“Why didn’t the Eagles just take the One Ring and throw it at Mount Doom?” Well, as developers working on Lord of the Rings, let me tell you exactly why: because it gave us the opportunity to explore and immerse ourselves in a rich and complex universe!
When creating The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, our motto was to honor the way JRR Tolkien viewed the richness of the world he created, using his vision as a guide for our visual interpretation of his world.
Tolkien always wanted other artists to bring his works to life and continue the creation of his great English myth. Of course, he didn’t mean video games then. But his passion for small details, the history, languages and names he used to populate Middle-earth have always inspired our industry. Whether we realize it or not, all game creators owe a lot to Tolkien’s works.
After Gollum’s journey, we had the opportunity to explore parts of the world that we had never seen before in such detail. We started with everything we could find in history. Then we filled in the gaps with our own ideas and knowledge about the cultures and peoples who lived in those places.
For example, for the mighty fortress of Barad-dur, we wanted to emphasize the huge scale and sharp contrast with our little hero. We imagined that the fortress was constantly expanding and changing. Builders could not keep up with the speed and size of walls and towers that were constantly growing. Everything around the perfectly shaped main tower became more and more chaotic.
One example is this service bridge that crosses the tower’s huge moat, and which the builders probably wanted to make straight:
Although Mordor is an iconic and recognizable place with its dark volcanic rocks and reddish light, designing Thranduil’s palace in Lyholis was more difficult.
The contrast is intentional. Although Mordor is sharp, Thranduil’s halls are rounded. While Barad-dur tries to dominate and transform his environment, the elven buildings preserve and respect the shape of the mountain. It is a harmonious interaction between architecture and nature. Greetings instead of threats. A place that repels Gollum but attracts Smeagol. Water, his native element, is everywhere and comes to life in various forms.
King Thranduil’s chambers were another fascinating place for creativity. The king likes to ride at night and hunt under the stars. Its rooms are designed like a dreamy nocturnal forest, more symbolic than functional. The king’s bed is like a ceremonial boat on a river, where he only gets down from time to time to have dreams and visions.
Working on this game was a great honor and a great responsibility. We felt very excited and excited as we embarked on this adventure together. How would things turn out? Will it be okay in the end? And we feel a similar excitement and nervousness now that we are about to share it with all of you.
We hope that our boundless passion for the world of Middle-earth shines through in all these small details, and we hope that you feel the same when you begin your journey.
See you again in the world of Middle-earth!