Daedalic’s catastrophic Lord of the Rings: Gollum saga may finally be grinding to a conclusion. The patch notes for a beefy “major update” that dropped last week conclude with a note that, to my reading, pretty strongly suggests that the studio is putting a bow on it and calling it done.

Gollum was on unsure footing almost from the start, as gamers questioned (rightly, I would say) why anyone would want to assume the role of Tolkien’s tragic, clammy villain in the first place. A planned 2021 release gave way to 2022 and then 2023, pointing to some serious problems in development, and while I held out hope that the game would surprise us all as a sleeper hit (or even just with basic competence), it was not to be. It bombed badly: We scored it a relatively high 64% in our review, saying that for all its flaws, Gollum “is an oft-beautiful and oddly endearing adventure,” but it currently holds a 39 aggregate review score at Metacritic, and a “mostly negative” user rating on Steam.

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