Monolith Productions, a subsidiary of Warner Bros, has dedicated its resources to making Lord of the Rings games since 2012. The most notable of these was 2014's Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and its 2017 sequel, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War.
Fast forward to 2021 and it seems like Monolith Productions is ready to unveil their next Middle-Earth title.
Is Middle-Earth 3 Confirmed?
The unconfirmed Middle-Earth 3 title has been part of the rumor mill since Shadow of War came out. Further fueling the rumors have been the numerous job postings by Monolith Productions that have been sighted over the years.
Among those listings is an opening for an Advanced Software Engineer, whose responsibilities include the implementation of the studio's new Open World Pipeline, and an Advanced Technical Artist, who will create "brand new open worlds" using the Firebird engine, as well as a Senior World Artist with experience developing "triple-A open-world" titles, which appeared sometime between 2018 to 2019.
Of course, most paid no mind to these job listings. Around the same time, Monolith Productions also sprinkled in job listings looking for people with a "love of sci-fi". This suggested that Monolith Productions was already ready to walk away from making games related to Tolkien's Middle-Earth stories.
With that said, a recent leak seems to suggest that Monolith Productions is not ready to give up just yet.
According to Reddit's u/Due-Okra-135, the next Middle-Earth game will expand upon the Nemesis system used in both Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War. Instead of just orcs or Uruk, the Nemesis system will now also include humans. In addition to this, the user claims that fans should keep an eye out for E3 2021. The user alludes to Monolith Productions dropping a teaser for the next Middle-Earth game by then.
Of course, as is any leak with no credible source, we recommend that you take this bit of information with a grain of salt.
If we're being honest though, the leak does make a ton of sense. It's been four years since Monolith Productions released Shadow of War. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, enough time would have passed for Monolith Productions to unveil its next title with a potential 2022 release date. Not to mention, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment successfully patented the Nemesis AI system. It only makes sense for Monolith Productions to use the system again.
For those that don't know, Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War prominently featured the Nemesis AI system. The system allowed Uruks you encountered in both games to learn from each encounter with the game's protagonist and behavior differently in each encounter. This paved the way for some very unique combat scenarios. In some cases, Uruks would literally come back from the dead to take revenge against you at any time.
If the rumors are indeed true, it would also help drum up interest for Amazon Prime's The Lord of the Ring TV series.
At the moment, Monolith Productions is no confirmed to be a part of E3 2021. However, WB Games is. WB Games may showcase Monlith Productions' next Middle-Earth game as part of its showcase.