Journalists talked about internal problems during the development of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

An investigation dedicated to the development of a commercial and critical failure of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum revealed a number of problems faced with Daedalic Entertainment.

Gollum was released in a rather deplorable state in May of this year and was sharply criticized for the lack of polishing and technical problems. In the statement attributed to Daedalic Entertainment and published on social networks a day after the release, there were an apology for the quality of the game and assurances that the studio would improve the game using patches.

The Game Two report report was prepared after a survey of 32 former and current Daedalic employees, as well as receiving statements from the company itself about Gollum development.

Employees who talked with Game Two spoke about a number of problems arising in the development process, which were related to the fact that Daedalic began as a Point-And-Click developer and aggravated by financing, excessive ambitions and an unpleasant attitude from the leadership.

Most Daedalic employees had experience with adventure games in the Point-And-Click genre, and not with AAA’s 3D-explosions, and the studio could not hire specialists with experience. Gollum development budget amounted to 15 million. euro, which is much smaller than the budget of class games aaa.

According to available information, the employees demanded that they work with treasures, which, according to the employees, was part of the culture of the company from the first days of its existence, without paying for additional hours of work. According to employees, the pressure was also on younger personnel and interns, since they could be used as cheap labor and could not "assess the level of stress as a critical or unusual".

The founder and general director of Karsten Fikhtelmann and the chief operating director Stefan Harms, who allegedly created an atmosphere of pressure and stress were subjected to special criticism of the employees. Employees reported cases when Fikhtelmann shouted at the employees, and recalled that colleagues "They spoke only in a whisper", Fearing that they can be overheard. Daedalic denied these statements in an interview with Game Two and stated that the company reigns inside the company "Friendly working atmosphere".

While the marketing of the game presented it as aaa inside the company employees worked on "minimization of damage ", to prepare a game for release. The scale of the game was swollen, and there were not enough people or time to properly implement many systems.

The time factor also played a role, since the license for "Lord of the Rings" was limited in time.

According to representatives of the studio, a letter published on the Daedalic accounts after the game was released was written by the current owner of the Nacon studio and made it possible without prior coordination. Two anonymous sources claimed that the letter was written using the ChatGPT AI model.

Employees talked about the fact that after Gollum the company’s management felt like "in a limbo". Only a month later, 25 employees were dismissed from Daedalic, and the company itself said that she was going to refuse to develop games and focus on the publication and distribution. The second game by "The lord of the rings" under the code name It’s Magic had a prototype and internal concept-trailer, but in the end was canceled.