In context: Just about everybody has heard of the Lord of the Rings franchise, and this popularity has led to the development of quite a few licensed games. Usually, these games put you in the shoes of a traditional hero (either a new one or an iconic character from the books and films), who wields a sword, dagger, axe, or staff to fight back against evil.
However, developer Daedalic Entertainment promised a different take on that traditional Lord of the Rings gaming experience with the announcement of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
Instead of putting you in the shoes of a deadly ranger like Talion (of Shadow of Mordor fame) or a powerful wizard like Gandalf, Daedalic's title will let players take control of the twisted hobbit known as Gollum as he adventures throughout Middle Earth during the events leading up to The Lord of the Rings.
Beyond the fact that you play as the titular character, not much was known about The Lord of the Rings: Gollum when it was first announced earlier this year.
However, today, German website Gamestar acquired some exclusive world-first screenshots and information for us all to enjoy (or be repulsed by, depending on how much you like Gollum).
From what we can gather using the power of Google Translate (none of us here at TechSpot are German speakers), this will be an adventure title with a heavy emphasis on stealth gameplay; which is about what you'd expect given the protagonist's limited physical capabilities.
Players will guide Gollum through a variety of environments, ranging from grimy orc-infested tunnels and caverns to dense forests and imposing enemy citadels. From the images we've seen so far, the graphics look pretty impressive.
The character models probably won't blow anyone away, but the environments are incredibly detailed, and the lighting is simply beautiful, especially in some of the game's more open areas.
Obviously, it's very easy to doctor a screenshot to make a game look better than it will on release, but since Gollum will be a next-gen title (for PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X), the final product probably won't diverge from these early peeks all that much (visually speaking, anyway).
According to Gamestar, a significant portion of your time in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will be spent platforming and navigating various environmental obstacles.
That, combined with the emphasis on stealth, makes it sound like Gollum will be taking a page out of Styx: Master of Shadow's stealth-adventure game handbook, which is hardly a bad thing (and it's precisely what we predicted back in March).
The final noteworthy feature you'll spot in Gamestar's screenshots is what appears to be a multiple-choice dialogue system -- at least, at certain key moments. In one screenshot, we see four distinct options on the screen.
Two of these options (marked by red icons) would clearly be spoken by Gollum's namesake and less pleasant half, while the other two (shown in green) look like something Smeagol (Gollum's less-murderous side) might say.
It's unclear what impact these choices will have on the game's story in the long run, if any, but it's an interesting concept. The character of Gollum has always been noteworthy for his internal struggles, and we look forward to seeing how that plays out in the finished game.
We can probably expect to learn more about The Lord of the Rings: Gollum over the coming months, and we can't wait to see how it turns out when it hits the market in 2021. As of writing, it does not have a release date, nor is it available for pre-order.