Gollum is easily one of the most memorable characters in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Both Peter Jackson and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have depicted the twisted Gollum in unique ways.
But The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a game based on the franchise slated for release next year, is set to add another interpretation of Gollum – one that is more truthful to Tolkien’s vision. Developer Daedalic Entertainment is working with Middle-Earth Enterprises, which means that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will share very few similarities with the movies, but be based entirely on Tolkien’s vision.
Information on The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is as rare and precious as the Ring itself, but based on what we do know about Daedalic Entertainment’s 2021 release, we’ve forged 10 ideas on what we want to see in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
1More information on Gollum’s backstory
We know the basics of Gollum’s life: he was once a hobbit called Sméagol, he found the Ring from Déagul, and slowly over time he became corrupted. Other than that, Tolkien has given very little information about Gollum’s past. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will hopefully be the chance to craft out a deeper backstory for the former hobbit.
Sméagol had the Ring in his possession for over 400 years. During this time he became more drawn to the Ring’s powers, becoming less and less hobbit-like. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum has the creative freedom to write a past for Gollum, and tie it into the start of Tolkien’s famous works.
2The possible decisions to be made
Whether it’s the original Tolkien works, the Peter Jackson films, or the Warner Bros. games, Gollum is constantly in an internal battle against himself. Andy Serkis brilliantly portrayed the battle between Sméagol and Gollum; and hopefully The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will be building on this even more.
The game is set to be very choice-heavy, perhaps like a Life is Strange episode or Telltale game. There’s going to be a constant back and forth inside Gollum’s head, and the decisions will relate back to the battle between Sméagol and Gollum. This should make for some fantastic dialogue and tense decisions.
3The hobbit behind the creature
We’ve already stated that we know very little about Sméagol and his personality. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is the chance to flesh this out more; it provide ideas on his ‘previous’ life and his relationships with others. Heck, maybe it could even give him some likeable traits!
But we also want to see Gollum at his absolute best. We want songs, sneers, inner arguments, and manipulative actions. We want to see Gollum in all his glory; this is his spinoff game, and the character deserves this stage. We can’t wait to see another adaptation of Tolkien’s famous creature.
4Action and stealth
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is described as an action and adventure game. Even though Gollum has a quick temper, we don’t see much of Gollum fighting in any Tolkien novel or adaptation. It’ll be really intriguing to see how Gollum will defeat enemies (providing they’re included), and how much power he actually has.
Interestingly, stealth is apparently going to be another key component to The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. This could suggest that Gollum will be an underpowered character who needs to rely on the act of surprise. Gollum is a manipulative character, and it’ll be fascinating to see how this is portrayed through stealth gameplay.
5As time goes by
Gollum spends over 400 years with the Ring before he loses it. That’s an long time to spend with such a corruptive power, and the effect it has on Sméagol is clear. What we want to see is how the Ring gradually changed the hobbit.
This could impact the dialogue from Gollum, and how evil he becomes. It could also be reflected in the choices the player has to make, and how they are presented. But it could also be shown through the design of Gollum. Perhaps the choices made will reflect how Gollum-like Sméagol becomes; much like how an evil action will change the appearance of the protagonist in the Fable games. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum should highlight the gradual change that takes place with the character of Sméagol.
6Excellent art design
Carsten Fichtelmann, CEO and co-founder of Daedalic Entertainment, has stated that the company wants to create a “statement” in terms of the visual design. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum can’t legally share a likeness to the films (unless it’s based on Tolkien’s designs too), so the artistic direction has to be something different.
Considering that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is being developed in a relationship with Middle-Earth Enterprises, there’s a good chance it’ll be more based on Tolkien’s sketches of both Middle Earth and Gollum. This is an exciting possibility for all Tolkien fans, and something that would truly set The Lord of the Rings: Gollum apart from other Tolkien-based games.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is supposedly going to feature huge levels. Considering just how vast Middle Earth is, this may not be a big surprise. But once Sméagol found the Ring, he spent over 400 years in the Misty Mountains, just past Rivendell.
It’ll be interesting to see how The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will depict this setting, and how varied the locations will be. Within Tolkien’s novels Gollum typically stayed within the shadows, so this could suggest a dark twist to each level.
8The impact of The Ring
We all know about The Ring and its power. It can corrupt nearly anyone, and has a mind of its own; as Gandalf states, “it wants to be found.” With Sméagol and Gollum being the main characters of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, the Ring may actually be the third significant ‘character’.
It’ll also be interesting to see what happens when Gollum puts the Ring on. Surely any stealth would be too easy if Gollum could simply turn invisible to the enemies, so there has to be a reason Gollum takes the Ring off. Perhaps it links to the Ring wanting to be found, which would be a really intriguing storyline element to see in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
9A strong Gollum design
Most will picture Gollum in the way Peter Jackson imagined him – but this is a vision which may not actually be used in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (not just for legal reasons). In fact, Gollum may have looked very different in Tolkien’s eyes. Interestingly, The Hobbit actually doesn’t provide any description of his size, leading to some pretty unique interpretations of Gollum until his size was clarified in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Tolkien wrote a manuscript to help guide illustrators, and explained that Gollum has pale skin, wears dark clothes, and is often seen in dark light. Apart from that, Gollum’s description is pretty unreliable (considering that he was mostly seen from a distance or in poor lighting). There’s a lot of creative freedom for Daedalic here.
10The inclusion of the Nazgûl
The Nazgûl, also known as Ringwraiths or Black Riders, are the nine men who had the Rings of Power. These men were corrupted by Sauron and his power, making them servants to Sauron. It has been confirmed that the Nazgûl will be making an appearance in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
Interestingly, little is actually known about most of the Nazgûl, meaning that Daedalic Entertainment has some freedom to apply its own interpretation. Hopefully we’ll get more background on the Nazgûl; perhaps they could even be the main antagonists in the game. We know Sauron began to regather his strength at the same time as Gollum possessed the Ring, and the inclusion of the Nazgûl could hint at this being featured in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.