Daedalic Entertainment has reaffirmed that its action-adventure game The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will be coming to next-gen consoles including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X alongside PC in 2021.
This is what the studio told Edge magazine for its February 2020 issue, which has a number of interviews with key developers that reveal the first new details about the game since its announcement back in March 2019.
For starters, Daedalic has set out to invent its own version of main character Gollum rather than follow the look given to him in Peter Jackson’s movies. “Tolkien didn’t give a size reference for Gollum to begin with,” art director Mathias Fischer told Edge. “So in the first illustrations, he’s gigantic! He’s like a monster emerging from the swamp.” Daedalic hasn't yet revealed what Gollum will look like in the game.
Senior producer Kai Fiebig adds to this that Daedalic doesn’t “want to displease the folks who have only seen the movies. But in short, he doesn’t look like Andy Serkis.” Serkis is, of course, the actor who portrayed Gollum in the movies.
Daedalic’s take on Gollum has you play him as he’s deep into his corruption by the One Ring. He conveys a different set of emotions than those seen in the films so that he’s more sympathetic and relatable – this is important as you’ll be spending 20 or so hours with him.
Fischer also revealed that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will feature Nazgûl, although not the ones that lovers of the films will know. “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?’,” Fischer said. “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!”
The Edge feature also outlines that you should expect stealth gameplay, a dual-personality mechanic, huge levels, and a move away from the violence that dominates other Lords of the Rings games. The dual-personality of Gollum sounds particularly interesting and will lead to some crucial choice-based moments throughout the game.
“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,” game designer Martin Wilkes explained.
“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.”
Finally, CEO Carsten Fichtelmann said that Daedalic has a long-running contract which means the studio is aiming to do two or three games set in Middle-earth, “which 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.”
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum isn’t the only big Middle-earth project to look out for in the future as Amazon’s prequel TV series is also on the way. It was recently confirmed that young Galadriel will appear in the show.
Chris Priestman is a freelancer who writes news for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.