What we’ve tried to do this time is make sure that those two things go together. So in this demo we have Stormbringer – who hates you and has turned more to the dark side – who is cursed and his this cursed weapon that affects the way he looks. That kind of thing just makes them more memorable – directly aligning the gameplay and the physical attributes, trying to make them more memorable and personal.

There’s something special about having an experience that truly feels unique to you, something that Shadow of Mordor was known for. After all, how many of you would like to fall to your knees and weep when Crapbag the Smelly meets a horrid fate on the fields of battle? Crapbag! CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAG!

Last Updated: March 16, 2017


  1. Nikola

    March 16, 2017 at 12:57

    This game was not on my radar at all due to all the amazing releases this year (btw such a great year to be a gamer so far) but after watching that reveal combat trailer my WORD!!!!


  2. D W

    March 16, 2017 at 19:10

    I should really sit down and play the first one, having picked it up on special so long ago


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