The Lord of the Rings: Gollum gets first trailer, new gameplay details

It’s been a while since we got our first screenshots of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, and developer Daedelic has finally broken its silence with the game’s first trailer as well as new gameplay details.

The trailer itself doesn’t show much, other than the general setting of Mordor and the fact that Gollum probably won’t have a career as an artist. It also sets the tone of the game, which is predictably dark.

Thankfully, several members of the development team complemented the trailer’s release by revealing how the game will play. Speaking to IGN, lead game designer Martin Wilkes said that Lord of the Rings: Gollum “mixes stealth with vertical climbing parkour. If you want a reference you might think of it as similar to Prince of Persia.”

As Gollum, the player will mostly want to avoid combat, as the corrupted former hobbit isn’t exactly a fighter. Gollum “will be able to stealthily take out enemies,” Wilkes said, but it’s risky. Instead, there will be other tools that Gollum can use to avoid combat and stay undetected, such as distracting enemies with throwable items.

The other aspect of gameplay that seems perfectly suited to the character are the branching narrative choices that the player will experience. Gollum’s gentler half of his personality, Sméagol, will often pipe up and give the player choices for what to do next.

Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that Daedelic is giving players obviously “good” and “bad” moral choices. But the decisions will impact some of the “allies” that Gollum will meet along the way, as well as the overall story of the game, though the ending is obviously predetermined.

Since the game is based on a license of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels and not the Peter Jackson movies, Gollum will appear slightly different than Andy Serkis’ portrayal of the character, though Mordor and the rest of Middle-earth should feel familiar to fans who are only familiar with the movies. It also means that Daedelic has to be careful with how it treats the character, as players will know where Gollum ultimately ends up.

In order to be able to expand the narrative, the game is basically set somewhere between The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring. It starts with Gollum searching for Bilbo Baggins and the ring at Mordor and being caught by Sauron’s servants. A main part of the game will see Gollum trying to escape his captors, but Daedelic has a lot of room to invent its own narrative twists.

“Tolkien doesn’t describe Gollum’s story before he appears in the book in great detail,” lead narrative designer Tilman Schanen told IGN. “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.”

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is launching for Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and PC in 2021.

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