- In a recent video by Game Two, Daedalic Entertainment revealed that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum only had a budget of around $16 million, one-tenth of an average AAA game budget.
- The report also explains how the game had no co-investors for a while. Only when Nacon joined as a co-publisher did things get better.
- Ultimately, the budget was insufficient, and the license time was minimal, so the studio had to make do with whatever little they had.
YouTube channel Game Two recently uploaded a video report delving into The Lord of the Rings: Gollum and investigating the factors that led to its ultimate failure (timestamp – 32:10). In this investigation, Daedalic revealed to Game Two that due to having no co-investors for a long time and only getting Nacon as a co-publisher later on, the studio had a budget of $16 million for Gollum. This figure barely qualifies the game as a AAA title.
This 40-minute video report goes into extensive detail, but since it is in German, it may be difficult for English speakers to understand the context. Daedalic Entertainment explained to Game Two that they received no German funding despite submitting three applications, which were all rejected for various reasons. The studio said they would have liked a bigger scale budget and team for this project.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum had no co-investors for a very long time, and having that budget would have helped them significantly at the beginning of development. However, after Nacon joined as a co-publisher, the development improved. Even so, Daedalic reports having only about a $16 million budget for Gollum, which is meager compared to other AAA titles (thanks, Knoebel).
Starfield, one of the most recent AAA titles, had a budget of $200 million with over 500 employees. In comparison, Daedalic had peanuts for Gollum in terms of both the team and the fund. The nail in the coffin was the license time, which was very limited; hence, the rushed development and failed launch. Although this does not justify the game’s state, it is interesting to see that a $16 million game can be considered AAA.
This low budget and limited time resulted in unfinished content that could not be implemented in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. For example, Game Two’s video also discusses the argument system between Gollum and Smeagol, which was supposed to have a different camera perspective similar to the films (timestamp – 30:55). But since it was never really finished, the developers had to add a makeshift solution to meet the deadline.
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The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an action-adventure game developed by Daedalic Entertainment, who co-published it with Nacon. The game was released on PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on May 25, 2023.
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