Lord of the Rings: Gollum developers claim Daedelic’s working environment was toxic

by Danny Craig  · 
Lord of the Rings: Gollum developers claim Daedelic’s working environment was toxic
Daedelic Entertainment

Former Daedelic Entertainment developers have claimed that the studio's working environment was plagued with toxicity and that there was an "atmosphere of fear" as a result of its leadership's actions.

The details:

  • In a new report from Game Two, former employees of the Lord of the Rings: Gollum developer have revealed the working conditions and poor management choices that resulted in the release of the worst-received game of 2023. LOTR: Gollum was criticized for its out-of-date graphics, bugs, poor mission design, and a user interface with a typeface that was practically identical to the Windows default Calibri font.
  • Unfortunately, one of the gaming industry's most prevalent issues, crunching, was allegedly a problem at Daedelic and was dismissed by its management as perfectly normal. In the video, an email said to be from COO Stephan Harms states that employees will no longer be paid for overtime because it is "a completely normal and common parameter in our industry." When asked about the legitimacy of this claim, the company completely denied it.
  • The studio's developers were said to be excited to work on a AAA release in such a legendary franchise, but the project's budget caused some major issues, with only €15 million allocated to its creation. AAA games typically have development budgets ranging from $50 million to billions of dollars, so it's undeniable that LOTR: Gollum would have had to cut some significant corners to fit within such a small budget.
  • Another accusation leveled against the studio is that it used interns and employees with less experience as "cheaper labor" who were willing to do more work without the ability to assess "the level of stress as critical or unusual." Daedelic also denied these claims, claiming that no interns worked there during the development period.
  • Following the game's poor reception, the company issued a statement on its official X account, which was relentlessly mocked by fans. According to the report, the statement was entirely written by ChatGPT, with the wording even slipping up in places by referring to the series as "Lord of the Ring.”

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