After a particularly long incubation process, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is almost ready to ship. Daedalic has revealed that its stealth action take on JRR Tolkien’s fantasy world will be available May 25th on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. A Switch version is due later in the year. While the mechanics of the game are by now familiar, this still promises to be a fresh take if you weren’t enthused with the hack-and-slash of Monolith’s Middle-earth games.
You play Gollum in a previously unrecorded story of his search for (what else?) the Precious during the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. He’s clearly not a brawler, so he has to sneak and climb to survive. And crucially, the battle inside his corrupted mind plays a key role. You have to choose between giving into Gollum’s darker impulses or hanging on to the shreds of kindness from Smeagol. While this is an original tale based on the books, you’ll run into familiar characters and navigate a world heavily inspired by Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies.
To say Gollum has taken a while to finish would be an understatement. It was originally unveiled in 2019, and even then wasn’t expected to arrive until 2021. That year came and went (the pandemic didn’t help speed development), and even a tentative September 2022 release didn’t happen after a delay that was only supposed to last “a few months” as Daedalic took extra time to polish the title.
The timing might work in the game’s favor. In 2019, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series was still in its infancy, and the last big Tolkien game (Middle-earth: Shadow of War) was old news. Flash forward to 2023 and it’s another story. Amazon’s The Rings of Power show is a major success, and movie effects house Weta Workshop is making its own game set in the franchise. There’s a renewed interest in hobbits and orcs, and Gollum might benefit from that demand.