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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
Video game
DeveloperSnowblind Studios
PublisherWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
PlatformPlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360[1]
Release date1 November 2011 (North America),[2]
for other regions, see Release.
GenreAction, Role-playing game
ModesSingle player, two/three-player co-operative, online[3]
RatingESRB: M[4]

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is a role-playing video-game developed by Snowblind Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows. The game takes place during the War of the Ring but adapts the seldom-mentioned battles that took place across Eriador and Rhovanion. The game was released between 1 November and 25 November 2011.[2] The game will be based on both the books and the films.[5]

Although the game includes familiar locations from Middle-earth it doesn't deal with the core story of The Lord of the Rings, instead choosing to create a tale which didn't happen but could have done.[6] The player controls his own fellowship, a trio of fighters - Eradan, a Dúnadan "Ranger of the North," Andriel, an elven "Loremaster of Rivendell"[7] and Farin, a dwarvern "Champion of Eriador" - to get behind enemy lines and have to stop Agandaûr, the game's antagonist, before his plan succeeds.

Contents

Plot

Prologue

The game starts with an introduction, narrated by Gandalf. Gandalfs tells that heroes like Aragorn, Frodo Baggins and Gandalf are honored much, but that withouth a few, not well known heroes - Eradan, Andriel and Farin - the north of Middle-earth would have been lost.[8]

The game then switches to Bree, where the three heroes make their way to the Prancing Pony, just a few days before Frodo arrived in Bree. Arrived in the Prancing Pony, they find Aragorn in a corner of the inn. They tell Aragorn that the Nazgûl attacked and defeated the Rangers at Sarn Ford, and a flashback shown in which the Witch-king meets a Black Númenórean, Agandaûr. Eradan, Andriel and Farin overhear their conservation: Agandaûr tells he has summoned an army of Orcs of the Misty Mountains and assembled an army in Fornost, to aid the Nazgûl in the Hunt of the Ring. The Witch-king sends Agandaûr back to Fornost, so he can attack immediatly. The flashback ends, and the game returns to the Prancing Pony[8]

Farin asks Aragorn why the Nazgûl attack the Shire, on which he answers that a Hobbit with an important burden is making his way to Bree. And that this "must be protect on all cost". Aragorn sends Eradan, Andriel and Farin to Fornost, where they have to stop Agandaûr's army before it can attack.[8]

Chapter 1: Fornost

Belarum - captured by Orcs and Goblins - in Fornost.
As soon as Eradan, Andriel and Farin enter the ruins of Fornost they are attacked by a band of Orcs and Goblins. After cleaning the main gate, they end up in the pits under Fornost. There they hear an animal screaming. After finding their way out of the pits, they find the source of the noise - a giant Eagle. The three heroes unchain the Eagle and kill it's jailers. The Eagle introduces himself as Belarum, a servant of Gwaihir who gathered news but was taken out of the air by siege engines and sorcerers. Together the Eagle and the three heroes make a plan: while Belarum would attract the enemy's attention, Eradan, Andriel and Farin would make their way up to the battlements to destroy the siege weapons.[9] The plan works out succesful, as all siege weapons aswell as two Orc sorcerers are destroyed.[10] The player, furthermore, obtains a stroll with unreadable text.[11]

When reaching the outer wards of Fornost, the players meets again with Belarum. The eagle thanks his rescuers again and tells them that he saw Elladan and Elrohir within the ruins. While searching the two Half-Elves, they defeat a giant crossbow, used by Orcs, and are trapped by a Troll. Just shortly after the death of the Troll, the sons of Elrond appear.[12]

Andriel introduces Eradan and Farin to Elladan and Elrohir, and informs them about their task. They collaborate in this task, but instead of just stopping the army to attack they decide to kill Agandaûr. The sons of Elrond guide the player to the citadel. They seperate, however, after defeating another giant crossbow. Eventually, they are locked on a bridge between two gates. After surviving an ambush, the sons of Elrond appear again and open the gate.[13] After defeating another more ambushed, they arrive at the gate of the citadel. Which is protected by a magic spell, to stop intruders. While the sons of Elrond undo the magic, the player defends them against an attacking force of Orcs, Goblins and a Troll. As Eradan, Andriel, Farin, Elrohir and Elladan enter the citadel, Belarum remains outside to protect them against reinforcements.[14]

Inside, they overhear a conservation between Agandaûr and Tharzog, chieftain of the Orcs of Mount Gram. Tharzog tells Agandaûr that there are intruders in Fornost, after which Agandaûr angrily commands him to find and kill them immediatly. After Agandaûr leaves, the player and the sons of Elrond go onward in the tower. Tharzog, however, notices them and as a gate is closed, the player is cut off from the sons of Elrond. Tharzog and his guard attack Eradan, Andriel and Farin, but the latter manage to kill him.[15]

At the same time, Elladan and Elrohir fight Agandaûr on the top of the Citadel tower. Agandaûr is no match for the twins alone, but when Eradan, Andriel and Farin join them he flees on the back of a Fell beast. Belarum attempt to chase him, but Agandaûr summons a thunderstorm and escapes.[15]

Belarum returns to Gwaihir, in the Misty Mountains, to inform him about the events in Fornost, Elladan and Elrohir return to Rivendell and Eradan, Andriel and Farin go back to Sarn's Ford to inform Halbarad.[15]

Chapter 2: The Barrow Downs

The leader of the camp, Halbarad, sends you to Rivendell, where you've to speak with Aragorn.[16] The fellowship travels through the Barrow Downs, where they have to find two lost rangers.[16]

Chapter 3: Ettenmoors

Agandaûr, the game's main antagonist.
In Rivendell the fellowship meets several members of the Council of Elrond,[16] scout the land around Rivendell[17] and fight Orcs with Elladan and Elrohir.[18]

Chapter 4: Gundabad

Whilst the Fellowship of the Ring travels towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring, Sauron has sent one of his most cruel servants, the Black Númenórean Agandaûr, to the North to destroy Rivendell and defeat the Free peoples of Eriador and Rhovanion. Eradan, Andriel and Farin travel to Gundabad to discover the strength of Agandaûr's army.[19]

Chapter 5: Mirkwood

Eradan, Andriel and Farin travel with Belarum to Mirkwood in search of Radagast. In the air they’re attacked by Wolfram, a sorcerer and a Fell Beast rider, after which they fall from the Eagle’s back. They defeat Wolfram, after his death Wolfram’s Fell Beast tries to escape but is killed by Belarum. Andriel leads the others deeper into Mirkwood. They are ambushed by a group of Orcs and an Orc shaman. Eventually the fellowship enter a cave where they defeat a Cave-troll.[20]

Gameplay

Developed in association with Middle-earth Enterprises, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North explores both original and familiar narrative elements as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment holds the rights to develop video games based on both the literary and motion picture content from The Lord of the Rings. Breaking new ground as a mature RPG video game set in Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North advances the RPG paradigm through innovative online, interdependent co-op play for up to three players who form their own Fellowship to fight Sauron’s forces in the North.

In The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, players can become the heroes in the great battle of the North as part of the epic War of the Ring. Exploring unseen lands, story elements and characters from Middle-earth as well as elements familiar from past feature films, gamers will experience extensive character customization and development, expansive co-op gameplay options and upgradeable weapons, skills and special abilities.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, product announcement[3]

Commentators have noted that this is the first iteration of The Lord of the Rings-based games which is aimed at an older audience - predicted to be the first game in the series to be given and M-rating - with the inclusion of graphic violence and gory bloody detail[21] with players being able decapitate orcs and slash limbs off enemies.[22] When defeating enemies you can gain experience and loot. With experience you can gain new skills, there are twenty skills for each race.[5] Every skill has five different ranks. Loot can also be found in chests. Some items can only be used by a certain race, therefore it is possible to trade with the other characters of your fellowship.[23] The gameplay - in both single and multiplayer modes - revolves around strategically combining the different abilities of the threesome to good effect, for instance the dwarf can find treasure and spot weaknesses in structures, which lead to alternate roads,[20] whereas the man can find herbs to heal other party members. When in single-player, the other two characters will be controlled by computer AI.[4] Working together with the other characters of your fellowship is very important to defeat stronger enemies.

It is possible to co-up (cooperatieve mode) both local and online,[5] players can join the game on every moment.[23] While the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 support split-screen, online split-screen and online multiplayer, the PC only includes online multiplayer.[24]

The game will not be open world, nevertheless some areas will be more open then others.[25] It is still unknown if it is possible to return to earlier locations. There will be severel NPC's (Non-playable characters) in the game, some of them will have a more passive role while others fight beside you.[17] Like many RPG's the dialogue system is very important, and effects the game's storyline.[5]

If you are in need of help you can call the eagle Belarum, who can help you to defeat bigger or stronger enemies. Calling him is limited in the begin, but while leveling you can find items which make it possible to call him. It is impossible to call Belarum underground or in building and there is a cool down for using him.[26]

Featured Characters

Playable Characters

  • Eradan: Eradan is Dúnedain and one of the Rangers that acompenied Aragorn as the Grey Company. He is very good in tracking enemies and fights with a sword and a bow. He can move undetected behind enemies with his skill evasion.[24]
  • Andriel: Andriel is an Elf of Rivendell and was sended by Elrond to investigate Sauron's armies that were gathering in Eriador and Rhovanion. One of her abilities can create a shield that protects her and the other characters of the fellowship against ranged attacks. She can use her staff as both a melee and a ranged weapon.[24]
  • Farin: Farin is a dwarf of Erebor that has travelled to Eriador to repay his debt to Bilbo Baggins. He can be used as a tank and his strenght is in battle enemies in close quarters.[24] His main weapon is an axe, but he uses a cross-bow as his ranged weapon.[20]

Non-Playable Characters

Cast

Role Actor
Nolan North Eradan[28]
Tom Kane Gandalf[28]
Yuri Lowenthal Frodo Baggins[28]


Featured Locations

Concept art of Rivendell.
Concept art of Osgiliath.

Development

Development on War in the North started at early 2010 or late 2009, Saul Zaentz Company claimed the name The Lord of the Rings: War in the North in June 2009.[35] Though, the game wasn't officially announced untill 18 March 2011.[36] Since its announcement several images, traillers and concept art of several locations and characters has been released.

Trailers

Since the first announcement in March 2010, Warner Bros. have periodically released trailers demonstrating various aspects of the gameplay and revealing the characters and locations. All video links are to YouTube, and times are in minutes:

VideoLengthRelease DateDescription
Unite Your Fellowship1:0317 March 2010Teaser trailer; short clips of action and trolls
E3 2010 Trailer1:0310 June 2010
Extended Fellowship Trailer1:3412 August 2010Expanded version of teaser trailer
War in the North @ PAX 20101:22c. September 2010Coverage of Penny Arcade Expo 2010 exhibit
Untold Story1:2217 November 2010Outline of plot with various shots of locations
Snowblind Tolkien Toast 20111:223 January 2011No gameplay; Snowblind's birthday toast
The Black Númenórean1:591 February 2011Exploration of Agandaûr, the game's antagonist
Behind the Scenes: The Untold Story2:3817 February 2011Outline of the several locations of the game
Brutal Combat Trailer1:359 March 2011Coverage of The War in the North's combat gameplay
Pax East Hands-On0:5216 March 2011Coverage of Penny Arcade Expo 2011 exhibit
Blood and Steel: The Combat of War in the North2:3331 March 2011Exploration of game's combat and Middle-earth's darker side
Combat Vignette0:4413 April 2011Gameplay vignette covering the different combat styles
Gameplay Video: Mount Gundabad2:285 May 2011Exploration of the gameplay in Gundabad
Snowblind Studio Tour2:4211 May 2011No gameplay; A guide through Snowblind's studio
Dev Video: Art Direction Process2:0911 May 2011Coverage of art, including concept art of several locations
Prepare for War: Weapon Development2:0112 May 2011Coverage of weapons
Heroes will Rise1:361 June 2011Teaser trailer
Belarum Gameplay Trailer0:4822 June 2011Exploration of Belarum, one of the games’ main characters
Behind the Scenes with new heroes2:1424 June 2011Coverage of some of the several characters
E3 Walkthrough2:341 July 2011Walkthrough of the game at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Movie Touchpoints Trailer2:047 July 2011Game trailers; uses fragments from The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Fellowship Trailer2:0020 July 2011Teaser trailer
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Champions TrailerAugust 2011Interactive trailer
I Love The Lord of the Rings: Dev Video with Jason Olander2:348 September 2011A dev video with Jason Olander, who tells about his love for The Lord of the Rings and how it applies at his work

Gallery

Wallpapers and Concept Art of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.
Concept Art of the Ettenmoors.  
Concept Art of Mirkwood.  
Concept Art of Osgiliath.  
Concept Art of Rivendell.  
Concept Art of Eradan.  
Concept Art of Andriel.  
Concept Art of Farin  
Concept Art of Agandaûr.  
Concept Art of Andriel.  
Wallpaper of Agandaûr.  

Release

The first release date of War in the North was 1 November 2011 in North America and the latest release date will be on 25 November 2011 in the United Kingdom.[2] All release dates are in 2011.

RegionRelease date[2]
North America1 November
Africa4 November
Middle East4 November
Low Countries4 November
Ireland4 November
Southern Europe (except Spain)4 November
Eastern Europe (except Russia)4 November
South America (except Brazil)4 November
Northern Europe8 November
Germany9 November
Russia9 November
France10 November
Spain11 November
Australia and New Zealand16 November
Brazil17 November
United Kingdom25 November
Asia (except Middle East and Russia)Unknown

Collector's Edition

The collector's edition of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.
Besides the normal version of the game, a collector's edition will be released. This collector's edition will include an artbook, a behind-the-scenes music dvd, a quiver case as well as access to digital gubbins: icons, avatars and themes. Some retailers give extra add-ons. Both the collector's Edition and the special add-ons will be avaible in North-America and Europe; it is still unknown if it will be avaible in other parts of the world.[37]

Reception

It's a very handsome game with well voiced cutscenes, and places the compelling Lord of the Rings realm in the hands of a developer with solid RPG credentials. Fans of both have good reason to look forward to a unique entry in the series.
Kotaku[4]

Commentators immediately picked up on Snowblind Studios' experience with role-playing games (such as Baldur's Gate and Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest) along with frequent mentions of the more "mature" and "brutal"[38] design of the game, and the desire for an action RPG in the manner of previous Snowblind games.[39]

See Also

External links

References

  1. Gamespot, Interview with Ryan Geithman, dated 10 June, 2010 (accessed 5 July, 2011)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 War in the North, FAQ, What is the release date of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North for my region? (accessed November 9, 2011)
  3. 3.0 3.1 War in the North, "Product Announcement", dated March 17, 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Kotaku, "Lord of the Rings: War in the North Eyes-On Impressions: A Party of Three, dated June 17, 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Gamefront, GDC 11 – War in the North Hands-on, dated 10 March, 2011 (accessed at 6 July, 2011)
  6. Atomic MPC, "Lord of the Rings: War in the North dev interview, page 1", dated December 22 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  7. Orginally the human was a mage and the Elf a ranger, but their classes were switched.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Prologue
  9. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Main Gate
  10. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Battlements
  11. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Cult of the Lidless Eye
  12. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Outer Wards
  13. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Inner Wards
  14. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, The Citadel
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Citadel Tower
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Offical Xbox Magazine Online, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, dated 28 April, 2011 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Atomic Maximum Power Computing, Lord of the Rings: War in the North dev interview, dated 22 December, 2011 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named sourceC
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Lord of the Rings: War of the North's Official Site, Media, Videos, Gameplay Video: Mount Gundabad, dated 5 May, 2011 (acessed at 20 June, 2011)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Middle-earth Center, War in the North Gameplay Trailer at PAX, dated 6 September, 2010 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  21. Kotaku, "Lord Of The Rings: War In The North Is Cutting Throats, Taking Names, dated June 14, 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Kotaku, "There Will Be Orc Blood In Lord of the Rings: War in the North", dated August 27, 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)
  23. 23.0 23.1 The One Ring, Lord of the Rings: War in the North Dev Interview at PAX, dated 1 December, 2010 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Gamespot Asia, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Q&A, dated 31 January, 2011 (accessed at 6 July, 2011)
  25. Game Reactor TV, [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfDfuN-8Bjo&feature=related Interview with Ian Scott], dated 16 October, 2010 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  26. Gamespot, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Ruth Tomandl Interview (PlayStation 3), dated 1 June, 2011 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 Atomic MPC, "Lord of the Rings: War in the North dev interview, page 2", dated December 22 2010 (accessed February 5, 2011)
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 "Q&A: The Voices of War in the North" dated 20 July 2014, www.warinthenorth.com (accessed 14 February 2012)
  29. The Lord of the Rings: War of the North's Official Site, Locations (accesed at 6 February, 2011)
  30. The Lord of the Rings: War of the North's Official Site, Media, Videos, The Black Númenórean, dated 1 February, 2011 (accesed at February 6, 2011)
  31. The Lord of the Rings: War of the North's Offical Site, Media, Videos, Behind the Scenes: The Untold Story, dated 17 February, 2011 (accessed at 20 June, 2011
  32. Gamefront, GDC 11 – War in the North Hands-on, dated 10 March, 2011 (accessed at 23 June, 2011)
  33. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North's Official Site, Media, Videos, Dev Video: Art Direction Process, dated 11 May, 2011 (accessed at 20 June, 2011)
  34. 34.0 34.1 The Lord of the Rings: War in the North's Official Site, Media, Videos, Heroes Will Rise, dated 1 June, 2011 (accessed at 20 June, 2011)
  35. Cinema Blend, Lord Of The Rings: War In The North Revealed, dated 28 June, 2009 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  36. Cinema Blend, Lord of the Rings: War in the North Announced For PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, dated 18 March, 2010 (accessed at 7 July, 2011)
  37. The Six Thaxis, War In The North Collector's Edition Revealed, dated 5 July, 2011 (accessed 7 July, 2011)
  38. ComputerAndVideoGames.com, "E3 2010: LOTR: War in the North screens, dated June 14 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)
  39. Kotaku, "The Untold Story Of The Lord Of The Rings: War In The North", November 18, 2010 (accessed February 6, 2011)