New details for Lord of the Rings: Gollum have been revealed, along with the game’s platforms and launch date.
Announced back in March 2019, we have not heard much from the game since then, including what systems the game would be coming to outside of Windows PC. During an interview in Edge Magazine’s February 2020 issue (via IGN, PC Gamer, and Games Radar), Daedalic Entertainment confirmed the game will be coming to the PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X.
More details were also revealed during the interview. For example, the studio seeks to make their own version of Gollum, as explained by Art Director Mathias Fischer. “Tolkien didn’t give a size reference for Gollum to begin with, So in the first illustrations, he’s gigantic! He’s like a monster emerging from the swamp.”
Whether this will be the studio’s inspiration, or something else, was not revealed. Though Senior Producer Kai Fiebig reiterated that it would not be inspired by the movies, adding they do not “want to displease the folks who have only seen the movies. But in short, he doesn’t look like Andy Serkis. 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”
Some narrative elements were revealed however. In IGN’s words, you play as Gollum “as he’s deep into his corruption by the One Ring.” Despite this, he can convey emotions not seen in the films, letting him be more “sympathetic and relatable.” Something that “is important as you’ll be spending 20 or so hours with him.” Fiebig explained further.
“We have more storytelling possibilities than the movies ever had, and for us, it was very important to show a different set of emotions. We need somebody you could almost love, and on the other hand somebody you can really be afraid of. And at some points, trust me, you will fear him.”
Games Radar covered a tiny piece of the story in more depth. Gollum begins in a Mordor fortress called Barad-dûr, where Gollum is imprisoned. After this the player will see more of Middle-Earth, with the interview promising “giant, persistent environments, each harboring several questlines and a range of friendly or unfriendly faces.”
Other returning characters that will distance themselves from the films are the Nazgûl. Fisher explained with surprising belittlement. “They were an interesting challenge, because it’s so well documented where they are in the wider narrative. It was like, “Shit, can we use the cool Nazgûl?” I think ours are the less cool ones. They’re the drummer and bass player of the band. But we have a chance to make them more popular!”
Gameplay was also discussed. Along with stealth, large levels, and (in IGN’s words) “a move away from the violence that dominates other Lords of the Rings games,” Gollum’s fractured mind is also a gameplay feature.
Along with several choice-based moments, Game Designer Martin Wilkes explains further:
“It’s not just choosing to be Sméagol or Gollum, because for Gollum as an entity it’s not that easy. Each personality is being attacked by the other; each has to defend himself.”
[…] “You will have maybe two, three or four conflicts per chapter that lead to a final decision point. And at this final decision point, it will be harder to pick Sméagol, for example, if you’ve always fought for the Gollum side before.”
This will not be the last Lord of the Rings game we see from Daedalic Entertainment. CEO Carsten Fichtelmann confirmed the company has a “long-running” contract, and will create several games in the setting. Fitchelmann explained that it “means maybe the next game is – obviously not Gollum 2. That doesn’t make sense. It could be some other character. But it will be comparable to what we’re now trying with Gollum.”
Lord of the Rings: Gollum launches 2021 for Windows PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X.