The Hard Road of The Last Guardian
The Hard Road of The Last Guardian
2008/2009 – January, a job posting on Sony’s website hints that Team Ico – the revered developers behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus – is working a new game. The project is covertly referred to as Project Trico, suggesting a strong spiritual link to Ico. Fan interest is peaked.
2009 – E3 2009. Project Trico is revealed to be The Last Guardian. Stills and an epic pre-rendered teaser (which uses music from the Coen Bros’ super excellent gangster epic Miller’s Crossing) are released. Everything about the game suggests something as inspired as Team Ico’s previous insta-classics. A 2010 release date seems likely. Fans the world over spontaneously lose bladder control.
2010 – The Last Guardian is curiously absent from the line-up at E3 2010.
2010 – The Last Guardian makes an appearance months later at the Tokyo Game Show, along with the official announcement of the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD re-releases. A late-2011 release window is given. Fans are excited.
2011 – March. Project director Fumito Ueda suggests that a playable demo of The Last Guardian will be on the Ico/Shadow HD collection disc. The collection is released (in November) to great acclaim, and no playable demo is to be found. Fans are sad.
2011 – April. Sony announces that guardian has been pushed from its vague “late-2011” release date to a harrowingly vague “2012” release date.
2011 – June. E3 2011 turns into the Vita & Wii-U Show, and any discussion of The Last Guardian is relegated to hushed whispers and muttered half-answers.
2011 – December. Ueda leaves his post at Sony. The Last Guardian, however, sputters along with Ueda taking on a consultant role. Fans begin to question whether its quality will take a hit.
2012 – February. Game Informer receives an official statement from Sony big shot Shuhei Yoshida: “It’s making progress. There have been technical issues and the engineering team is reworking it. It’s playable, but not to the level of when we can say it’s coming.” Fans are skeptical.
2012 – May. Game Informer further prods Sony: “The Last Guardian continues to be developed, however we have no news to share at this time with regard to the franchise and E3.” Barring a last minute announcement that will be three absentee years in a row.
I’d sure like to play The Last Guardian. I really would. I personally know at least ten other people that would, too; I impersonally know of about fifty thousand. Please, Sony, don’t throw it on the scrap heap or write it off as a victim of Development Hell.
Information about the gameplay has released slowly but surely. We know the basic plot — that it will center around the developing relationship between a young boy and a big griffin-thing — and we have a pretty good outline of how the gameplay will work. (I won’t go into details about it here, but man it sounds awesome.)
And look at that Yoshida statement: the game is playable. That gives me a small amount of hope. The real downside is that, after all this free, dubious publicity, Team Ico now has a VERY high bar to deal with. What if it’s released and it flops? That would almost certainly mean the end of the most exciting developer of the previous generation.
What are your thoughts? Should Sony cut their losses and release an incomplete product, or scrap it entirely? Should they move it to the next gen and let that Team Ico brilliance shine? Are you even still interested in the latest prospective slice of heaven from them?
I know I am. I’d just like some news I can rely on.