Imagine Lord of the Rings, but it’s a stealth game and you’re playing the most annoying/hated/most interesting character in its universe: Gollum.
That’s the direction German developers and publishers Daedelic Entertainment are taking. The Hamburg-based studio is most famously known for their point-and-click adventure games like the Deponia series, although they’ve also published solid titles like Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth and the superb Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun.
Lord of the Rings: Gollum, then, is their take on Prince of Persia stealth with parkour and branching narrative choices, according to a new interview. There’s no gameplay shown yet — the game’s due out sometime in 2021 — but this morning there was a short teaser, which you can watch below.
“It is mostly a non-combat game, but Gollum will be able to stealthily take out enemies,” Martin Wilkes, the lead designer, told IGN. You’ve got access to bits of the environment you can throw for distractions, support from allies, and “familiar characters” will show up at various parts of the game.
A key part of the branching narrative is balancing Sméagol with Gollum, choosing what personality comes to the fore in a given situation. It also looks a bit, well, manic:
The game also won’t be an open world, but more a style similar to Metro Exodus with hubs and larger levels that the player takes time to work through. “When Gollum arrives at a new location the places where he can go from that hub are limited until he either works his way in (for example, the prisons of the Dark Tower), finds secret passages or information, or manages to scheme his way into otherwise restricted areas,” Wilkes said.
I still don’t know if I want to spend a whole game controlling Gollum, who was unlikeable at the best of times. But I like that Daedalic are at least taking a different approach on the material. Gollum could have so easily been another run-of-the-mill action-adventure, and Lord of the Rings has had plenty of those. Props to the studio and all involved for greenlighting something a bit weird. Lord of the Rings: Gollum hits the PS5, Xbox Series X and PC next year. There’s also a lot more gameplay details about how Gollum will adhere to the established canon and the story over at IGN, so go check their interview out.