The first game in Warner Bros’ latest Lord of the Rings franchise, Shadow of Mordor, tried to position itself as something that could have ostensibly happened in between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It played with, but respected, the canon of Middle-Earth. Its sequel, on the other hand, is tossing that out the window for wall-to-wall LOTR madness.
A new story trailer for Shadow of Mordor released today is pretty much a rundown of almost everything Tolkienesque (or at least, specifically inspired by the movies) it can get its hands on, throwing it all in your face as a cavalcade of Middle-Earthen hysteria. Seriously, you’ve got giant spiders, you’ve got Sauron himself, you’ve got orcs fighting men (and women! And even a black guy!) of Gondor, ringwraiths, dragons, what looks like a balrog—the whole kit and caboodle. There’s even a glimpse of one of the craziest things this series has done so far in action: the creation and use of a brand new ring of power.
Tolkien purists’ heads are probably spinning at the thought of it, but it has to be said, seeing this relentless flinging at the wall of Lord of the Rings-isms to see what sticks at the very least makes for a hugely entertaining trailer. Whether the game itself will back up that absurdist spectacle remains to be seen.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is expected to release October 10.