Shadow of War, the second entry in Monolith Productions’ Middle-earth series, launches this week. It’s actually the third Lord of the Rings game that the studio has produced, following its earlier MOBA, Guardians of Middle-earth. But the list of Lord of the Rings video games is much, much longer.
As is to be expected from such a beloved, influential series, attempts to adapt the franchise date back decades, with the ZX Spectrum getting a text-based Hobbit adventure game in 1982. From there, we’ve gotten CRPGs, real-time strategy games, an MMO, and much more. These games often reflected the period during which they were released–Guardians of Middle-earth came after League of Legends was established as a big hit, while The Lord of the Rings Online launched during the peak of World of Warcraft‘s popularity. In our latest retrospective video, which you can watch above, we take a look back at the history of Lord of the Rings video games.
The franchise’s next game, Shadow of War, releases for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 10. You can get an idea of what to expect in our Shadow of War review, but one thing that hardcore Tolkien fans will want to know going in is that it doesn’t shy away from messing with the established canon. For instance, the giant spider Shelob appears as a human woman. The game’s creative VP told us recently why it’s “impossible” to make everyone happy with such a title, and we explored what makes it so challenging to create a Lord of the Rings game.