Like the twisted version of Sméagol himself, the new game Lord of the Rings: Gollum, based on the franchise and character of the same name, has been hiding in the shadows up to its release this week.
While not all forays into Middle Earth have been gaming gold, we've enjoyed a fair share of great games based on the franchise, so what new experience could we create based on another standalone character?
Think you've got an idea worthy of the Horn of Gondor? Let us know on Discord.
Éomer | Liam Andrews
My initial instinct was to go with Boromir, just because his (spoiler alert!) death at the end of the first film was one of my favourite scenes in the whole trilogy and I think it would make for an epic finale in any game about him. If I was going for a Boromir game, I reckon it would be linear, and that horn he carries would be used to summon nearby allies to your aid in battles or temporarily boost your health and attacks.
However, I’m going to pick Éomer instead. A game starring the future King of Rohan would be an open world one, seeing as the Rohirrim are known for their love of horses and you need a big bit of land to ride them in, a bit like the one in Read Dead Redemption 2 (it’ll borrow some of those horse animations as well).
The game would see Éomer roaming around picking fights with orcs, having adventures and helping Rohan’s citizens, generally keeping the lands safe and being a good Marshall of the Mark. It would probably follow the events of the films, with a whole new map opening up (again, Red Dead Redemption style) when Éomer is banished and rides north and also feature some big set piece battles in the form of the charges at Helms Deep and Minas Tirith.
Sauron | James Parry
While The Rings of Power might not have done a great job at building a compelling world as backstory for the heroes we know and love, there's something to leading the rise of evil.
We know from just the films the gist of the story, sure, but the satisfaction of slowly taking over the various realms and pooling their resources could work as a sort of macro scale Fallout Shelter, combined with the option to get out and take on battles yourself, just as a lord gradually realising his power would do.
The combination of action and strategy gameplay could make for a really unique experience, and turning the Nemesis system from Shadow of Mordor/War on its head could enhance the push and pull of the growing war and give it a real personal edge.
The world is already so rich and exploring it could give you a chance to explore well-known locations in a way you wouldn't be able to any other way.
Plus, the series is arguably about the character, given the title, and it’s fair to say it doesn’t come off looking too great in that, so perhaps there’s a chance for some well-needed good PR for The Dark Lord.