Word is that Fumito Ueda’s Team Ico and Sony Computer Entertainment started showing a concept trailer for The Last Guardian, the follow up to Shadow of the Colossus, as early as 2007. That concept trailer leaked just weeks before E3 2009, the conference that Sony debuted a similar, though different trailer starring a boy and his enormous griffin exploring an ancient castle. At the time, the game was promised for a 2010 release. Then it was 2011. Then it was 2012. Where the hell is The Last Guardian? Some rumors say cancelled while Sony says it’s coming.
Sony Worldwide Studios chief Shuhei Yoshida shed some light on why Guardian has been held up. In an interview with Eurogamer at Gamescom 2012, Yoshida said that significant portions of the game had to be completely redone to ensure the game worked on PlayStation 3.
“We had the game playable. At one point we felt that it would be produced for a certain time period,” said Yoshida, “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.”
“The team is still working on it very hard. There are certain technical issues they’ve been working on. That’s the period of time when the game, looking from the outside, doesn’t seem to be making much progress. But internally there is a lot of work going into creating the title.”
Technical issues have been Sony’s talking points in regards to Guardian throughout the year. Yoshida made similar comments at E3 2012, explaining that technical problems with the game were preventing Sony from showing it publicly again. “When we have confidence in saying [when The Last Guardian will release], we will talk about it, but today we are working through some engineering effort,” said Yoshida in June.
The game’s iconic director Fumito Ueda, who quit Sony as a full-time employee in 2011 and continues to work on the game in a freelance capacity, tried to assure fans shortly after that that progress was being made. “It’s been business as usual,” said Ueda, “The only things that’ve really changed are the terms of my contract. I can’t really comment on the details.”
November will mark the seventh anniversary of Shadow of the Colossus’ release on PlayStation 2. If any studio can live up to nearly a decade of anticipation, it’s Team Ico.