In case the subtitle hadn’t already made it obvious, Daedalic Entertainment’s The Lord of the Rings: Gollum isn’t going to be your typical tale set in Tolkien’s high fantasy fiction.
In this adventure, you’ll be inhabiting the body of Sméagol and exploring Middle-earth from a unique perspective, all while doing your best to keep the tragic character’s fractured psyche together. As the developer recently revealed to IGN, in fact, a core gameplay component of the stealth game will be to balance Sméagol and Gollum’s wildly different personalities and abilities, with which side you choose for any given situation having a wider impact on the overarching narrative. According to lead game designer Martin Wilkes, adhering to Tolkien’s source material necessitates that the prequel’s end state remains the same no matter what choices are made, though they will affect how you reach that conclusion.
As for the aforementioned stealth gameplay, Wilkes makes an interesting comparison, to say the least, explaining:
The game mixes stealth with vertical climbing parkour. 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 with big risks. We want players to carefully weigh these encounters. After all, Gollum’s strengths lie in cunning not combat.
Continuity between its own contribution to one of Middle-earth’s most iconic characters and the books is something Daedalic is keen to maintain, then, and while we now have a better idea of how it’ll play, the studio has yet to share any footage of Gollum’s quest or, for that matter, where he’s going. What he’s looking for, of course, is obvious, and while we might already know the outcome of his tragic journey, there’s clear potential here for a worthwhile addition to the poor Stoor’s life story.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is out next year for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch.