WATCH: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum game trailer

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum gameDaedalic Entertainment has released the first teaser trailer for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.

The game is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and focuses on the character of Gollum and his life before the events of the books.

The game developers spoke extensively to IGN about the project including the game’s two modes of stealth-action and interactive narrative gameplay, the game’s expansion of the source material, and how they created a more relatable version of the iconic character.

Lead game designer Martin Wilkes discussed the stealth gameplay, saying:

“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.

He also mentions that Gollum might meet familiar characters from The Lord of the Rings canon but he was reticent about details at this stage.

Gollum SmeagolThe narrative gameplay state will be interesting because the character will have to contend with the conflicting personalities of Gollum and Sméagol. Narrative designer Tilman Schanen expounded on this:

“…the decisions you make affect the way the game feels. You always either play as Sméagol or as Gollum as the ‘dominant’ persona and that can influence animations, soundscapes, certain gameplay situations, and in-game dialogue.”

Schanen also reassures everyone that the decisions made within the game will not have major repercussions on the source material. He explained:

“We naturally stay within certain limits…It won’t be like you’re going to end up destroying Middle-earth because you never made a Sméagol choice. In the end, of course, Gollum’s fate is pretty much determined by the books. But your decisions can and will have effects, for example, for other NPCs in the game. Some decisions will have a bigger impact, others very little. Just as in real life.”

Gollum LOTRSpeaking about the design of the game, Wilkes talks about the influence of the movies and the game’s using the original text as inspiration:

“Peter Jackson’s movies are fantastic but our game is based on the original book license…The source material for both is, of course, largely the same. Our world follows the same descriptions and is also in parts inspired by the same artworks as were the movies. Their influence on popular culture has been tremendous, so we have to be mindful of players who might only know Middle-earth from the two film trilogies.”

And speaking of Gollum’s place in the overall narrative of The Lord of the Rings, Schanen gives an idea of the sequence of events:

“We start our story parallel to the first book when Frodo is still in the Shire and knows nothing about anything. Gollum at that time ventures to Mordor still desperately looking for Bilbo Baggins and the Ring. Unfortunately, he gets caught by Sauron’s servants and this is basically where our story begins.”

Schanen added:

“We follow Tolkien’s story quite strictly and only take some freedom for purposes of gamification or sometimes simplification…Tolkien doesn’t describe Gollum’s story before he appears in the book in great detail. So mainly, we draw from small notes in the appendices and second-hand reports from characters like Gandalf. Since we need to fill in many gaps, it gives us quite a bit of creative freedom to pursue our narrative vision.

“At the same time, we would have never gotten the chance to work on this project if that vision would not be in tune with the source material. Think of it like taking a few verses from the bible and extending them to a novel without changing the overall narrative.”

The team concludes by saying the design of the Gollum character will be slightly different from the version Andy Serkis made famous in the films. Since Gollum has to be more relatable to players, he will look less creepy and will, notably, have more hair.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is set for release in 2021.

Check out the teaser below: