In addition to posting new Middle-earth: Shadow of War gameplay, GameSpot was able to sit down with Michael de Plater, Monolith’s VP of Creative, learning that the sequel didn’t need to be scaled back nearly as much as Shadow of Mordor.
de Plater explained:
Not as much [needed to be scaled back] as last time. Again, with Shadow of Mordor, it was Monolith and my first experience in this genre and this type of game, so we really didn’t have a very strong idea of how to scope it. We were massively ambitious and the result of that was that we had to cap things very significantly, in particular, basically the last half of the story. This time, we had a much better idea of what we could do. I think actually, when we go back and we look at the original scope and the original goals in terms of the scale of it, I think we hit those pretty well. We didn’t grind or cut anything dramatic, it was just harder than we thought.
de Plater then said the big thing that needed to be cut from Shadow of Mordor was the story, admitting that the finale wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been:
Last time, the finale and the end of the story was not as satisfying because we basically had to cut off a lot of that. We wanted to have the big iconic villains. We wanted to face Sauron and face Nazgul and explore all of that. We had to cut all that. The scale and variety of the world as well, so really making a significant open-world game.
The “types of stories and the breadth of stories” that could be put into the Nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor were also affected, but with Shadow of War, Monolith was able to make the fights “meaningfully different.”
Middle-earth: Shadow of War launches on August 22 in North America and August 25 in Europe for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.