The Lord of the Rings: Gollum developer to close after disastrous launch

Publisher Daedalic Entertainment is closing the Hamburg, Germany-based internal studio that made The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, and has ended development on a second project based on the Lord of the Rings intellectual property, the company has confirmed to Polygon. Daedalic will instead fully focus on its publishing business.

In a statement to Polygon, Daedalic said Gollum “did not live up to the expectations we had for the game,” but added that the publisher will continue to work on another patch for the stealth-adventure game, which it released in May. Daedalic said it plans to work with former employees to place them elsewhere in its “network.”

GamesWirtschaft first reported on the studio’s closure.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was announced in 2019 and was initially planned to arrive in 2021. Daedalic’s original pitch for Gollum’s stand-alone adventure promised a story “from a perspective never seen before, in any storytelling medium, all the while staying true to the legendary books of J.R.R. Tolkien.” Gollum was delayed multiple times and landed with a critical thud. In Polygon’s review of the game, we said it lacks the personality of Tolkien’s character and simply “isn’t much fun” to play.

Daedalic’s other, now-canceled Lord of the Rings game was never formally announced or officially titled, but was billed as an experience that would “transport the player into a lush world full of mythical creatures and magic.” Like Gollum, the game promised to tell “a story from a character’s perspective that has never been told before.” The 3D action-adventure project was codenamed It’s Magic, according to Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

Here’s Daedalic’s full statement:

Daedalic Entertainment has made the decision to close its development department, with full focus now on our publishing business. Eight promising releases will be launching in this financial year alone.

Even though The Lord of the Rings: Gollum did not live up to the expectations we had for the game, we are very grateful for the opportunity and the learning experience it brought us.

Currently, we are working on another patch for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. A follow-up project in The Lord of the Rings universe that has already been started will be discontinued. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, as the body responsible for the federal funding, was informed of this some time ago.

We value each and every member of our team very much and it is important to us that the transition goes as well as possible. We will therefore support our former employees in finding new opportunities within our network.

A difficult break, but also a new beginning in the already long history of Daedalic Entertainment.