The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an unusual sort of videogame. We described the lead character, Gollum, as “clammy” last year, and that’s probably the nicest possible way to put it. His portrayal in the game won’t be a spot-on recreation of the Peter Jackson film creation, but it’s not all that terribly different either, and his physical characteristics are only part of the whole repugnant package anyway. Beauty may only be skin-deep, but Gollum is a temperamental creep all the way down.
It may still be a fun game to roam around in—Daedalic said the gameplay will be stealth-focused with an emphasis on climbing and platforming, which brings to mind the Styx games, another series featuring a less-than-heroic lead character—and frankly I don’t think it’s likely to do anything more discrediting to Middle Earth as a whole than Sexy Shelob, although that’s not admittedly a very high bar.
We are going to have to wait longer than expected to find out, however, as Daedalic announced today that it’s done a deal with French game company Nacon to publish and distribute the game, but that it won’t be out until sometime in 2022, rather than later this year as had been planned. The extra time will enable developers to “fully leverage the power of the new generation of consoles.”
Despite its unsettlingly moist protagonist, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum might prove to be an interesting experience. Central to the game is the internal conflict between the hideously twisted, corrupt Gollum and Sméagol, the hobbit he used to be, before he found the One Ring. Different choices made over the course of the game will guide his development, and ultimately determine “whether the darker side of Gollum takes over or if there is a spark of reason left in what once was Sméagol.” If it’s handled well and isn’t just a simplistic skill tree leading to binary good-or-evil outcomes, it could make Gollum a game worth paying attention to.
In the meantime, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is available for wishlisting on Steam. There’s no mention of pre-order availability at this stage, so if you want to put a ring on it you’ll probably have to wait until next year.