The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will take us on an adventure in Middle-earth that is set to offer a new perspective in Tolkien’s world. Taking on the role of Gollum, players get a taste for what it’s like to be the classic fictional character. With climbing abilities, stealth-based tactics, and responses that go into the different sides of his personality. The decisions you make along the way will impact the fragile balance between his Gollum side and his Sméagol side. We know the story will follow Gollum when he was a slave below the Dark Tower. The game will also take us to his experiences with the Elves of Mirkwood.
What is Lord of the Rings: Gollum?
Lord of the Rings: Gollum was announced in March of 2019 and is an action-adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment. The studio is based in Germany and is famous for making point-and-click adventure games. Their most popular title is the Deponia series. Daedalic inked a deal with Middle-earth Enterprises (MEE) to work on this project. In other words, the game will draw from the Lords of the Rings books and not movies. There’s also been some suggestions that there may be more to come after Lord of the Rings: Gollum. So, this might not be the only iron Daedalic and MEE have in the fire.
Taking advantage of Ray Tracing and PS5 Features
Jonas Husges of Daedalic Entertainment told Official PlayStation Magazine that he’s impressed with the PS5’s SSD. He said it will help the Lord of the Rings: Gollum decrease loading times and create a large explorable world. It also means Gollum’s world will be incredibly well-lit. Daedalic Art Director Mathias Fischer said:
Clean, ray-traced shadows allow for maximum effect in player guidance in building stealth passages while dynamic and moving light sources bring in the extra challenge when Gollum is roaming through the darkness,
All these things, of course, have the nice side-effect of making the game feel vast, and such the free-roaming environments we are creating can look as spectacular as Middle-earth deserves.
In the same interview, Husges said that Gollum will make use of the next-gen PS5 tech. Gollum’s actions become more tangible and his physical struggle. When he runs out of stamina, it translates directly to the way the game is played, Husges noted. This points to The Lord of the Rings: Gollum using the PS5 DualSense’s haptic feedback ability. Which will likely apply more resistance to the triggers when Gollum is tired or otherwise strained.
When Does the Game Take Place?
Daedalic explained that the game will take place in the years after Gollum’s acquired the one ring. Meaning that it is set before the events of The Lord of the Rings.
Everything that happens to him before he appears in the book is the main thing we will see in our game.
The game will kick off in Barad-Dur, a Mordor fortress where the creature is being kept against his will. But the developers assured that there will be other “giant, persistent environments” to explore beyond the initial setting.
In the first gameplay reveal from Daedelic, we follow Gollum at Barad-Dur as he tries to reach a gate and free himself from the tower once and for all. As the studio notes, the game will go beyond Mordor to other parts of Middle-Earth. This includes the land of the elves where we’ll see a variety of Lord of the Rings characters. It’s a clever timeframe to set the game in. This gives Daedalic a lot of creative freedom to dive into the more murky bits of Tolkien lore.
Lord of the Rings Gollum Gameplay Details
The first look gave us a glimpse at the stealth-based gameplay and parkouring skills Gollum can use. Since he can’t fight enemies, he has to rely on his ability to feel sounds and see in the darkness. He can use these abilities to traverse unlit spaces andcurtail his enemies. Gollum being an experienced free-style climber can also jump across platforms, hang from ledges, and fit through tight spots. This will come in handy to avoid enemies.
Every action that requires force will use up Gollum’s stamina gauge. So you have to be mindful of the amount of stamina you have left before you leap to do another big climb. Part of the gameplay will also focus on Gollum’s inner battle with his alter-ego, Smeagol. CEO Carsten Fichtelmann told The Hollywood Reporter that in Gollum:
You already have that big conflict in the character. This means there is a good reason there are decisions to make in the game: the Smeagol decisions or the Gollum decision.
Currently, these choices are presented as dialogue responses that reflect his differing personalities on-screen. But Daedelic says the system is still currently subject to change while the game is still under development.
Expect a Different Look for Gollum
As well as a “range of friendly or unfriendly faces,” the Nazgul and Thranduil will also feature in the game in some respect. For those unaware, Thranduil is Legolas’s father. Daedalic stressed that their version of Gollum will look nothing like the character in The Lord of the Rings movies. Producer Kai Fiebig explains:
We started with the person he was and then evolved him,
You can see that this was once something like a human being before the Ring corrupted him.
So don’t expect to hear or see an Andy Serkis lookalike in-game when it finally lands! Accordingly, the visual style that Daedalic is aiming for isn’t “the uncanny valley” and aims for bold style over true realism. Fichtelmann notes in the initial report that the team is trying to “produce something that is a statement.” Gollum’s descent into a hunchbacked creature will no doubt be striking then. The game has a lot of wiggle room if it wanted to add some elements of the horror genre given Tolkein’s rogue’s gallery of creatures. By seating the player outside of the shoes of the atypical hero, Daedalic would do well to drive home the imposing terror of some of Tolkein’s many beasts when facing an unarmed, frail creature like Gollum.
It looks like the game will seek to make you feel different, perhaps more positive and empathetic towards the gruesome creature than you’ve previously been acquainted within the books and films. Gollum is naturally quite a tragic character, so there is a lot of room to experiment here, especially from a studio so well-acquainted with branching narratives.
Lord of the Rings: Gollum release date and platforms
Initially confirmed for a 2021 release date, The Lord of The Rings: Gollum has since been pushed back. A recent trailer confirmed it now plans to release in Fall 2022. The upcoming adventure is expected to land on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.