Skip to main content

Behind the Scenes of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum™

  • from PLITCH
  • 08.01.2024

For fans of the beloved Lord of the Rings franchise, Gollum, also known as Sméagol, is a character who needs no introduction. In Daedalic’s latest release, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum™, we finally get to know his backstory.

In this blog, we’ll take you on a behind-the-scenes journey. Discover fascinating insights into the talented developers, the game itself, its seamless connection to the original story, and the development process. Join us as we uncover the secrets and intricacies of this highly anticipated release!

What’s the game about?

Experience an extraordinary narrative adventure in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum™, where you will embark on a thrilling quest as the iconic character himself. Prepare to traverse Mordor’s mountains, brave Mirkwood’s perils, and face difficult choices.

Outwit powerful enemies and delve into the untold story of Gollum, from his daring escape from Mordor to his encounter with the enigmatic Thranduil.

Immerse yourself in a captivating and authentic journey that faithfully captures the essence of Tolkien’s legendary books. Discover just how far Gollum is willing to go in his quest to reclaim his beloved Precious. Brace yourself for an unforgettable odyssey unlike any other.

How does the game tie in with the books?

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

To expand upon the world of Middle-earth while respecting the existing material, Daedalic Entertainment sought the help of Tolkien experts to ensure that the game would be as faithful to the lore as possible.

Set against the backdrop of the early chapters of The Lord of the Rings, the game’s compelling narrative follows Gollum’s gripping journey through the perilous realm of Mordor. Players will witness his harrowing capture by the malevolent Sauron and his intense interrogation conducted by the venerable Gandalf.

This means that the game’s narrative begins just before Gollum is captured by Sauron’s servants, approximately eight years before the start of the War of the Ring. It runs parallel to the enthralling events depicted in the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring and ends around the time he meets the Fellowship in Moria. The remaining events are ours to discover and explore.

“Although very little is known about Gollum’s adventures during this time, there was enough to give us an excellent outline and timeframe for the setting.”

Daedalic Entertainment

Why did the developers at Daedalic choose Gollum?

Jan Theysen and Julian Stroda, who work at KINGArt, a fellow game developer, came up with the idea of using Gollum as the main character. The developers of The Lord of the Rings: GollumTM chose Sméagol as the main character for the game because of his captivating nature. He embodies a peculiar Hobbit with dual personalities who has endured hundreds of years while amassing extensive knowledge about Middle-earth.

Gollum is able to navigate treacherous terrains, scale heights, and maneuver skillfully through perilous situations. They were certain that this would result in an extraordinary journey for the players and present them with extremely varied gameplay options. The experience seamlessly blends platforming and stealth elements, making it fun for fans of different genres.

“Daedalic (…) has always specialized in storytelling games and so we had a lot of experience with characters and stories that were a little bit out of the box.”

Tilman Schanen, Writer

Furthermore, the internal conflict between Gollum and Sméagol serves as a crucial element of the gameplay. Picking this character hence will allow players to immerse themselves in these conflicts and gain access to the inner thoughts of both personas as they present their arguments and vie for dominance.

This means you’ll be faced with moral dilemmas and decisions that can have devastating consequences for certain characters in the story. Are you ready for that?

“I’m sure whoever is looking to hear more about characters that look very interesting on the surface but didn’t get that much space in the official lore already created, will find some new content to fill those gaps.”

Antonio Bifulco, 2D / Concept Artist

The developer

You may know the German publisher and developer Daedalic as the mastermind behind games like Deponia, Iratus: Lord of the Dead, or Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shotgun. With a total of 44 awards in their pockets and an international team of around 90 employees, Daedalic continues to produce high-quality games.

This year, we’ll finally get a game set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fascinating fantasy world of Middle-earth from them. To ensure the best possible quality, they worked together with Middle-Earth Enterprises, who produce and license movies, merchandise, and more based on the franchise.

The development of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

To ensure that the game was as faithful as possible to the lore and the original story, the Daedalic crew did a lot of research. They read and watched everything they could get their hands on, including the books and the movies as well as Tolkien’s letters and notes that he left about the story and his writing process. Since Gollum’s backstory remains a mystery to this day, the team had to fill in the gaps and interpret Tolkien’s notes.

“I think the main focus for [the game] was the story which is the main thing that keeps you playing because we’re telling a story that hasn’t been told before.”

Joel Griebel, Senior Game Designer

In the game, we’ll see places we haven’t seen in the movies, like the inside of Sauron’s tower Barad-dûr. The first half of the game takes place there, so the challenge for the developers was to find a visual style that would fit. They wanted to portray how this huge crowd of diverse creatures lives and works there, always ruled by fear.

“My favorite part of the development process when it comes to Art is showing places that we’ve never seen before.”

Mathias “James” Fischer, Lead Artist

In the end, Daedalic made this game for us fans, to make us happy and to let us experience a story that we wouldn’t be able to experience in any other way.

Happy Gaming!