The Lord of the Rings: Gollum developer Daedalic Entertainment has been hit with scathing allegations surrounding a toxic work environment, underpaid staff and uncompensated overtime. This news arrives shortly after the studio was outed for using ChatGPT to script its infamous apology statement after the game’s release, which was riddled with signs that an AI wrote it.
A recent 40-minute video from German publication Game Two, titled Why Gollum Had to Fail, went into detail about the work environment at Daedalic Entertainment during the development of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. According to one of the 32 anonymous sources interviewed in the video, “there was an atmosphere of fear” as allegations surfaced about the company’s mistreatment of employees.
Allegations such as workers not receiving compensation for overtime, trying to pay staff below minimum wage and and a toxic work environment cultivated by abusive leadership were all brought up during the video. It’s worth noting that these scathing reports were denied by Daedalic Entertainment as denial statements were issued to Game Two and shown in the video. To that end, we recommend taking everything with a grain of salt for now, though with so many sources apparently interviewed, it’s hard to say the allegations are entirely fabricated and may have some truth.
To add a bit of fuel to the fire, IGN has corroborated the claims with its own sources which also cite low pay, crunch and toxic work culture at Daedalic. Game Two alleges that the company exploited younger employees and interns not just for low pay but also their lack of experience in the gaming industry – something that IGN’s sources also backed up.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum launched earlier this year to some of the lowest user and critic review scores of 2023. We also weren’t too fond of it either, awarding it a 3/10 in our review:
“So should you play The Lord of The Rings: Gollum? No. No amount of post-launch work will fix this game. It is dated, dull and at best, a forgettable experience. It is like playing one of the worst PlayStation 2 games back in the day. There’s no silver lining here and ‘what ifs’ or ‘that is a good thing’ because there’s nothing to see here.”
Source: Game Two