The Last Guardian is a video game for Sony’s PlayStation 3 made by iconic director Fumito Ueda and the Team Ico studio at Sony Japan. At least, that is, in theory. Technically speaking, people have seen a game called The Last Guardian running, played in brief demos conducted by Sony. A concept trailer for the game was reportedly shown to the press and investors as early as 2006. This same trailer leaked ahead of E3 2009, the same conference where Sony debuted an updated version of that trailer and announced a release date of 2010. Since then, few people have heard about the game. Last fall, Ueda quit Sony as a full-time employee and continued to work on the game as a freelancer.
The Last Guardian is more a myth than a video game at this point.
Good news for anyone anxiously awaiting this follow up to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Ueda offered up a brief, painfully tantalizing statement about the game on Thursday. Speaking with Kotaku, Ueda said of the project, “It’s been business as usual. The only things that’ve really changed are the terms of my contract. I can’t really comment on the details.”
It’s reassuring to know that the game is in production still, but “business as usual” is more ominous in this case than in relation to other games. Eurogamer asked Sony Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida about The Last Guardian at E3 2012 after the game failed to make an appearance during the company’s press conference. Yoshida’s comments about the game were not encouraging.
“The team is back in Tokyo working hard, and there are some technical difficulties that the team is focused on right now. That’s why we don’t have an update,” said Yoshida, “When we have confidence in saying [when it will come out], we will talk about it, but today we are working through some engineering effort.”
He at least put to rest fears that the game had been moved off the PlayStation 3 and on to Sony’s rumored next console, the PlayStation 4 or Orbis. “What does that question mean, [is it still a PS3 game]? It is a PS3 game!”
If Sony, Ueda, and Team Ico decided tomorrow that the game needed to be cancelled due to low quality, that would be for the best. Ueda’s games are of such a high quality that anything less than the best possible game after this long a development time would do irreparable damage to the company’s reputation.