The Lord of the Rings: Gollum dev pulling out of making new games after The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum trailer still
(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

As reported by German outlet Games Wirtschaft, Hamburg-based Lord of the Rings: Gollum developer Daedalic Entertainment is ending its internal development efforts to focus on its publishing business and reportedly laying off nearly a third of its staff, 25 of 90 employees.

Daedalic told Games Wirtschaft (translated via Google) that the move was a "difficult turning point" but also potentially "a new beginning in the long history of Daedalic Entertainment."

Daedalic's development work goes back much further than Gollum. The company created the Deponia series back in 2012 (the upcoming Surviving Deponia is being handled by developer AtomicTorch), and we loved its adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth as a point-and-click adventure in 2018. Last month's LotR: Gollum, though, had a cataclysmic launch.

Our 64% review was one of its more generous critiques, and Dominic Tarason judged that it "straddles two action genres, and neither holds up to scrutiny." Even in our previews, we just wondered how you make a fun or worthwhile game about an awful little grubby man who roots around in the dirt, collects hair, and everyone hates him. By the way, it's a prequel with a preordained ending so none of this matters.

The result for Daedalic's dev staff feels so sour and pointless though. While that team ultimately created a bad triple-A stealth platformer, it seems like such a waste of the talent. Why try and fit the square peg of your "charming 2D adventure game" development house into the round hole of "let's make a 2012-core action platformer about the Jar-Jar Binks of Middle Earth?" Now 25 people (so far) have lost their jobs and we're left with Gollum.

Moving forward, Daedalic will focus exclusively on its publishing business, which has helped create such indie favorites as Inkulinati and Unrailed.  The game itself will apparently receive at least one more patch from Daedalic, but like with Redfall, it's not clear how much patching and bugfixes can address its core failings.

Gollum himself gets to live another day then, presumably to continue scurrying under refrigerators and biting the heads off raw fish. Hope you're pleased with yourself, you nearly-naked little freak.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.