Middle-earth: Shadow of War will introduce the very first black character in The Lord of the Rings universe. Developer Monolith Productions confirms that a black character named Baranor will get his own DLC.
Monolith previously confirmed that Middle-earth: Shadow of War would add a playable female character in one of its expansion packs.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War Black Character ‘Baranor’ Getting His Own DLC
Speaking to VICE Brazil (translated via Waypoint), Monolith’s community manager Andy Salisbury explained that “there’s a lot that we understand about the villains and heroes, but there’s also so much that’s unknown.” This offers the developer “so many opportunities.”
One of these opportunities includes introducing a new character to The Lord of the Rings world, with Middle-earth: Shadow of War set to include Baranor, who is the very first black character in the fantasy universe. Baranor does fit into the larger Shadow of War story (he stars in the above trailer at 0:16 and 1:35) but he will get his own adventure in the game’s premium DLC, The Desolation of Mordor.
Salisbury explains that the decision to make Baranor was an “easy” and an “obvious” choice for the Middle-earth: Shadow of War team to make, adding that “we’re obviously very happy to make sure that we give everyone an opportunity to see a character that they love, but I don’t think it was deliberate. It was obvious.” Salisbury also discusses making “a character that’s well-rooted in the [Middle-earth] universe” but reflects the perspectives of the world now.
Pedro Falcao, the author of the piece, notes that The Lord of the Rings novels have been criticised for racism. Tolkien’s writing in The Lord of the Rings is transparent in the way that its enemies are dark-skinned and have dark hair, black characters side with the antagonist forces, while the good guys are ‘Whiteskins.’ But Baranor could represent a more inclusive step in the series’ growth. Hopefully Monolith shares more about the character and and his DLC soon.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War will be released on October 10 for Windows PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It is unclear when The Desolation of Mordor DLC will be made available.
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