The Lord of the Rings: Gollum publisher abandons game development

The developer and publisher behind The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Daedalic Entertainment, laid off its internal development staff so it can focus on game publishing going forward.

A close-up of Gollum.

Daedalic Entertainment made a name for itself by developing and publishing a lot of adventure games and RPGs in the 2010s. It developed series like Deponia and Blackguards and published games like Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and Inkulinati. Nacon acquired Daedalic in February 2022, ahead of the release of what was supposed to be its most ambitious title, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. When the game finally came out in May 2023 after multiple delays, it was a train wreck.

The game was near-unplayable for reviewers ahead of launch, and even when the game did work, its design felt outdated and unpolished. Digital Trends’ one-star review of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum called it “a disaster in a way that I sincerely thought wasn’t possible anymore.” Earlier today, German outlet Games Wirtschaft reported that Daedalic had closed its development branch, and the company confirmed that to Digital Trends in a 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,” a spokesperson for Daedalic said. “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.”

Daedalic confirmed to Digital Trends that another Gollum patch is in the works but that an upcoming The Lord of the Rings game from Daedalic is canceled. It’s a sad end to the Gollum saga for the developers involved, although Daedalic wants to frame this situation as a “new beginning” for the company.

“Currently, we are working on another patch for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum,” the spokesperson continued. “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.”

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch. 

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