What on Middle Earth is going on with the new Gollum game?

Gollum game
(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment/Future)

We've seen plenty of botched video game launches over the last few years, from Cyberpunk 2077's glitch-filled debut to the underwhelming, so-called 'remastered' Grand Theft Auto trilogy. And judging by the response to the latest Lord of the Rings game, we have another ring (well, disk) that needs casting into the fire.

Released yesterday, The Lord of the Ring: Gollum is already looking like the most poorly reviewed game of 2023. From the graphics to the abominable UI (complete with weird typographical choices), the whole thing is a bit of a mess. (Want to experience the horror for yourself? Check out the best PS5 deals.)

Gollum game

Yikes (Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

'Gollum' puts you in control of, yes, Gollum – the once-Hobbit who has sort of, shall we say, let himself go. It's a stealth-based adventure game (think Metal Gear Smeagol) set a few years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But players have noticed that the visuals don't quite match up to the initial promotional material (below).

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First, there's Gollum's dodgy, PS3-esque character model, complete with low resolution textures and weird bug eyes. Combine that with the UI and it's pretty clear we're looking at a car crash of a game. In the promotional material, the UI's text prompts are rendered in a fantasy-esque typface, but in the final game it's... Calibri? 

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It's hard to know exactly what happened here, so for now we'll have to assume the game was somewhat rushed out. Weirdly, there's no mention of the brand new game on developer Daedelic's website, which some on Twitter have taken to suggest the studio might be distancing itself from the release. 

Still, gamers can be a tricky bunch to impress – even a single pixel out of place can cause controversy. One thing's for sure, like the people in Gran Turismo 7, this version of Gollum will be haunting our nightmares tonight.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).