The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was very first revealed in 2019, and it was a little bit of a surprise. Instead of including the worthy characters everybody enjoys, it puts gamers in control of a ring-obsessed, wicked lowlife of a hobbit. It’s a concept that’s both cool and head-scratching. On the one hand, experiencing Tolkein’s universe through a viewpoint as remarkable as the previous Sméagol sounds great. On the other hand, how do you construct a whole video game around a character who typically isn’t understood for his enforcing stature, brave qualities, or battle skill? In a current demonstration, Daedalic Entertainment revealed us what Gollum can and how his distinct skills equate to gameplay.  

It’s crucial to keep in mind that the video footage I enjoyed was obviously 10 months old, and Daedalic kept in mind that a reasonable little bit of it has actually altered ever since. Still, it provided a great concept of what the group is working to attain. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum highlights the character’s 2 main strengths: climbing up and slipping. The demo sees Gollum ascending through orc-infested Barad Dur tower in Mordor where he recently escaped slavery at the hands of Sauron. 

Gollum needs to reach the surface and, thankfully, is an excellent climber. After all, he’s had hundreds of years of practice. Gollum can wall-jump, slide down surfaces, swing from poles, leap wall-to-wall, and perform other agile feats. A stamina meter dictates how long Gollum can maintain more strenuous acts such as sprinting or hanging. Levels facilitate platforming by emphasizing verticality, an architectural element Daedalic says is in line with Tolkien’s original building designs. Expect to see plenty of spectacular views from atop tall structures. 

As Gollum climbs and scurries his way through hostile territory, he eventually sneaks up on a guard and we see how his dual personas come into play. Since Gollum is the dominant personality at all times, Sméagol doesn’t surface much except in these scenarios where players can choose to either act upon Sméagol’s more benevolent nature or give into Gollum’s penchant for violence. In this case, that means whether or not to kill or spare an oblivious guard. 

Despite appearances, Daedalic says that just because Sméagol’s options are deemed “good” doesn’t mean they’re always the right course of action. Gollum didn’t survive this long by being nice, and sometimes a more ruthless approach is necessary. Choices matter, though, and whether or not you choose to help or betray the characters you meet will have ramifications down the line. Gollum wins this time, and he leaps around the guard’s neck to perform a stealth kill. 

The next area Gollum enters is littered with orcs. Lighting plays a large role in stealth, as sticking to the shadows keeps Gollum hidden from view. If he’s spotted, players have to flee; confronting enemies head-on spells doom for our pathetic friend. Noise is also important. Enemies have acute senses of hearing, and every action Gollum performs makes some kind of sound. Thankfully, Gollum also possesses extra-sensory abilities that allow him to, as Daedalic puts it,  “see sounds,” which lets players know how much noise they’re making as well as detect other characters around them. Gollum also has an inventory for carrying items that can distract characters as well as food to heal himself. 

Levels are large and sports multiple paths, giving you plenty of options for choosing how to proceed through them. Daedalic hopes this will encourage multiple playthroughs since you can tackle the game in different ways. 

After successfully slipping through this minefield of orcs, Gollum meets up with a human named Grashneg, whom he encountered earlier in the game. For a character who is famously volatile, Gollum is surprisingly fond of Grashneg, and the two agree to work together. Cooperating with other characters plays a significant role in the game, as allies sport abilities that Gollum lacks, and vice-versa. In this case, Grashneg can use his strength to plow through obstacles but can’t see in the dark as well as Gollum can, which is where he picks up the slack. The two work together and Gollum soon finds a literal light at the end of the tunnel: a crack in the wall with daylight pouring in. As he makes his way outside, the demonstration concludes.

Daedalic confirms that the game will see Gollum venture outside of Mordor (as in the books) where he’ll encounter the monstrous spider, Shelob, and even venture into the land of the elves. Along the method he’ll run into some familiar faces, though Daedalic isn’t spilling the beans on who makes looks just yet. Being a nearly year-old demo, the video game looked undeniably rough. Animations looked rather stilted and cutscenes had an awkward quality to them. But the studio promises the video game is presently in a better state than what we were revealed. We can just hope that things come together efficiently when The Lord of the Rings: Gollum introduces at some point in 2022.