Monolith on Shelob as a Woman in Shadow of War: We Don’t Do Insane or Unjustified Things

Alessio Palumbo

Shelob, the giant spider featured in JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, will be featured in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Monolith's sequel due to hit PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 10th.

In fact, as revealed during San Diego Comic-Con 2017 by the developers, Shelob will shapeshift for at least part of the game into a rather attractive woman (played by Pollyanna McIntosh, seen in The Walking Dead) despite none of this ever having been hinted as part of Shelob's capabilities by Tolkien.

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This reignited the debate surrounding Monolith's more than liberal use of the Lord of the Rings lore. In an interview with Metro GameCentral, Design Director Bob Roberts commented that Monolith has "huge fans" of the fantasy world created by JRR Tolkien and they don't propose "things that are insane and unjustified".

[...] we run everything through Middle-earth Enterprises. They vet all of our ideas and we get feedback from them on specific details. Like, for example, if there’s an enemy who’s evil his blood must be black. So all of these things have to be consistent and we are huge fans, so we don’t propose things that are insane and unjustified.

Yeah, she’s sort of demigod. And we give our justifications when we pass this stuff along for approvals, to say, ‘This is where we pulled the rationale for doing this thing that wasn’t in the books but we think makes sense in this context’.

We have to do what we think makes for the best game, the best story, and telling some new stories and not just rehashing the only existing things that have been written. So, we do enjoy bringing something new to the table, and we do feel that’s worth a little bit of trouble. But, obviously, it’s a huge world with a massive fanbase and they don’t always agree with each other either.

Frankly, I'm finding it hard to justify this one, even though I'm far from a lore zealot. It's equally hard to shake the feeling that this wasn't simply done to add sex appeal to the mix.

Let's hope this narrative arc will turn out to be coherent unto itself, at least.

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