"At the heart of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is its Nemesis system, a structure by which players can track and influence the orc hierarchy within the game. At the same time, the game presents an open world where you can chart your own course. We spent some time with the title to see how these two philosophies mesh together in the dangerous land of Mordor.
The short answer is that they work together very well. In a recent event we dropped into the Sea of Nuren – an area of Mordor that is still populated by humans (now slaves) and whose grasslands, stone structures, and wildlife is a far cry from the desolated landscape of Mordor people might be familiar with from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Nemesis system was a strong anchor for my overall objectives, but I was free to pursue my own whims and prey at anytime. The two are not mutually exclusive. "I think what we thought people would or wouldn't do kind of goes right out the window once they start playing it," says director of design at Monolith Michael de Plater. "The open world, the Nemesis system, and the story really do come back together at key points."