Daedalic Entertainment has announced that it’s working on a new Lord of the Rings action-adventure game that will be released in 2021 for PC and “all relevant console platforms at that time.” The game will be called The Lord of the Rings – Gollum, and will focus on that titular character.
The Lord of the Rings – Gollum will be based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, and will follow Gollum’s path through those books, but it “will also explore new events and details” from that journey. So expect something that doesn’t break the story or narrative of the original work, but may add a few things that aren’t discussed directly in The Lord of the Rings.
Carsten Fichtelmann, CEO and co-founder of Daedalic, said the new game will “tell Gollum’s story from a perspective never seen before, in any storytelling medium, all the while staying true to the legendary books of J.R.R. Tolkien.”
The books don’t go into much detail about what Gollum does during his journey to reclaim the ring, although we know he meets Shelob at one point, is captured in Mordor and tortured into revealing who Bilbo Baggins is and where the ring might be. Sauron’s forces later release Gollum, implicitly doing so to track him in order to find the location of the ring.
It’s at this point that Aragorn captures him in the Dead Marshes and, on what must have been an excruciating months-long journey, hogties him and drags him to the court of Thranduil in Mirkwood so Gandalf can question him. Gollum escapes from there again, and holes up in the mines of Moria, where he eventually comes across the Fellowship, starts following Frodo, and, well, you know the rest from the Lord of the Rings movies.
We have few other details about this game, but the original books should give Daedalic Entertainment a fair amount of wiggle room in which to play; the books discuss Gollum through other characters much more often than letting us see his adventure directly.
Rumors began swirling earlier this week following a leak by Twitter’s Wario64. The popular account, known for uncovering gaming deals far and wide, posted a memo detailing the changes that was circulated internally at GameStop.
While GameStop’s public relations team has not yet responded to our requests to validate the text of the memo, it seems that Sony’s policy is nonetheless very real.
“We can confirm that as of April 1, 2019, Sony Interactive Entertainment will no longer offer full games through SIE’s Global Digital at Retail program,” a PlayStation spokesperson told The Verge. “This decision was made in order to continue to align key businesses globally.”
The new policy puts some consumers in the lurch, specifically those unwilling or unable to use a credit or debit card to purchase directly from Sony’s online storefront. To accommodate, Sony said that it will offer additional denomination values for customers purchasing PlayStation Store cash cards.
“To support full games and premium editions, SIE will introduce increased denominations at select retailers,” the PlayStation spokesperson said. “DLC, add-ons, virtual currency, and season passes will still be available.”
As The Verge points out, Sony’s statement still leaves a few unanswered questions. Chief among them is whether Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, will be affected by this policy change. GameStop’s memo says the change will affect all retailers.
Polygon has reached out to Sony for additional comment and clarification.
Microsoft has been courting indies for years through its [email protected] program, but now the company is giving independent games their very own showcase. The newly titled [email protected] Game Pass stream will premiere on March 26 and showcase a variety of indies coming to Xbox One. [Update: The presentation has concluded, and it announced three more indie games to hit Xbox Game Pass on their release days, along with the lineup of [email protected] games coming to PAX East. Read all about it with our roundup.)
Though a full line-up hasn’t been announced, Microsoft did mention a few by name including Afterparty, Void Bastards, and Supermarket Shriek. Plus, given the name, it seems likely this will emphasize the indies that are included as part of the company’s Game Pass subscription service. That service offers all-you-can-eat from a curated selection of games for $10 per month.
This show will follow a spate of publisher showcases, including the spring Nindies showcase that featured a collaboration with Microsoft to bring Cuphead to the Nintendo Switch. Similarly, Sony announced its own State of Play stream, airing March 25. Between the regular Nintendo Direct presentations, Microsoft’s Inside Xbox and new [email protected] Game Pass streams, and Sony’s new State of Play streams, all three major platform holders are now hosting their own streaming programs.
Check below for a schedule of times, and come back here at show time to watch it all go down.
In the face of strong opposition from the Epic Games Store, Steam has retained one of its biggest players, as Bethesda confirms its upcoming games will all launch on Valve’s service. However, the publisher stopped short of confirming or denying if its games will also launch on the Epic Store.
The Epic Store opened in December 2018 and has been aggressive in securing exclusives and giving away free PC games, the most recent of which is Oxenfree. Epic also takes a much smaller share of revenue from game sales when compared to Steam, making it an attractive proposition for developers and publishers. On the other hand, Steam has a larger install base and has been around for much longer, meaning it possesses features the Epic Store does not, including cloud saves, achievements, and more.
Apple is expanding its presence in the games industry. At an event where it also announced Apple TV Plus, the company unveiled a new game subscription service called Apple Arcade, which sounds almost like Apple’s take on Xbox Game Pass. It’s one of a variety of subscription-based services Apple will offer consumers, with others including Apple News Plus and the aforementioned TV Plus. With free-to-play games largely dominating the mobile games space, with a few notable exceptions such as Minecraft, Arcade effectively serves as a way to highlight and distribute premium games in a new way.
Below we’ve gathered everything we know about Apple Arcade, including its release date window, what games are confirmed for the service, and more. Be sure to check back often as we update this feature with even more new details regarding Apple Arcade.
What Is Apple Arcade?
Apple Arcade is the tech giant’s gaming subscription service designed for mobile, desktop, and the living room. It takes the form of a monthly subscription that provides unlimited access to a curated selection of paid games on the App Store. It’s not totally unlike Xbox Game Pass, although Arcade games will offer full access to all updates and DLC.
When Does Apple Arcade’s Release And How Much Will It Cost?
Apple has not yet revealed the pricing on the service, but it promises more details will come in the months ahead. Currently, we know that Apple Arcade will be available in 150 countries sometime this fall.
Which Devices Does Apple Arcade Support?
It will support games across iOS devices (both iPhones and iPads), MacOS, and Apple TV, and you’ll be able to transfer your progress between different platforms. Essentially, you can move from playing something on your phone to your TV or laptop, for instance.
What Games Are On Apple Arcade?
Currently, development partners Sega, Konami, Disney, Sumo Digital, Cartoon Network, and more are all signed on to contribute games to the service. There’s confirmed to be more than 100 exclusive games at launch with more promised to be added. Below you can find a list of all the games confirmed on the service so far, but if you want details about what each game is, be sure to check out our comprehensive games roundup feature (coming soon).
Hoosiers point guard Devonte Green, a shooter, has a very appropriate tattoo (among some other games-related art) on his left arm: the infinite ammo cheat code for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the PS2.
LakeShowYo spotted it a couple of days ago, highlighting it in this tweet:
Because it’s tiny and at an angle, here’s a better look:
I love it! We’ve all seen Konami code tattoos, but this one is so weirdly specific that you can tell it came straight from the heart.
Just like the giant “IMACHEAT” I’ve got emblazoned in SimCity 2000 font across my chest.
Square Enix character designer Toshiyuki Itahanais the artist responsible for the round, cute chocobo design Final Fantasy fans see everywhere. The small chocobo who headlines the Chocobo Dungeon spin-off games is easily identifiable by his big eyes and fluffy feathers, as opposed to the sleeker, pointier chocobos we see in other games.
Itahana was the character designer for not just the chocobo spin-off games, but for the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles games, Final Fantasy 9, and Final Fantasy Explorers. His style is noticeably cuter and less edgy than the designs that players might think of when thinking about Final Fantasy. (I’m looking directly at you, Cloud and Squall.)
With Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy! recently releasing for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, we talked to Itahana via email about how he came up with this iconic design, the influence it had on other games, and why chocobos were picked to be the focus of the spin-off series.
[Note: The interview below was done using a translator provided by Square Enix and has been edited for clarity and style.]
Polygon: When you first started designing characters for the chocobo spin-off games, what did you originally plan to do? How did the current designs deviate from what you initially had planned?
Toshiyuki Itahana: All the chocobos that appear in the Final Fantasy mainline series seem to tend toward a sleek design, so I mulled over how to stylize these characters when I went to translate them into a so-called roguelike game, where they would move around the spaces on a square grid. Making them too round ran the risk of destroying the perception of that stylish chocobo. So I had initially tried drawing a more monster-like chocobo with a sharper beak, but the design didn’t turn out in a way that would help it become a beloved protagonist. Thus, while I made sure to incorporate chocobo’s characteristic elements, like the beak, crest, and talons, the final design ultimately ended up being the round, cute chocobo we have now.
The storylines of Chocobo’s Dungeon 1 and 2 were written by Mr. Kazuhiko Aoki, who was also the producer of Chrono Trigger. The story itself takes place in a very soft, lovable game world, so I think the round design matches it very well.
Chocobos have always been fairly cute and lovable since the beginning but your designs have managed to make them even cuter. Even more fearsome monsters like Bahamut and Behemoth have been made much more lovable. How did you go about tweaking these designs in a way that made them all recognizable, but still cute?
Thank you for asking such a flattering question. Generally, I keep the silhouette of the original design while enhancing the characteristic qualities. By designing them this way, even if these characters’ looks were to become more round and cute, I tried to ensure that players would still be able to recognize immediately, so they know “Oh, it’s this character!”
Aside from that, in order to give even the monsters a rich array of facial expressions, I make their head and eyes a little larger to allow them to emote better. I think that may be why they’re perceived as being cute. I learned how to do this sort of thing when I previously worked at a company within the Bandai Namco Group, which is famous for its toys.
Were there any other Final Fantasy characters considered to be the star of the spin-off series, or was it always chocobo?
In the case of Chocobo’s Dungeon, the initial concept was to create a game using the chocobo, who we knew and loved from the Final Fantasy series. As such, our considerations involved chocobos from the start. However, chocobos can’t speak. So our approach was to get a moogle ready as a partner who could take on the role of communicating the chocobo’s feelings to other characters in the game as well as the player.
The setup of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon, which served as the basis for the present Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy!, is that the protagonist is actually Cid, a character known from the FF series, and Chocobo is his partner. But Cid in Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon was apparently a bit too laid back because the story ended up being centered on Chocobo. [laughs]
The style you coined when designing for the Crystal Chronicles games looks like it influenced later Final Fantasy work, like the remakes of FF3 and FF4 for DS, though you didn’t directly have a hand in those games. The chocobo from the spin-off games even seems to make a cameo appearance in Final Fantasy 14. When designing these characters, did you think that it would have the impact on Final Fantasy as a series as much as it does now?
I hadn’t been very conscious of this, but I do think there have been titles with super stylized designs that have kindly used my work as reference, such as Final Fantasy Explorers.
Additionally, with art design staff who worked on Final Fantasy 9 and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles participating in the development of World of Final Fantasy, for example, design directions are being forged anew, using past experience and know-how. As such, I would venture to say that the range of direction, even when considering only games with super stylized designs, will widen even more moving forward.
With regard to Alpha from Final Fantasy 14, it turned out that the scenario staff member on the Final Fantasy 14 team was a Chocobo’s Dungeon player back when it was first released. When the plan came about for Omega to appear in Final Fantasy 14, apparently they had suggested that Chocobo should join because the character who has defeated Omega the most times in the history of Final Fantasy characters was Chocobo from Chocobo’s Dungeon! I was very happy to hear that story. It was a moment where I was glad I had continued on with the super stylized chocobo series.
Daedalic today announced a new game called The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, which is notable for the fact that a) it’s all about Gollum, who sucks, and b) it’s another attempt at a Lord of the Rings game without the fabled film license.
That division continues today; WB have the rights to the films, despite barely using them (the Mordor games may as well be original IP), and other companies are free to license the books. Enter German developers and publishers Daedelic, which means this Gollum game won’t feature Andy Serkis (or even an Andy Serkis-a-like), and this take on Middle Earth, like that found in The Lord of the Rings Online, won’t feature the same visual landmarks we identify from Jackson’s films.
But whatever! This should still be interesting because it’s got you literally playing as Gollum, slinking around in the shadows, though whether you’ll be shanking dudes or just eating fish and being a prick isn’t known for now.
What we do know, thanks to this interview with PC Gamer, is that the game will be set “before we learn about what happens to him in the books”, and that his split personality will play a part in how you play. “You’ll come to decisions you have to make, and you’ll have the two voices talking to you. He may change his mind, and this is a clue about how it will play”, Daedelic CEO Carsten Fichtelmann says.
The game will be out in 2021, which explains why there isn’t even a screenshot yet.
Just when you thought the Five Nights at Freddy’s horror series had reached its end, here comes a new installment that’ll be out soon. Revealed during Sony’s inaugural State of Play livestream, the Five Nights franchise will be making its debut on PS4 with Five Nights At Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted, along with releases on Steam and the Oculus Store. In addition to being the series’ debut on a console, it’s also the first time the series will be playable in VR, which adds a whole new spin on the standard hide-and-seek gameplay that made it such a hit.
Developed by Steel Wool Games, Help Wanted remasters several past levels from the previous Five Nights games for the VR format. Playable with both the PlayStation move controllers and the standard DualShock, you’ll be able to solve puzzles and evade the murderous animatronics–all within VR. Though the game is structurally the same and uses a lot of classic levels and returning monsters, it overhauls many encounters with the band of nightmarish animatronics from Freddy FazzBear’s Pizzeria.
The VR game will also include a whole suite of collectibles to find hidden in each stage. These items include plush dolls, bobbleheads, and other knick-knacks referencing the main baddies in the series. Set for release this April, Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted seems like it’ll be an interesting change of pace for the series that can use the new format to great effect.
Mortal Kombat veterans Jackson “Jax” Briggs, Kung Lao, and Liu Kang are coming to Mortal Kombat 11, according to a new story trailer for NetherRealm Studios’ fighting game.
That video, fittingly set to Ice Cube’s “Check Yo Self” (with a little bit of Vince Staples’ “Blue Suede”), shows younger versions of Jax, Kung Lao, and Liu Kang squaring off against future versions of themselves. In the case of Jax, it’s alongside his daughter, Jacqui, against an older and wiser Jax. But in Kung Lao’s and Liu Kang’s cases, they’re up against evil revenant versions of themselves.
Johnny Cage gets in on the beat-yourself-up action, trading broken bones and pithy quips. Kung Lao and Liu Kang show off some variations on old fatalities. A major showdown between Liu Kang (bad guy version) and Raiden (good guy version) appears imminent with the whole Kombat crew on the sidelines. And NetherRealm looks like it’s having a hell of a lot of fun with Mortal Kombat 11’s time-twisting storyline.
Mortal Kombat 11 is headed to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on April 23.