However, DC is not the only subsidiary that Warner Bros. owns. The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter franchises are both immensely popular, but neither have had wholly superb video games in the past. Rare standouts include the Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War installments, which used Warner Bros.' patented Nemesis system. This year looks to rectify this issue for both franchises as The Lord of the Rings: Gollum and Hogwarts Legacy are scheduled to release.
Warner Bros.' Monolith Productions, which developed the two Middle-earth titles, is currently working on a standalone Wonder Woman game. It is possible that a sequel to Middle-earth: Shadow of War could be announced in the future, but the place where Talion and Celebrimbor's narrative concludes seems fairly definitive. Instead, Warner Bros. has a new IP with which it hopes to renew life into The Lord of the Rings.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a stealth- and choice-oriented experience where players will grapple with Smeagol's poisoned duality. Gameplay snippets have been shared, and cinematic teasers and trailers have been released, but not much else has been shown to amplify its hype. Further, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum's release window delay may have pushed it out of fans' consciousness for now. It needs to come back with gameplay presentations and a lot more to share if it hopes to raise this excitement.
Gollum may not be everyone's first choice for a player character in the fantastical world of Middle-earth. Even so, fans should be happy that The Lord of the Rings is still relevant in the industry, because it may open the door to other possible games in the future. If successful, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum could spell the potential for new games set in the same franchise, possibly developed by Daedalic Entertainment. With any luck, Gollum's standalone title will be the positive recourse that the franchise needs, still launching in 2022 as it currently plans to.
Before March, information about Warner Bros' Hogwarts Legacy had been scarce. Fortunately, PlayStation's State of Play last month quelled those worries with an extended look at Hogwarts Legacy's gameplay. This demonstrates that Hogwarts Legacy is at least in a place to be able to show its many ambitious features, which is a relief since the game is still scheduled for a holiday 2022 release.
Hogwarts Legacy looks to immerse players as students at the iconic school of witchcraft and wizardry. Harry Potter's film tie-in games were received poorly back in their day, though the first three Harry Potter games retain some charm. The Harry Potter franchise is now a contentious IP for developers to work on due to author J.K. Rowling's transphobia, so Warner Bros. and Avalanche Software likely hope fans can enjoy Hogwarts Legacy for what it has to offer regardless.
If Avalanche can pull off the wonder and fantasy of Hogwarts in its debut installment, the franchise could have a healthy future with sequels that explore other aspects of Harry Potter lore. Both The Lord of the Rings: Gollum and Hogwarts Legacy have a huge opportunity to cement their franchises in the video game space, and offer experiences that will lay the foundation for sequels and other explorations of each license.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is scheduled to release in 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Hogwarts Legacy is scheduled to release holiday 2022 for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.