The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is set to take us to an unexplored period of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth universe and give the legendary Lord of the Rings story a brand new story and lore. While Bilbo and Frodo Baggins are certainly heroes in the saga for finding, carrying, and ultimately destroying the One Ring and the Dark Lord Sauron, there’s another hobbit who had a very important role to play — Sméagol (later known as Gollum).
While Gollum’s tale has been touched on in the Lord of the Rings novels, Peter Jackson’s iconic film trilogy, and other LOTR media, this game will be the first story focused solely on “the third hobbit.” Gollum follows the notorious trickster as he is hunted down by Middle-earth’s heroes and villains while wrestling with split personalities and obsession with the One Ring.
Developed by Daedalic Entertainment, well-known for its long list of critically acclaimed indie titles, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum aims to add to the long list of fantastic Lord of the Rings games and bring deep Tolkien lore mainstream like Amazon Studios’ The Rings of Power series. The game has been delayed several times over the past couple of years but finally has a release date for 2023 — here’s everything you need to know.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is officially being released on May 25, 2023, on most consoles. A Nintendo Switch version is also in development, but it still has a vaguer “later this year” release window.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was first announced in 2020 with a 2021 release window. It didn’t come out that year and was pushed back to 2022. Things were shaping up nicely for a September 1, 2022 launch, but Daedelic Entertainment delayed it indefinitely just over a month before release so the developers could deliver “the best possible experience.” While they said it was only going to be delayed “by a few months” at a time, fans will have waited nearly nine extra months by the time it releases.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is slated to launch on PC, current-gen, and last-gen platforms. It was originally revealed as a next-gen-only title, although the team has since tacked on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch as launch consoles. PS5 players will also benefit from enhanced DualSense features, including a variety of haptic feedback responses based on their in-game actions.
Several trailers exist for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, most of which are of the cinematic variety. Everything we’ve seen so far looks better than the original images released in May 2020, and recent trailers have only made the wait for Gollum more difficult. You can check out all the trailers below:
A Split Personality — cinematic trailer
Released during The Game Awards 2021, the latest trailer offers a closer look at Gollum and the world he’ll be sneaking around in when the game launches.
A Unique Promise
Harald Riegler of Daedalic Entertainment sits down for a brief interview about Gollum’s world, mechanics, and overarching storyline.
Sneak Peek trailer
It’s less than a minute in length, but it’s still one of the best looks we’re yet to have of the game.
It’s a teaser trailer, so this short clip offers more questions than it does answers. It’s still worth a watch, however, as it’s one of the few official videos we have related to the upcoming title.
The most recent trailer arrived on July 7, 2022, offering a closer look at Gollum’s gameplay. It runs for just over a minute and shows off a bit of new gameplay footage such as Gollum scaling walls overgrown with ivy and swimming underwater.
Released in March 2023 along with an official release date, this story trailer gives players a look at the plot of the game. It shows Gollum sneaking around Middle-earth, avoiding the clutches of orcs, the Nazgul, and other enemies.
Unlike most other games that bear The Lord of the Rings branding, Gollum will not feature any serious combat. “The game mixes stealth with vertical climbing parkour,” said lead game designer Martin Wilkes. “If you want a reference, you might think of it as similar to Prince of Persia. It is mostly a non-combat game, but Gollum will be able to stealthily take out enemies. However, this will not be easy and always come[s] with big risks. We want players to carefully weigh these encounters. After all, Gollum’s strengths lie in cunning, not combat.”
As far as how this will translate to moment-to-moment gameplay, expect to be triggering a lot of environmental hazards. While Gollum won’t be using weapons, he can lead his foes into deadly traps — and will even benefit from the special abilities of allies he’ll meet throughout his adventure.
When not in combat, you’ll be making some pretty big decisions during tense conversations with NPCs. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will feature a branching narrative that changes based on your decisions — will you listen to the corrupted Gollum or the slightly more innocent Smeagol? These choices will directly impact your gameplay experience, although the specifics remain murky.
The world you’ll be exploring in Gollum is a mixture of linear stages and open-world environments. “Some levels are completely open in all three dimensions and can be explored freely, while others are more linear but often with alternative routes where players can, for example, decide if they’d rather sneak around some guards or take a risky parkour route in vertiginous heights to pass the next segment,” said Wilkes.
Gollum‘s latest gameplay trailer didn’t show off too much that we didn’t already know, but we did get to see the famous anti-hero slinking around a few different maps. Gollum’s animations look pretty great in action — and the environments he’ll be exploring look even better. From dense jungles to rocky mountains, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of gorgeous backdrops to explore. We also got a look at Gollum swimming in a first-person, underwater scene, which is likely to be a great way to evade detection by Sauron’s forces. He also appears to be throwing an object around the 40-second mark of the gameplay trailer — possibly as a way to distract guards standing in his way.
Overall, it seems that Gollum will provide a unique combination of stealth, puzzles, and narrative-driven action. It’s unlike any other Lord of the Rings game we’ve ever seen and sounds like a promising mixture of gameplay elements.
Gollum is available for preorder at most major retailers and console stores, although no bonuses have been announced yet.
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