The Lord of the Rings: Gollum – everything we know so far

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is set to give us a different perspective on Middle-earth from developer Daedalic Entertainment. Experiencing Tolkien’s much-loved world from the view of Gollum, we’ll be able to make use of the character’s skills to sneak and climb our way through various locations such as Mirkwood, Cirith Ungol, and Barad-dur tower. Gollum’s dual personality will also come into play as we make decisions throughout the adventure – with each side offering a different kind of approach. 

Now we officially have a release date, The Lord of the Rings Gollum is set to arrive on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X this September, with a Switch version due to come at a later date. With the launch now confirmed, it’ll be exciting to see if Gollum’s upcoming adventure makes an appearance during E3 2022 – with a line-up of showcases in the E3 2022 schedule, there’s always the chance we’ll see more. 

As we wait for the summer games season to officially kick-off, read on below to find out everything we know so far about Lord of the Rings: Gollum, including gameplay features, story details, and more. 

What is Lord of the Rings: Gollum?

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum gameplay

(Image credit: Daedlic)

Announced in March of 2019, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an action-adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment, a German studio famous for making point-and-click adventure games. While the studio’s most popular output is the Deponia series, you may have also heard of some of the games they’ve published, including Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and 2018’s State of Mind. Daedalic inked a deal with Middle-earth Enterprises to work on this project, which means that the game will draw from the books and not the movies. 

Lord of the Rings: Gollum release date and platforms 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum game

(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

Daedalic Entertainment officially announced that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will be releasing on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X on September 1, 2022. While the adventure is still set to also launch on Switch, the developer confirmed it will be coming to Nintendo’s console “later in the year”. 

Gollum’s arrival was initially slated for a 2021 launch, before being pushed back in 2022. Now that we have an exact date, we can all add it to our calendars. 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will take advantage of PS5 features


(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

As we reported in November 2020, Jonas Husges of Daedalic Entertainment told Official PlayStation Magazine (opens in new tab) 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 translates directly to the way the game is played,” said Husges. 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. 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will have ray-tracing

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum ray tracing

(Image credit: Daedlic)

In the same interview mentioned above, Husges praised the PS5’s SSD component, and said it will help the Lord of the Rings: Gollum vastly decrease loading times and create a large explorable world. It also means Gollum’s world will be incredibly well-lit. 

“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,” said Daedalic art director Mathias Fischer. “All these things, of course, have the nice side-effect of making the game feel vast, and such free roaming environments we are creating look as spectacular as Middle-earth deserves.”

Lord of the Rings Gollum story – When will the game take place?

(Image credit: Future Publishing)

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, (opens in new tab) Daedalic explained that the game will take place in the years following Gollum’s acquisition of the one ring, meaning that it is set prior to the events of The Lord of the Rings. “Everything that happens to him before he appears in the book are the main things we will see in our game.” 

“We have the story that we all know from the book, but everything that happens to him before he appears in the book are the main things we will see in our game,” Carsten Fichtelmann, CEO and co-founder of Daedalic Entertainment, told The Hollywood Reporter. “We will tell the story before he first appears in the books.”

The game was then subject to a world-exclusive preview in Edge Magazine in January 2020, which revealed some more details about the story. The game will kick off in Barad-dur, a Mordor fortress where the creature is being kept against his will. More recently, in a recent 2022 press release from Daedalic, the developer described the upcoming adventure as a look at Gollum’s experiences from “behind-the-scenes” in the first chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring, when he leaves the misty mountains after losing the ring to Bilbo. 

In the very first gameplay reveal from Daedelic, we got to 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, such as the land of the elves where we’ll meet a variety of Lord of the Rings characters. It’s a clever timeframe to set the game as it affords Daedalic a lot of creative freedom to dive into the murkier bits of lore that Tolkein didn’t dwell too heavily on.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum characters 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

As well as a “range of friendly or unfriendly faces,” the Nazgul and King Thranduil will also feature in the game in some respect – Thranduil being the father of Legolas, for the uninitiated! During a hands-off preview for the Lord of the Rings: Gollum, we briefly got to see the elven king in the realm of Mirkwood, along with Gandalf who will also be making an appearance during our time with Gollum. Along with familiar characters from Tolkien’s world, there will also be some new faces who we’ll encounter during the levels that can help us along the way – so far we know about a young elf called Mell who Gollum meets in Mirkwood, and Greshneg who we’ll encounter in Barad-dur. 

Crucially, Daedalic’s version of Gollum will look nothing like the character popularized in the Lord of the Rings movies. “We started with the person he was and then evolved him,” explains producer Kai Fiebig. “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! 

Lord of the Rings Gollum gameplay details 

The very first gameplay reveal gave us a look at the stealth-based abilities and parkouring skills Gollum can use as he navigates through each level. As he can’t beat enemies by charging into battle, he has to rely on his ability to feel sounds and see in the darkness to use unlit spaces to curtail his enemies. Having gained skills over the last 500 years, Gollum is an experienced freestyle climber who can also jump across platforms, hang from ledges, and fit through tight spots to get away from, or around, his foes. Every action that requires force of some kind 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 Hobbit-self, Smeagol. CEO Carsten Fichtelmann told The Hollywood Reporter that in Gollum “you already have that big conflict in the character… which means there is a good reason there are decisions to make in the game: the Smeagol decisions or the Gollum decision.” So far, these choices have been presented as dialogue responses or choices 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. 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum levels 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

(Image credit: Daedalic)

So far we’ve seen snippets of three different locations that we’ll be venturing through as Gollum. With the first look showing off the dark depths of Barad-dur, the latest preview showcased the Cirith Ungol mountains in Mordor and Mirkwood. All of the levels in the game are said to be “quite linear”, but you can use Gollum’s small stature and climbing abilities to make use of multiple different paths to progress. 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum game

(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

Accordingly, the visual style that Daedalic is aiming for is set to skirt “the uncanny valley” and aim 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 hunchbacked creature will no doubt be striking then – the game has a lot of wiggle room if it wanted to incorporate 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 beasts when facing an unarmed, frail creature like Gollum and not say, an all-powerful wizard or warrior king.

It looks like the game will seek to make you feel different, perhaps more positive and empathetic emotions towards the gruesome creature than you’ve previously been acquainted within the books and novels. Gollum is naturally quite a tragic character, so there is a lot of room to experiment here, especially for a studio so well-acquainted with branching narratives. 

For more, here’s a roundup of all of the new games 2022 and beyond to look out for. 

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