When Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was released in 2014, developer Monolith Productions realized something surprising: The best players had the worst experience. This was because of the Nemesis System, which expected players to die now and then so it could personalize their interactions with the many orcs and Uruks. The players who didn’t die missed out on that key feature.
This was just one of the many details Monolith wanted to address for the sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War. I sat down with Director Michael de Plater for a deep dive on the upgraded Nemesis System, the stories he wanted to tell, and how he made the player the one thing the orcs of Middle-earth fear. Check out the latest episode of IGN’s Expert Mode: