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SYFY WIRE The Lord of the Rings

Gaming: Gollum gets his own LOTR adventure, Black Ops 4 gets stone temple zombies

By Benjamin Bullard
Gollum in The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey

Clutching the Precious to set out on his own, Gollum will scurry across Middle-earth for a solo adventure in Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a just-announced new game from developer Daedalic Entertainment.

Via The Hollywood Reporter, the new game is reportedly the first in a bigger LOTR-based series from the same developer, and follows Gollum during the mysterious in-between period when he already has his precious ring, but hasn’t yet shown up in the official timeline of the J.R.R. Tolkien book series.

Revealed in the wake of last week’s Game Developers Conference, LOTR: Gollum reportedly will be made using Unreal Engine (via VentureBeat) and is set to release around the same time as Amazon’s ambitious Lord of the Rings TV series. The game reportedly represents a new partnership between Daedalic and Middle-earth Enterprises, which licenses Tolkien’s content. 

Cartsen Fichtelmann, the studio’s co-founder, told VentureBeat that the idea of putting Gollum at the center of his own adventure is to highlight the inner conflict between Gollum and Sméagol. “You have the two characters talking to him continuously. From a storytelling perspective, it’s a good starting point to do whatever we want to do,” he said, adding that they'll "tell his story until he first shows up” in the Tolkien canon.

Other games reportedly will follow, although no details about any games planned beyond Gollum’s adventure have yet been revealed. Daedalic is said to be eyeing a 2021 release for Lord of the Rings: Gollum, and it’s currently targeted to debut on PC and “all relevant consoles platforms at the time.”

Not that they’re ever far away when you’re talking about the Call of Duty series, but zombies are about to make a big comeback when the new update to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Zombies mode arrives this week. 

The all-new “Ancient Evil” Zombies map will find our undead foes invading the likeliest of all possible zombie haunts: Ancient Greece. This is definitely one of those cases when a picture is worth a thousand words, so Treyarch thankfully has a clip all lined up and ready to go. Check out all those zombies flooding up from the subterra of the Temple at Delphi:

If you’re a Black Ops pass holder, you likely already have the game's recent Operation Grand Heist update, which Treyarch teased in February along with the promise of new Zombies content. Now that both bits are here, all that’s left to do is pick your poison: Grand Heist mayhem, or Greek temple dungeon crawling. The all-new “Ancient Evil” map arrives for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 starting March 26.

With Final Fantasy XIV rounding the final corner before its massive new Shadowbringers update drops a new season of MMORPG adventuring, Square Enix is putting the final pieces of the puzzle in place with a new playable character class, new species, and a preview of some new locations and story lines.

The Dancer class waltzes on the scene with a new trailer that highlights the bard-like character type’s basic strengths: ranged attacks, supporting buffs, and — wait for it — dancing animations:

Also new for Shadowbringers is the male-only Hrothgar character race, introduced as a complement to the all-female Viera the game imported earlier this year from the FF XII lore-verse of Ivalice:

While there are sure to be tons more location to debut once Shadowbringers arrives, Square Enix is already teasing a pair of new ones: the Crystarium, a sparkling crystal city that’ll serve as the playground for some new story DLC, as well as Eulmore, a pleasure oasis that looks like FF XIV’s answer to the Gold Saucer from Final Fantasy VII

There’s never really a wrong time to dive into the ongoing FF XIV saga, and doing it now will put you right in the middle of the current Stormblood storyline so you can be ready to go when Shadowbringers sneaks up. Available for PlayStation 4, PC, and MacOS, Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers arrives on July 2.