The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian is the long-delayed third game from Sony's Team Ico. Originally revealed in trailer form at E3 2009, the game was met with substantial delays but was reintroduced at E3 2015.

Overview

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The Last Guardian is a Sony title developed by Team Ico. The game was first announced in February 2007 through a full-page advertisement in the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. It was shown publicly for the first time in a trailer at E3 2009.

At E3, The Last Guardian was announced as an exclusive to the PlayStation 3. Very few concrete details were released about the title, but the artwork indicates that it would share similarities with the visuals in Team Ico's previous works, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It is not known if The Last Guardian is set within the same world as the previous Team Ico games.

Another trailer was shown at TGS 2010, after which, the game was delayed to the point that many speculated that it had been cancelled. At E3 2015, it was re-revealed as a Playstation 4 game due for release in 2016. At E3 2016, a release date of October was announced but, ironically, the game would be delayed one final time to December 2016.

Story

Much like Ico, the game features a young boy as the main character; in this case, he befriends and interacts with a large creature named "Toriko." The creature was designed as an amalgamation of several different types of animals, as designer Fumito Ueda felt that this will create a greater sense of empathy in the player. The developers have stated that player's shouldn't expect the creature to be too intelligent and that luring it onwards may be an important aspect of gameplay.

Development

In March 2009 at the Game Developers Conference '09, Ueda stated during a Q&A session that "it [the new game] might be similar to what's been done," and "the essence of the game is rather close to 'Ico.'"

On May 19 2009, PlayStationLifestyle.net released a several images and a video of the studio's newest project. Tentatively titled 'Project Trico', the footage began with the scene shown previously in the first image. It showed a boy together with a giant feathered beast traversing vast temple ruins, the architecture similar in style to both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It was revealed to be old footage however, shown internally within Sony.

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On June 1 2009, the game was officially revealed at Sony's E3 press conference, with the first trailer being shown. It was an updated version of the footage that had been leaked previously, with the scenes slightly edited and now showing a lot more polish, in addition to completely new scenes. The game's title was revealed to be 'The Last Guardian.' New screenshots were officially released too. Sony Computer Entertainment announced at E3 that The Last Guardian is a 2010 release, and Ueda declined to go into further specifics, other than to say "there is definitely a reason why we are announcing this when we are."

On September 24 2009, The Last Guardian made a highly-anticipated appearance at Tokyo Game Show on the first day, albeit in limited form. While there was still no playable demo present, a new trailer was shown, revealing a few more scenes of gameplay. Another batch of screenshots were also released, in addition to a short behind-the-scenes look at the game's development featuring Ueda.

At TGS 2010, Ueda announced a late 2011 release for the game, but by April 2011, a post on the EU PlayStation blog revealed a delay to both The Last Guardian and The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection. The reason provided was "to provide more challenging and better quality of content to users and to fulfill First Party Studio’s obligations".

As of late 2011, Ueda is no longer a full-time employee of Sony Computer Entertainment. He has since joined a company called Bossa Studios, but it has been stated that he is continuing to work on The Last Guardian in a freelance capacity.

On February 13, 2013, Shuhei Yoshida announced a significant amount of work on The Last Guardian had to be completely redone. “At one point we felt that it would be produced for a certain time period. That was the time we prematurely talked about the launch window. But it turned out the technical issues are much harder to solve. So the engineering team had to go back and re-do some of the work they had done.”

On June 11, 2013, at E3, Jack Tretton commented that development of The Last Guardian is "on hiatus"; phrasing that suggests that the game is no longer in development. However, Yoshida later commented to Kotaku's Stephen Totilo and clarified that the game is still in active development and requested that the public continue to have patience.

On June 7, 2014, the website IGN reported that The Last Guardian had been cancelled, citing an "internal source" that spoke with IGN Russia. This news was quickly refuted by Scott Rohde of Sony Worldwide Studios on Twitter. IGN later backtracked, updating their article to reflect the conflicting reports they received.

On June 15, 2015, at E3, The Last Guardian finally made a reappearance at Sony's Press Conference. Sony showed a brand new trailer which featured gameplay of the game on the Playstation 4 and a release date of 2016.