It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a new, triple-A Lord of the Rings game, but that’s going to change on September 1, according to developer and publisher Daedalic Entertainment.
“Story-driven action-adventure game” The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will ship this fall on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. A Nintendo Switch version will arrive later in the year. Announced in 2019, the game was initially planned for a 2021 release, but it was delayed to 2022, and this is the first time we have a firm date for it.
Based on a gameplay video released last year, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum appears to be a stealth game like Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, or Metal Gear Solid. Like Assassin’s Creed, it will involve a fair bit of climbing and platforming. But unlike recent stealth games, it will be a linear affair rather than an open world. It follows the (mostly) untold story of Gollum’s activities during the book The Fellowship of the Ring, when Frodo and company were traveling from The Shire eastward to Rivendell, Moria, and beyond.
Whether you’re a fan of the books, the movies, or some other iteration, one of the most interesting aspects of Gollum’s character has always been the internal conflict between Smeagol, the pitiful individual who found the One Ring, and Gollum, the alter-ego whose corruption and malice is driven by the ring. It seems that will play out in the game, too, with the player having to make choices between what Smeagol or Gollum wants. Those choices will change how the titular character’s story plays out in the long run.
The last triple-A video game set in Middle-earth was 2017’s Middle-earth: Shadow of War, a sequel to 2014’s Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The two games in that series also took heavy inspiration from Assassin’s Creed, albeit more on the combat and open-world side than the stealth side. But neither prominently featured characters from The Lord of the Rings books, and some players felt they didn’t really reflect the spirit of Tolkien’s work.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum appears to be a bit of a wild card. Daedalic, the studio working on it, is best known for 2D, point-and-click adventure games and other smaller titles, not 3D stealth-action games. And initial impressions on gaming sites to a 20-minute gameplay demo shown last week behind closed doors seem mixed.
But we’ll all find out come September whether this game recaptures that long-lost The Lord of the Rings magic. Daedalic certainly seems to have high hopes for it—it launches the day before Amazon’s new, live-action The Lord of the Rings prequel TV series premiere.
Listing image by Daedalic Entertainment