The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (opens in new tab) was announced by Daedalic Entertainment in March 2019, a point I mention to note the fact that, more than three years later, we still don’t know a whole lot about it. That finally changed in a couple of different ways today, though: We have a new gameplay preview (opens in new tab), and an updated release date of September 1.
The Steam (opens in new tab) listing for Gollum describes it as a “story-driven action adventure” about the adventures of JRR Tolkien’s favorite obsessive, set primarily in the same time frame as the early chapters of the Lord of the Rings books, “from his time as a slave below the Dark Tower to his stay with the Elves of Mirkwood.” Of course, Gollum is not much of a fighter, so the focus is primarily on stealth and cunning, although opportunistic murder is never out of the question.
Gollum’s quest for his precious will begin on September 1, 2022!Coming on PC & consoles and at a later date on Nintendo Switch.#GollumGame💍 pic.twitter.com/52IL0kp0oHMay 24, 2022
One of the more unusual aspects of the game is the “split personality” of the lead character: “He can be vicious and villainous as Gollum, but social and cautious as Smeagol,” Daedalic said. That seems to carry over into the game as well: Our man Ted said after his recent brief preview that “gameplay is as conflicted as Gollum,” with uninspiring stealth bits and potentially good platforming bits.
“After years of just existing as a name and pre-rendered concept footage, Gollum’s first look was divided between visions of an uninspired stealth-action game and an intriguing throwback platformer,” he wrote. “It’s difficult to tell which way the final game is going to lean, but I come away from its public reveal unenthused by the mix so far.”
To be fair, that’s based on just 20 minutes of gameplay, which isn’t enough time to make any sort of definitive judgment, and hopefully The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will turn out to be cooler than expected: Something like Styx (opens in new tab), perhaps, but with less murderous aggression and more psychological hangups.