The developer of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is charging for DLC that adds more Elvish because it had to train actors to speak the language, and that doesn't come cheap.
Last week Daedalic Entertainment unveiled a special edition of its upcoming stealth game starring Gollum. Aptly named the "Precious Edition", included in this version is the Sindarin VO DLC, which you'll need if you want to hear the game's Elves speak in Sindarin, the Elvish language invented by author J.R.R Tolkien. The DLC can also be bought separately if you opt for the base game.
Placing a feature meant to provide a more authentic experience behind a paywall is rather an odd move and certainly not a popular one, prompting Daedalic to issue an explanation. In a statement to Eurogamer (via PC Gamer), the developer explained that it's charging for the DLC as it had to have lore experts train the actors to speak the fantasy language. Additionally, it clarified that even without the DLC, Elves will still speak Sindarin on occasion.
"The Elves in the base game will speak in their tongue (Sindarin) from time to time," Daedalic said. "On top of that the Sindarin VO expansion adds additional Sindarin lines to some of the characters in the background. While traversing through Mirkwood and other parts of Middle-earth Gollum will be able to listen to various dialogues between Elves. These dialogues add to the atmosphere and worldbuilding. With the Sindarin VO these dialogues will be held in Sindarin.
"Daedalic went the extra mile here and hired professional voice actors, who were trained in Sindarin by our lore experts. It is a DLC for the real Tolkien Devotees who want to immerse themselves even more into the world of Middle-Earth."
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was set to release in September 2022 but was delayed so that the team could "deliver the best possible experience." It's now due to arrive next month on May 25. In the meantime, you can see how the game is shaping up in our Lord of the Rings: Gollum preview.
Check out our guide to new games 2023 for all the biggest and best titles still to come this year.