The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
When A Successful franchise gets milked too much, the teats shrivel and the tasty gaming milk curdles and turns into a fetid paste. That's what happened in Lord of the Rings: Conquest, but Warner believe they can reinvigorate those teats and get the juices flowing the white stuff again.
Enter Lord of the Rings: War in the North, an action-RPG set in the seldom-explored northern areas of Tolkien's Middle-earth. It's a crowded marketplace the game will be coming into, but with the strength of the Tolkien license behind it and, hopefully, some honest appraisals of the mistakes made by other studios with their games, Snowblind and Warner could be onto a winner.
The Bigger Picture
- Ring Pieces
War in the North is going to be focusing on a number of aspects of Tolkien lore, mixing in a number of concepts from the books and the films. According to Warner it's going to be a mature RPG. We imagine it won't be the kind of mature that sees Gandalf and Frodo indulging in a bit of man-on-hobbit action. (Although some kind of elf romp might not go amiss, but we digress.) It just means there will be some blood in it a bit. Maybe some heads flying off.
- Friends Reunited
One of the major selling points is going to be online co-op play, with three people given the opportunity to knock ore heads together in Aragon's name. As a group, you'll be exploring the more mysterious lands of the north, customising your characters and levelling up, the whole RPG shebang. It's being developed by Snowblind Studios, who were responsible for Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. They've never made a PC game before in their company's history, but that doesn't mean they won't surprise us.
A contentious issue surrounding recent Lord of the Rings games is the representation of magic. In Tolkien's works magic is only used by Gandalf, Saruman and their three fellow Istari, yet it's always present in fantasy RPGs. As you can See in this image, the guy with the light coming out of him must be a spellcaster, so if you're a stickler for fidelity to Tolkien's lore, you might be gnashing those teeth right about now. Still, it does mean there'll be some whiz-bang special effects and spells to play with.
- Talk Talk
Most action-RPGs don't focus on dialogue so players can concentrate on hammering pad buttons repeatedly. War in the North is going to be pushing a Mass Effect-style conversation model. If it's transposed into the co-op sections of the game, could really be interesting indeed. News has reached us that the conversation model won't feature the ramifications of BioWare's system, which is a worrying. Is there any point if there are no real consequences to your actions?
- Cloak Of Doubt
There are lots of unanswered questions about War in the North. For a start, is it speculation to say you might be able to ride this big bird? Chances are that you can't, because it would probably interfere with the lore or something, but it's a possibility. Just think of the things you could do though - like diving down into hordes of ores and scatter them about the place like bowling pins. Snowblind, if you're reading this, make this happen.
- Band Of Brothers
The usual assortment of fantasy RPG races will be available to pick characters from: elves, dwarves and humans. There hasn't been any evidence of any famous characters being included yet or even hobbits being available as a race selection. This is probably because the former are fighting the important battles and infiltrating Mordor, while the latter stay at home and stuff their faces. You'll most likely be a ragtag collection of unnameables, but don't let that get you down. It's likely you'll just be the unsung heroes of an epic tale, just one with more whippets, cloth caps and incomprehensible accents.
Download The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP