The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, developed by Daedalic Entertainment who you might know as the creators of the Deponia point-and-click adventure series, has been in active development for quite some time now.
The German developer has been hard at work over the past few years shaping The Lord of the Rings: Gollum into what could be the next hit for Tolkien’s Middle-Earth universe - one that has had a surprisingly strong track record when it comes to video games.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is set to be a canonical story in the Middle-Earth mythos. It follows the titular creature after he discovers The One Ring, set before the events of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. As such, it’s possible the game will fill in the story-centric gaps presented here, or provide additional context to the events of Tolkien’s books.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? An action-adventure video game focused on the character Gollum, set before the events of The Lord of the Rings.
- When can I play it? The game currently has a tentative release date of 2021.
- What can I play it on? The game is scheduled for release on PC, as well as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
The Lord of the Rings Gollum release date
While we don’t yet have a concrete date, it appears that we’re closer to the game’s release than we might think. The Lord of the Rings Gollum is currently slated for a tentative 2021 release.
This might coincide with Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV series, which is also set for 2021. The show is also going to take place before the events of the novels, meaning it could act as a companion piece for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
The Lord of the Rings Gollum trailer
While there hasn’t been a ton of visual info on the game so far, Daedalic has released a teaser trailer giving fans a sneak peek at the game’s visual style, and the kinds of environments we can expect to explore.
What we know so far
There’s still precious few details on what The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will eventually shape up to be. However, what Daedalic Entertainment has revealed so far is promising.
Gameplay will largely revolve around stealth and platforming. Gollum himself won’t get much in the way of actionable abilities. True to his character, he’ll be small and relatively spry, making him a perfect choice for a stealth game, really. As much as we’d love to see the little guy suplex an Orc, that’s likely not going to happen.
Players will also have to make decisions at certain key points through choices and actions displayed in thought bubbles around the main character. What we find interesting is that the choices will be split between Gollum’s own split personalities. From what we’ve seen, we can choose to suppress Gollum and select choices more in line with Smeagol (his original form before coming in contact with The One Ring).
Conversely, players can indulge the more feral Gollum with more cunning and aggressive choices.
It sounds like a clever system that makes a ton of sense for Gollum specifically, leading us to think that the game could end up being an interesting character study. It remains unclear as to how much these decisions will affect the overarching story, but we can imagine Gollum’s personality altering over time based on which side of him you choose to invest in more.
The Lord of the Rings Gollum PS5 DualSense features
One reason players may want to pick up the PS5 version of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is the inclusion of features made possible by its DualSense controller. Namely, the haptic feedback offered by the controller’s triggers.
Comments made by Daedalic’s Jonas Husges indicate that the triggers’ haptic feedback functionality will be tied to Gollum’s stamina. The more Gollum tires himself out by running, the more resistance will be applied to the triggers, indicating that the creature is getting tired.
We wonder if this will be a superficial feature purely for the sake of immersion, or if there’s something more ambitious at play here. For example, players might have to manage Gollum’s stamina to be able to more effectively sprint. Another possibility is that we might have to contend with increased resistance on the triggers to maintain extended bouts of speed.
This inclusion points to what kind of set pieces we might see during the game, too. You don’t typically do a lot of running while in stealth, after all, unless you’ve been spotted and have to make like a Nazgûl chasing a Hobbit.
There may be sequences where the player is being chased as part of the story, with no alternative recourse. In this case, haptic feedback on the DualSense could add another layer of challenge as players fight to keep Gollum on the move.
The Lord of the Rings Gollum ray-tracing and visuals
Daedalic has confirmed that current-gen versions of The Lord of the Rings Gollum will put ray-tracing front and center as a graphical feature. The developer has hinted that ray-tracing could be used dynamically in the game’s level design.
An example was attributed to how ray-traced lighting can both help and hinder the player in their stealthy endeavors. Passages of shadows can be used to maneuver safely from the enemy, while moving light sources can expose Gollum at a moment’s notice.
If this is indeed the case, we can see The Lord of the Rings Gollum turning into a unique and challenging stealth-based game which could pave the way for how other developers look at how to best utilize ray-tracing in gameplay-oriented ways. A certain long-dormant stealth action franchise comes to mind.
As for the game’s overall visual style, it’s certainly a step away from the gritty photorealism we’re used to seeing from Middle-Earth projects. It’s not overly cartoonish, but definitely straddles the line between that and a more realistic look. Gollum himself looks unsettlingly adorable, for example.
From screenshots released by Daedalic, it looks like the game’s environments have an impressive sense of scale. There are many scenes where the camera is tilted upward, immediately highlighting just how small Gollum is in comparison, while touching on the immense journey laid out ahead of him.
Touching on the game’s environmental progression, Daedalic confirmed the opening level will be Barad-dûr, a Mordor stronghold where Gollum is being held captive. However, the hellish landscapes of Mordor won’t be the only locale we’ll get to visit, as Daedalic has promised a variety of areas across Middle-Earth. Many of these environments will likely be large and explorable, offering several quest lines for players to uncover.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum has been in the works over at Daedalic for some time now, and its launch doesn’t appear to be all that far away. What we have seen so far looks promising, and hopefully Daedalic can deliver a unique stealth-based adventure that fits perfectly into Tolkien’s mythos. As always, we’ll keep you updated on any news regarding the game as it approaches release.