The Nemesis System is the most celebrated aspect of the Middle-Earth games, but it wouldn’t be nearly as effective without its accented orcs.
By Kyle Gratton
Published Jun 05, 2021
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor?and?Shadow of War are best known for their innovative Nemesis System. As the player travels through the dangerous, orc-infested lands of Mordor and Gondor, high ranking orc captains will be encountered. Defeating one will cause the promotion of another, as the orc hierarchy adjusts to the death of one of its members. Often, more than one fight will have to be won in order to defeat an orc captain for good, and the Nemesis System makes sure the orcs learn from their experiences, growing stronger and resistant to player strategies.
The?Middle-Earth games make sure to spotlight their impressive enemy AI; every time a battle against a higher ranking Uruk?commences, the orc?introduces themself in a wonderfully colorful cockney accent. Though the choice to give Uruk-hai cockney accents in?Shadow of Mordor was made by the developers at Monolith Productions, the decision was reportedly extremely beneficial to the Uruk dialog writing process.
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Related:?Why Aren’t There More Modern Lord of the Rings Games?
All of the orc dialogue – and nothing else – in?Shadow of Mordor?and?War was written by novelist and comic book writer Dan Abnett, who is currently working on the upcoming?Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. There were roughly 60 orcs in the first game, and even more in?Shadow of War, that needed distinct personalities and dialog. Abnett told PC Gamer?that the daunting task was made more efficient by the accents given to the?Middle-Earth?Uruk-hai.
Abnett noted to PC Gamer that it’s difficult coming up with unique orcs after the 30th or so: “you’re really struggling to think about, ‘What can a different orc be? How can I do this in a different way?’” Apparently channeling the likes of Bob Hoskins, star of?Who Framed Roger Rabbit?and the frequently derided?Super Mario Bros.?movie, to mimic the cockney accents of the orcs helped spur creativity.
Abnett says he became enthralled in the absurdity of the situation, sometimes unable to stop speaking in a fake accent even after he had finished working for the day. The dedication – and the almost comical tribulations – was apparently worth it, because the Nemesis System in?Shadow of Mordor became an instant fan-favorite game mechanic, with much of the celebration owed to the novel orcs that continuously popped up in the game. Uruks having cockney accents doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, but it certainly brings a lot of character to the enemies in?Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and?Shadow of War.
Next:?Will Gotham Knights Use Middle-Earth: Shadow of War’s Nemesis System?
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About The Author
(307 Articles Published)
A passion for video games was instilled at a young age when Kyle Gratton and his older brother were gifted a Nintendo 64 and Ocarina of Time. Graduating from the University of Kansas as an English and History major, with a minor in Film, Kyle enjoys discussing literature, movies, television, and especially video games. He currently writes features and reviews for Screen Rant’s games section, and dabbles in short fiction occasionally.
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