A Lesson For Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Pointing at the "blunders" in Eidos Montreal's recently released Thief title, GameZone seeks to prevent the same from occurring in Monolith's stealth-focused RPG Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor by editorializing on how the developer can avoid them. A few sample paragraphs:

Though slated for a late-2014 launch, Shadow of Mordor has held no punches in showing exactly the sort of adventure it's driving at. To complement the epic canon of J.R.R. Tolkien's thought-child, Monolith is aiming to introduce a truly evolutionary narrative. Not in scale or grandeur, but evolutionary in structure; a literally evolving plot, diverging, growing, changing with each decision made. Nemeses formed today may lead armies against you tomorrow, entire quest lines may be locked or created by your actions now, and each and every playthrough seeks to offer palpable agency to each and every player.

As much as I'd love to laud Monolith for applying next-gen power to storytelling over networking or graphical endeavors; or contrast how closely their vision resembles the narrative structure Ken Levine reportedly closed down his studio to pursue, there's a greater topic at hand. That same variance and diversity will also allegedly be applied to SoM's combat, and as you may have guessed, the game will likely end up in the same vein as Thief. That and Assassin's Creed, which it blatantly borrows from in the same way that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 borrows from God of War.

What does it mean to develop, or indeed to play, a next-gen title? Is the importance on the visual fidelity, the resolution, how many pixels fit on-screen? Or is it about immediacy; to be able to instantly download and play a game or share your current adventure online? Or is what's important the immense leaps in online functionality that have now become possible the Destinys and Divisions of our time? Or should PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles work to innovate upon the floundering storytelling capabilities of video games which have plagued the medium since its inception?