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UPDATE: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor uses Assassin’s Creed assets, says ex-Ubi staffer

Friday, 24th January 2014 12:54 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor produced a new gameplay trailer today, but it hasn’t gone down well with one former Assassin’s Creed developer, who claims it contains evidence of assets from Ubisoft’s series.

UPDATE: Eurogamer reports that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s developers have responded to the matter, stating simply that Assassin’s Creed 2, “wasn’t something we were consciously going for”.

More as it comes.

ORIGINAL STORY: “Seriously, can someone tell me how Assassin’s Creed 2 code and assets are in this Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor game?” Capybara Games’ Charles Randall asked on Twitter.

The developer worked on Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed 2, and was involved in implementing the air assassination move introduced in the original game – so presumably knows the franchise’s code and assets fairly well.

Challenged by fans and colleagues over his allegation, Randall repeated and enlarged on his assertion.

“Watch the video. That’s AC2 stuff in there. Code/anim for sure,” he said. “I spent two years staring at AC2. I know it when I see it.”

One of Randall’s questioners was Ubisoft Quebec programmer Eric Martel, who asked simply “Where did you find out about this?” and replied to Randall’s comments with “wow”, apparently perfectly confident in Randall’s assessment.

“I know I don’t have any legal rights to what I did on Assassin’s Creed 2 but I sure hope I get a special thanks on that Middle Earth game,” Randall commented later.

“For the record though, that Middle Earth game looks pretty damn awesome. And I love AC2 so it’s kind of a double win.”

We’ve reached out to Warner Bros. and Randall, via Capybara, for more information. Ubisoft could not offer comment.

Thanks, CVG. Twitter links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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32 Comments

  1. dtyk

    That’s actually exactly what I thought. The resemblance is uncanny.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. SplatteredHouse

    Sample links? Side by side-set videos from like gameplay sections? I got memories of Prince of Persia from the movement, but it was mainly a hunch and I supposed a mere coincidence.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    Oh man if true this game will not be seeing the light of day if pursued by Ubisoft.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. The_Red

    I loved the gameplay vid but it did feel like Assassin’s Creed: Mordor Edition. Hope they were merely inspired by AC games and not stolen from it because the game is really promising.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. ddtd

    The animation looks exactly like AC’s, but damn that trailer looked good.

    #5 8 months ago
  6. Ali

    I don’t think so. The similarity is gross, but stealing codes ? Get outta her.

    #6 8 months ago
  7. Edo

    If so then for the next Assassin’s Creed game Ubisoft should use some of this game’s assets…LIKE AN ACTUAL CROUCH BUTTON.

    #7 8 months ago
  8. nadc

    Firstly the game looks amazing if they can continue at this high standard then the game is going to be great.

    But as soon as I saw the animations I had a real sense of déjà vu, then I realised the animations are nearly identical to AC. Look at the video of the air assassinations and the free-form combat. The animation where the Talion stabs the Orc in the head is identical to the animation Ezio uses in AC2, Brotherhood and Revelations. There are also other numerous similarities like the climbing animations.

    That animation data at the very least has been directly copied from one game to the other. Which is not surprising when you have 300+ people working on a game that is a annual franchise. How many developers had access to that code and have moved to other companies?

    #8 8 months ago
  9. karma

    #3 Phoenixblight: “Oh man if true this game will not be seeing the light of day if pursued by Ubisoft.”

    Its possible the Publishers have a mutual arrangement. Its odd the Ubi programmer knew nothing.

    As for the game, yeah it looks spectacular in a “Yes i’m a super fun video game!” sort of way. They might as well have called it ‘Middle-earth: Unleashed’, because seriously over the top powers for Tolkiens world.
    IMO the gameplay and powers would have worked better in D&D or with a less grounded comic book IP. Its impossible to believe any of that takes place in Tolkien’s world. Which kind of misses the whole point of why LOTR fans like Tolkien’s work.

    #9 8 months ago
  10. tezzer1985

    Nearly every game that comes out, takes from another.

    So what if they took from AC, the mighty Gears of War took the cover system from Kill switch, and camera positioning from Res:4

    #10 8 months ago
  11. monkeygourmet

    Ubisoft should know… The amount of shit they re-cycle…

    #11 8 months ago
  12. Pytox

    maybe the same animator from AC worked on this??? or how? :P

    #12 8 months ago
  13. Dave Cook

    Watching the video again the similarities are clear, not just in the animation, but the mini-map, HUD, eagle vision, climbing, rope-walking, stealth, combat, takedowns. There are some unique features sure, but there’s some questions to be asked here.

    I’ve emailed Ubisoft and Warner to comment. I’ll update if they say anything.

    #13 8 months ago
  14. monkeygourmet

    I liked the bit when the bad man went through the fire

    #14 8 months ago
  15. mongbatstar

    “Which kind of misses the whole point of why LOTR fans like Tolkien’s work.”

    @9 Have you seen the Hobbit?

    #15 8 months ago
  16. SplatteredHouse

    @15 have you read it?

    #16 8 months ago
  17. Ireland Michael

    @15 Is Thorin Oakenshield doing backflips and assassination kills and and teleporting backsteps twenty times a minute?

    The world is over the top. Its fantasy, after all. But the people who inhabit it tend to be a little more grounded than what we’re seeing here. Even Gandalf has huge limitations on his powers, and the application of his powers are stressful and taxing.

    The game looks pretty cool, but it’s definitely stretching the lore to the limit of feasibility.

    #17 8 months ago
  18. Mike

    Combat reminds me of The Witcher. No bad thing.

    #18 8 months ago
  19. Mike

    Oh and @9 is spot on. It’s based in Tolkien’s universe, but resembles nothing that Tolkien himself would have imaged,

    #19 8 months ago
  20. DarkElfa

    @16, Do you own it?

    #20 8 months ago
  21. SplatteredHouse

    @20 the point goes straight over your head, perhaps. The poster I replied to, (while responding to a message about Tolkien’s Hobbit) challenged karma with familiarity of Peter Jackson’s movie.

    And, as @19 also suggested (that it is far from Tolkien’s work), this game is without doubt based on Jackson’s interpretation of the property, not necessarily that of author JRR Tolkien.

    #21 8 months ago
  22. Panthro

    @17

    Thorin Oakenshield doesn’t have wraith powers ;)

    All of the newest LOTR games have been pretty grounded and haven’t turned out so well, I like that they are trying to take it into a different direction but also dislike how similar it is to Assassin’s Creed… I was done with that series years ago but really want to play a new LOTR game…

    #22 8 months ago
  23. Fin

    Man that’s verrry similar.

    #23 8 months ago
  24. Ireland Michael

    @23 I liked War in the North until it abruptly ended way earlier than it felt like it should have. You get the strong impression with that game that far more was intended for it, but they ran out of time.

    I can just about accept the idea that the character is a wraith, but it’s still really flimsy, especially considering how obscenely powerful he appears the be. It’s a little too “Secret Apprentice” – a peripheral character whose abilities and skills seem to far surpass anything we’ve seen before.

    It does look like it has the potential to be a great game regardless. I can’t hold that against it.

    #24 8 months ago
  25. POOhead

    @24 you realize the powers arnt forced? the power that seems to be forced is converting people into assassins or snitches, same for all rpg games. Just play the game how you want to play, if you dont want to use powers then fine dont use em, and fuck the lore

    #25 8 months ago
  26. Ireland Michael

    @25 Mate, I’m not hating on the game. I think it looks great. I just think the aesthetic and gameplay design is taking a lot of liberties with the lore.

    It’s just an observation I’m making as a Tolkien fan. Nothing more.

    #26 8 months ago
  27. KineticCalvaria

    @26, Aye the whole teleporting thing is a little too crazy for Tolkien, the game looks great but I don’t see how it fits with the lore of Middle-Earth.

    #27 8 months ago
  28. Christopher Jack

    Frankly I thought Gimli in LOTR was more impressive alone than the rest of the dwarves from the Hobbit combined. Seriously, how many times do they need to get caught? Also while these powers maybe a little over the top lets not pretend that exceptional characters don’t exist in Tolkien world, just look at Legolas, I could believe him doing just as well as this video game character minus the odd wraith stuff.

    #28 8 months ago
  29. FlyBoogy

    Wasnt something they were going for? But why does it look exactly the same in some aspects? Animations, environment and combat for example?

    #29 8 months ago
  30. Joe Musashi

    Well, I like AC games but have had my fill having recently beaten 3 and 4.

    The similarity here is undeniable, the motivation is not as clear.

    I really enjoyed the gameplay shown in the video. Getting shades of AC but also of Soul Reaver (that low posture and ragged cape set it off). Wraith mode reminds me of both games.

    Next gen open-world Mordor? Sure! Why not?

    Not sure about the nemesis system they’re trying to sell. Most times when we hear “Every encounter is unique! Never the same game twice!” it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not really that way and the logic in the system is a little too limited. I guess the jury’s going to be out on that one for a bit.

    That vid certainly caught my interest. Job done.

    JM

    #30 8 months ago
  31. absolutezero

    When was the last time you attacked an enemy in a game and then went on to let them live?

    Yeah all these Nemesis things? Its going to result from a scripted sequence. Did you burn the fat one or just let him run off?

    The entire domination thing just looks so… half baked and pointless. Send this Orc to attack his Chieftan only your going to have to believe us when we say hes not weakened because there is no other way of knowing because it made little to no difference to the actual fight.

    #31 8 months ago
  32. salarta

    Given some of the games supported around here, I really don’t think “this game stretches the limits of credibility based on what we see established in canon” is an argument most people can make. If we can accept other games that completely corrupt character identities and franchise themes, then I think it’s fair to say some Original Character phantom ranger that teleports and reads minds is small fry.

    @28: The dwarves in The Hobbit getting caught so many times is all part of Tolkien going out of the way to cater to a Hero Story where Bilbo, the “weakest and most cowardly” of the lot, can manage to save the day because brain can mean more than strength. Of course, it also makes the dwarves look like morons just to achieve that effect, but I’m just explaining the purpose, not defending it.

    #32 8 months ago

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