J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings franchise features countless intriguing characters and immense stories among its diverse cast. Gollum is no doubt one of the most recognizable and iconic characters of Lord of the Rings.
Back in March 2019, German developer Daedalic Entertainment officially announced The Lord of the Rings: Gollum title as a 2021 title for PC "and all relevant console platforms at that time." Recently, the latest issue of Edge magazine, Edge 341, featured a lengthy interview with some of the title's development team and their progress so far.
Game Designer Martin Wilkes discussed how the power of the future generation of consoles and their rumored specifications can help level designers and the development team produce The Lord of the Rings: Gollum the way they want to. He continued to mention the PC audience as their main target.
I’ve only heard rumours about the [Xbox Series X] specs, and it’s huge – very fast Flash memory, which excites me, of course, but I don’t think that’s relevant to this project, because we’re aiming for PC as well. Especially for level designers, though, that’s a dream come true, because we don’t have to concern ourselves with streaming corridors any more.
Later in the interview, Senior Producer Kai Fiebig revealed Gollum's visual appearance won't be a carbon copy of the movies' iteration, but will more likely reflect an "evolution" of the character. The video games gave the development team "more storytelling possibilities than the movies ever had," and that's why the studio aims to portray a different version of Gollum in their upcoming title.
We don’t want to displease the folks who have only seen the movies. But in short, he doesn’t look like Andy Serkis. We started with the person he was and then evolved him. You can see that this was once something like a human being, before the Ring corrupted him. We have more storytelling possibilities than the movies ever had, and for us, it was very important to show a different set of emotions. We need somebody you could almost love, and on the other hand somebody you can really be afraid of. And at some points, trust me, you will fear him.
Wilkes went on to elaborate on how The Lord of the Rings: Gollum's writers wanted to take advantage of the character's bipolar personality in gameplay, and to even guide players to certain actions during their playthrough.
In many games, it’s unintentionally funny when characters say, ‘Hmmm, I won’t be able to get through there, it’s full of guards’. We’re able to give the player direct guidance about navigation
because Gollum talks to himself all the time anyway.
It’s not just choosing to be Sméagol or Gollum, because for Gollum as an entity it’s not that easy. Each personality is being attacked by the other; each has to defend himself.
You will have maybe two, three or four conflicts per chapter that lead to a final decision point. And at this final decision point, it will be harder to pick Sméagol, for example, if you’ve always fought for the Gollum side before.
What do you think of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum from what we know so far?