Game developers defend Lord of the Rings Gollum's poor reviews: "No one wants to ship a bad game"

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

Following The Lord of the Rings: Gollum's negative reviews, game developers are sharing their stories of rocky launches. 

It's no secret that Daedalic Entertainment's Lord of the Rings game hasn't been received very well. In our The Lord of the Rings: Gollum review, we gave it 2 out of 5 stars with many other outlets giving it a similar, if not worse, rating. With all the bleak discussion surrounding Gollum's release, some game developers have openly defended the title and shared their own stories. 

One of these developers is Dannie Carlone, senior environment artist at God of War studio Santa Monica Studio. In their tweet, Carlone shares a photo of a wall in their home that features all of the games they've worked on so far, including God of War Ragnarok, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Marvel's Avengers, and Sonic Boom. This last game is especially important, as Carlone explains: "I display my 'lowest score' game because I'm proud of the time I had working with some of my favorite people in this industry."

In the same tweet, Carlone shares the Metascore for Sonic Boom which is a humble 32 and adds: "Games are hard to make. Regardless of the score, every project has positives/lessons learned," the tweet continues, "Some things are out of your hands. Be kind to each other."

Similarly, Silent Hill: Townfall director John McKellan of No Code shared a screenshot of the Metascore for All Points Bulletin adding: "Still proud of our work.  Lots of 4/10s made for [a] sobering day." McKellan continues: "No one wants to ship a bad game, and there are thousands of reasons it can happen that are outside of anyone’s control. All you can do is learn from it."

Aaron Durkin of John Wick Hex studio Super Spline also weighed in on the discussion by saying: "A long time ago I learnt lots and had a good time with a small team trying to make something fun for kids. No one sets out to make a bad game. This business is hard!" along with a screenshot of the Metascore for Nintendo Wii game All-Star Karate. 

Jack Tondeur, who previously worked at Firesprite Games, also had some words of wisdom to share along with a screenshot of 2017's The Troll and I's Metascore: "This was the first game I worked on from start to finish. A bunch of talented people tried to do something very ambitious and for various reasons, it didn't land but working on this basically taught me how to be a gameplay animator."

Former BioWare and Blizzard developer Marcel Hatam tweeted: "Really feeling bad for the Gollum team today. I never expected the game to set the world on fire (and there's definitely been some questionable decision-making on this one), but seeing such a critical mauling is sad." 

Similarly, Rocksteady Games' environmental artist Jeryce Dianingana also shared: "You know what? I'm sending a lot of support to some Devs there because sometimes you really can't do anything about it when you're in a certain position. [...] Good luck people, I'm with you."

Here's all the other new games 2023 that we've still got to look forward to. 

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.