Today’s trailer for Middle-earth: Shadow of War showcasing the voice acting talents of Kumail Nanjiani (known for his work in The Big Sick and Silicon Valley) as a comedic but no less deadly Orc called The Agonizer. After the trailer, I suspect the title is something he came up with all by himself. As Monolith states, The Agonizer is merely one of the many entertaining folks players will meet through the Nemesis System.
Revealed at the San Diego Comic Convention, this trailer gives a glimpse of Nanjiani’s comedic work in various one-liners as he works in the studio and how his character looks in the game. There’s even a little behind-the-scenes insight into The Agonizer coming from Nanjiani himself.
Though the lines are delivered well and are in themselves absolutely hilarious, I feel that the animation for The Agonizer doesn’t fit at all. Something about the lip sync, facial expressions, and body language, don’t quite fit the comedy happening. Admittedly, comedy is probably one of the hardest things to convert into a video game without the artistic room of a game like Jak and Daxter. Facial expressions and body language are so much a part of humor, successful execution is definitely in the subtle quirks that perhaps Monolith simply doesn’t have access to the technology necessary to pull it off.
That said, it is just alpha gameplay it might very well be that they clean up the animation and improve on the delivery of these lines in the game. Especially since these scenes appear to be cut scenes, it is far easier to edit those and there is definitely room for improvement.
As one of the first major hiccups I’ve seen in this game, I very much hope this is something they can fix. Monolith is clearly keen on creating a top AAA game, far above the original Shadow of Mordor in both graphical quality, scope of the open world, gameplay, and narrative. Even if it doesn’t fit entirely within the canon universe, for those that have read The Silmarillion texts.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War will be available for Xbox One, PC, PS4 beginning October 10, 2017.
What do you think of Nanjiani’s comedy? Do you think it fits the animation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!