Shadow Of Mordor’s Nemesis System Was Once A Bit More Complicated
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor captured much of our time and attention last fall, and for good reason. Not only is the gameplay enjoyable, but its underpinning systems are unlike anything else we’ve played.
The Nemesis system, which tracks the relationship between protagonist Talion and the Uruk captains of Mordor creates threads of emergent narrative throughout the experience. It also allows for interactions among the named Uruk, but at one point, Monolith had even grander visions.
According to a post-mortem published on Gamasutra by design director Michael de Plater, the Nemesis system once had significantly more layers. De Plater says that at one moment during development, each Uruk faction had its own morale and discipline ratings, which influenced Orc behavior and dynamic events in the world.
While that was scrapped, it does have a legacy in the final product. The ability to dominate Uruk, send them against their masters, or simply use them to create an ambush for a warchief were spawned from this experiment.
For more on the development of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (including epic, scalable beasts that were cut), check out the complete post-mortem on Gamasutra. You can also read up in our review to find out what we thought of the game.
Given the success of the Nemesis system and what it has the potential to offer the development landscape, it’s fascinating to find out how it was molded. It was certainly one of my favorite aspects of the title, and I can’t wait to see how Monolith and others apply it moving forward.