The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a story-driven action-adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment. Set in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic setting, players take on the role of one of Middle Earth's most tragic and fascinating characters.
Released on May 25, 2023, for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC – with a Nintendo Switch release still slated to be in the works – Gollum is a canonical story from Middle Earth, set between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It follows Gollum's quest to recover the One Ring, an artifact of great power taken from him in his famous riddle battle with Bilbo Baggins.
On top of some traditional action-adventure mechanics, the choices you make in this game will directly affect Gollum's personality, split as it is between the sinister and scheming Gollum and the gentler, kinder Sméagol. Want to know more? Read on for everything we knew about The Lord of the Rings: Gollum in the run-up to its release.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum: cut to the chase
- What is it? An action-adventure centered around Gollum
- When did it come out? Out now (PlayStation, Xbox, PC) and late 2023 (still tbc) for Nintendo Switch
- What can I play it on? PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4 and Xbox One (Switch after launch)
The Lord of the Rings Gollum release date and platforms
The Lord of the Rings Gollum trailers
Back in July 2022, we were treated to a brand new gameplay trailer for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
In it, we see a range of gorgeous landscapes and epic vistas, as well as snippets of stealth gameplay. The game also has an emphasis on climbing and traversal, as we see Gollum make his way across cliffs and caves.
Lastly, we catch a glimpse of the sinister Ring Wraiths, servants of Sauron who have horrible plans for our bicameral protagonist.
The Lord of the Rings Gollum story and setting
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum takes place during the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring, after the opening but before Frodo leaves on his quest. It picks up as the eponymous Gollum is captured by the forces of Sauron, in the dungeons of Barad-dûr, before he escapes and journeys across the Misty Mountains. Eventually, he arrives in the forest of Mirkwood.
The journey sees you encounter many familiar and famed characters of Middle-Earth, including Gandalf. You also run into King Thranduil and a whole bunch of orcs. This being a stealth-focused game, though, you spend more time surreptitiously slipping around them, instead of fighting the Dark Lord Sauron's soldiers head-on.
You also have to make decisions at certain key points through choices and actions displayed in thought bubbles around the main character. What we find interesting is that the choices will be split between Gollum’s own split personalities: the avaricious Gollum and the innocent Sméagol.
The Lord of the Rings Gollum gameplay
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a story-driven action RPG. The key, interesting gameplay mechanic is the need to manage both Gollum and Sméagol, his more agreeable alter ego. The story will vary depending on which side of Gollum has taken the reigns.
Gameplay largely revolves around stealth and platforming. Gollum himself doesn't have much in the way of actionable abilities. True to his character, he’s small, spry, and somewhat fragile, making him a perfect choice for a stealth game protagonist.
Speaking to IGN in August 2020, lead game designer Martin Wilkes explained well in-advance of the game's release that there is a mixture of linear stages, with alternative routes, and open-world environments.
“If you want a reference, you might think of it as similar to Prince of Persia," Wilkes said. "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[s] with big risks. We want players to carefully weigh these encounters. After all, Gollum’s strengths lie in cunning, not combat.”
The Lord of the Rings Gollum news
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will have PS5 DualSense support
One reason players may want to pick up the PS5 version of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is the inclusion of features made possible by its DualSense controller. Namely, the haptic feedback offered by the controller’s triggers.
Comments made by Daedalic’s Jonas Husges, during an interview with Official PlayStation magazine (issue 182), indicate that the triggers’ haptic feedback functionality will be tied to Gollum’s stamina. The more Gollum tires himself out by running, the more resistance will be applied to the triggers, indicating that the creature is getting tired.
Daedalic has confirmed that ray tracing will be a feature
In the same interview, Daedalic confirmed that current-gen versions of The Lord of the Rings Gollum will put ray tracing front and center as a graphical feature. The developer has hinted that ray tracing could be used dynamically in the game’s level design.
An example was attributed to how ray-traced lighting can both help and hinder the player in their stealthy endeavors. Passages of shadows can be used to maneuver safely from the enemy while moving light sources can expose Gollum at a moment’s notice.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.