The Last Guardian Preview
- Posted Sep 16, 2010
The Tokyo Game Show seemed like the perfect place for Team Ico to shed some more light on The Last Guardian. We now know a bit more about this mysterious game, and they gave us a Holidays 2011 release date, which they will "do their best" to hit. That's a long gap between the Spring 2011 drop date for the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Blu-ray Collection, which they also announced, but hopefully that timeframe will allow a lot of new gamers to experience these beautiful games.
But back to The Last Guardian. What did we learn? Read on to find out.
Team Ico's director and lead designer Fumito Ueda told us that the reason we haven't heard much about this title is because they are doing all of the research and development up front, rather than doing it simultaneously with the story and gameplay development as they have in the past. The main reason for this was that they wanted to really nail down the movement and behavior of the "Trico," the bird-cat (their description, not mine ... still looks a bit like a dog to me), and the relationship between it and the boy in the game. They're very proud of many of the little things they've perfected, like the eyes of the Trico, and the fact that the boy has programming that will cause him to lean against a wall if he's waiting near one. These are the little touches that make Team Ico's games so resonant. So blame the waiting on the fact that they're crafting the best game they can.
The presentation started with the exact same trailer we've put up for you to see, which shows the bonding between the boy and the Trico, some of the platforming elements, and a lot of different looks for the Trico. He looks very sickly in one scene, seems to be excited by some sort of container full of blue smoke that the boy is carrying (is that what he eats?), and he emerges from a hole with a lot of green in his feathers at one point. Because Team Ico wants to keep the plot a secret, the trailer actually brings up more questions than it answers. But one thing is for certain: it looks gorgeous. And I'm definitely of the school of thought that I don't need a trailer to lay out an entire game for me. I'm happy to discover things on my own.
But, they did go into a bit more detail when we spoke with them after the video. They know that people are expecting another sad ending, given the first two titles, but they said that they're leaving this open-ended, and that we'll have to discover that on our own. Not sure if that means multiple possible endings, but after Shadow of the Colossus
, would it kill them to cheer things up? If you have to watch Trico die, I'm going to cry like a baby. I'll say it right here.
It seems like the focus of the game will be about the development of the bond between you and the Trico, which Team Ico said is very rigid and unfriendly at first, but then you bond throughout the game as you discover elements to strengthen that relationship. There's also a lot of platforming, apparently, and it seems like the Trico will help you with that, and will probably be your main means of "combat," especially since you don't carry a weapon. But as seen in the trailer, the Trico has no problem using its gigantic paws to swipe foes out of the way.
Is there a connection between Ico
and Shadow of the Colossus
? Team Ico gave a very intriguing answer: "We don't know." It's something they intend on exploring as they develop the game, which must mean that they don't have this entirely mapped out. In fact, this entire trailer can probably be viewed as just a tech demo, since they've only focused on R&D. Sounds like they have of a lot left to hammer out, including the story. Not that the three games necessarily need to be tied together, as Fumito has stated that the character in Shadow only resembles the character in Ico because it was easier to just reuse the existing character model.
Which might be way the protagonist here resembles those first two characters, even though Shadow of the Colossus was originally going to be called Nico (Next Ico), and Trico is close to "Third Ico." Fumito explained that the original character for The Last Guardian was meant to be a girl, but from their perspective girl's don't have as strong as a grip as a boy's, for climbing the Trico, and that since there's a lot of climbing, and "girls wear skirts," they decided to go with a boy. Wow, sexist much? Sort of a black mark on an otherwise impressive, yet frustratingly tiny look into this game.
In the whole "Video games are / aren't art" argument, Shadow of the Colossus is often used to prove that games can indeed be art. Based on what we've seen so far, The Last Guardian looks like it will expand on that. We can't wait to find out more.