The withering response to Lord of the Rings: Gollum has led developer Daedalic Entertainment to end internal development and concentrate on publishing.
German studio Daedalic Entertainment is making some drastic changes in the wake of the less-than-positive response to Lord of the Rings: Gollum, released in May.
The news comes via Germany’s Games Wirtschaft (with a danke also going to Rock Paper Shotgun), which reports that 25 of Daedalic’s 90 members of staff are to be let go as the company pivots from internal development to publishing.
This means that, in turn, another yet-to-be-named Lord of the Rings project has been cancelled mid-development. Given the state that Gollum launched in – the game was so flawed and seemingly unfinished-looking that even its studio came forward and apologised for making such an “underwhelming experience” – maybe it’s just as well that it isn’t making another title in the Tolkien-verse.
“We acknowledge and deeply regret that the game did not meet the expectations we set for ourselves or for our dedicated community,” Daedalic wrote in a lengthy note published on Twitter. “Please accept our sincere apologies for any disappointment this may have caused. Our goal as a studio, and as passionate The Lord of the Rings fans, has always been to tell a compelling and immersive story-driven adventure. Crafting a story with Middle-earth as our playground has been the greatest honor – and the biggest challenge we have faced so far.”
It’s always sad to see people lose their jobs, though, of course, and we can only wonder about what happened behind the scenes on Gollum – a game that, with an aggregate score of just 34 on Metacritic, makes it by far the worst-reviewed of 2023 so far.
For its part, Daedelic told Games Wirtschaft (via Google Translate) that its pivot to publishing was a “difficult turning point.”
“We value each and every member of our team and it is important to us that the transition goes as smoothly as possible,” a member of the studio’s management told the outlet. “Therefore, we will support our former employees in finding new opportunities within our network.”
At the time of writing, copies of Gollum, once retailing for around £44, are now on sale for £19.99.