It Looks Like 'Middle-earth: Shadow of War' Team's Next Game Will Be Open-World

middle earth
(Photo: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Monolith Productions is gearing up for its next project, and as it does, details are beginning to trickle out about it.

The Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment studio has been around for 20 years, but many of you will know it for its last two games: 2014's Middle-earth: Shadow of Modor and 2017's Middle-earth: Shadow of War. As you may know, the former was up for many awards the year it released, while the latter still managed to sell and review decently well despite being devoured in a loot box controversy. And presumably, Monolith Productions' next title will be another Middle-earth game.

However, this time it looks like the Washington-based studio is taking the world of Tolkien and stretching it into an absolute open-world game, this is at least according to two job postings from the developer.

One job listing is for and Advanced Software Engineer, and makes notes of open-worlds multiple times in parts of its description. For example:

"Monolith Productions' Core Technology Team is expanding its Pipeline group to include an Advanced level engineer specifically focused on the technical design and implementation of our new Open World Pipeline. This person should have an in-depth understanding of modern, real-time Open World content generation pipelines. Along with their peers in on the Engine, Rendering, World and Technical Art teams, they will develop new pipelines enabling creation of a single scalable, stream-able contiguous open world that players can immerse themselves in for our next big gaming innovation."

Meanwhile, a listing for an Advanced Technical Artist, also makes references to the creation of open-worlds.

"Monolith Productions, a division of WB Games is looking to expand its Technical Art group with an Advanced Technical Artist focused on Open World Pipelines. Join the award winning team in creating brand new open worlds with our proprietary Firebird Engine technology. This role has a focus on pipeline, content construction and best practices for streaming and LOD systems focused on world constructions. The Advanced Technical Artist would work with the technical directors to help build the infrastructure to create our environments."

As you may know, both Shadow of War and Shadow of Modor both featured large, open levels, but neither game was an open-world game by definition. However, it looks like the junior release will be.

Of course, the various listings -- there are others -- make note of all different interesting things. One for a Principal Technical Artist references the series' signature Nemesis System, but with a little bit of twist. More specifically, the listing makes it sound like the next game's Nemesis System will feature humans with the part that reads: “believable human characters that will interact with the player in our next Nemesis system based game.”

In the first two games, only Orcs featured in the Nemesis system. And so this seems to suggest that either there will be more factions in the next game, or that it could actually be a brand-new IP with the Nemesis System carried over.

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Who knows. At the moment, Monolith Productions hasn't yet revealed or even teased what's working on. With all the controversy around Shadow of War, it wouldn't be too surprising if the team moved on from the world of Tolkien -- at least for a bit. Previously, the studio has recruited for people "who love sci-fi," so maybe we are getting a new sci-fi IP from it next?

Thanks, GearNuke.