Lord of the Rings: Gollum is so bad, the developers are apologizing

The Lord of the Rings Gollum screenshot
(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment/Nacon)

The developer behind The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum has issued an apology for the game's "underwhelming experience" after its release on May 25 was met with widespread criticism for its unrefined graphics and performance issues.

“We acknowledge and deeply regret that the game did not meet the expectations we set for ourselves or for our dedicated community,” reads Daedalic Entertainment's statement, which was posted Friday on Twitter. "Please accept our sincere apologies for any disappointment this may have caused." 

The game, which fills in the gap in Gollum's story between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is already on track to be one of the worst-reviewed games in 2023. After hitting PC, Xbox and PlayStation (a Nintendo Switch version in the works), Gollum currently holds a 41 score on Metacritic. Our The Lord of the Rings Gollum review called it "an unwelcome throwback to the days when licensed games were synonymous with low quality" and "about as much fun as walking barefoot across the fiery plains of Mordor." It could be in the running for one of the worst PS5 games ever made. 

Players and critics alike have denounced its muddy, dated graphics, with side-by-side comparisons of the game's trailers vs. the visuals at launch going viral for the noticeable drop in quality. You don't have to look far online to find memes ridiculing everything from its spartan UI to its frequent crashes and choice of font. The game would look more at home on a PS2 than a PS5.

"Crafting a story with Middle-earth as our playground has been the greatest honor—and the biggest challenge we have faced so far," Daedalic's message continues. "We genuinely value your feedback and have been actively listening to your voices, reading your comments, and analyzing the constructive criticism and suggestions you have provided."

The studio adds that it's been working on fixes for the bugs and performance issues that players are experiencing, and says it will keep users updated on its progress. Future patches are all but certain. Though beyond ironing out some of the performance issues, it's hard to tell how much of the game remains fixable.

Daedalic built a name for itself during the late 2000s and early 2010s as one of the last gamemakers in the world still working on quality point-and-click adventure games. Its past titles like Deponia and The Whispered World were generally well-reviewed, with fans particularly praising the sharp writing and stylized visuals. It's not clear exactly what went wrong to make Gollum's launch such a disaster, but we have a hunch it may be the premise. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.

Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.