Developer Daedalic Entertainment has belatedly explained why its upcoming The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, releasing on 25 May, has paid-for DLC that adds more Elvish to the game. As part of the game's pre-order campaign it's been offering the perfectly named 'Precious' special edition, which comes with four extras that players of the standard edition will be able to buy as DLC. One of these is a voice-over expansion for the Elvish language Sindarin, which basically makes the elves speak more in their mother tongue while you wander this version of Middle-earth.
Well, it turns out that all players will hear some Sindarin, but that this adds more of it, and the studio says the price reflects the effort involved in adding it as a spoken language.
"The Elves in the base game will speak in their tongue (Sindarin) from time to time," Daedalic said in a statement to Eurogamer. "On top of that the Sindarin VO expansion adds additional Sindarin lines to some of the characters in the background. While traversing through Mirkwood and other parts of Middle-earth Gollum will be able to listen to various dialogues between Elves. These dialogues add to the atmosphere and worldbuilding. With the Sindarin VO these dialogues will be held in Sindarin."
No doubt some fans will be unhappy they don't get all the Tolkien as standard, but the studio pleads for some understanding of the process involved in adding a fictional language both in spoken and written form. "Daedalic went the extra mile here and hired professional voice actors, who were trained in Sindarin by our lore experts. It is a DLC for the real Tolkien Devotees who want to immerse themselves even more into the world of Middle-earth."
Yes Precious, we have a Special Edition! 💍💿 The Full Game🖼️ The Art Exhibition Application📜 The Lore Compendium🎼 A 45-min OST📣 Sindarin Voice ActingPre-order and get the Emotes Pack DLC, which includes 6 of Gollum’s iconic gestures and sayings. pic.twitter.com/5xHMF0SV3OApril 14, 2023
I suppose that, as explanations go, it's not a bad one: Go all-out for the fans who will care about something like Sindarin voice-acting, make them pay a bit extra for it, and give standard players a smattering of it for world-building purposes. I like the Lord of the Rings well enough but certainly not enough to ever want to learn Elvish or care particularly about whether a game is fully voice acted in it. Daedelic itself describes the Sindarin DLC as being for "die-hard fans who want to immerse themselves even more while exploring the world of Tolkien."
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is coming soon, on May 25, though the last time we played it Ted Litchfield found the experience as conflicted as Gollum himself. It's an adventure set before the events of the Lord of the Rings that focuses on an odd combination of traversal and stealth and, going by the trailers, is not so much influenced by the Peter Jackson movies as in thrall to them.
The Precious edition features three other pieces of DLC alongside the Sindarin voice pack: a collection of concept art; "the lore compendium" (surely just a copy of the books, right?); and an OST. It's also worth saying that it's priced at roughly £10/$10 more than the standard edition so, while those things may seem minor, it's not like Daedelic is price-gouging with this special edition either. There's clearly a lot of people ready for another trip to Middle-earth anyway: Sindarin voice pack or no, Gollum has already gone gold.