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Sony’s Yoshida: The Last Guardian pushed the PS3 to its breaking point

Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida opened up regarding the troubled development of Team ICO’s The Last Guardian in a recent Eurogamer interview, revealing that hardware limitations drove the decision to delay the game and revive it for the PlayStation 4.

Blaming the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus follow-up’s years-long delay on “technical issues,” Yoshida claims that the PlayStation 3 was incapable of delivering director Fumito Ueda’s creative vision.

“Because of the technical difficulty, running the game at [an acceptable] frame-rate required that the team look to compromise some features – the number of characters that Ueda-san wanted to do – if we were to continue on PS3,” Yoshida stated. “But because we moved to PS4, now he can make what he wanted. So people say it looks like the same game – there’s a reason!”

Yoshida revealed that previously released footage of The Last Guardian was altered in order to create the appearance of a smooth framerate, as the game in its original state on the PlayStation 3 was actually much slower.

“The trailer that we showed at E3 2009 was speeded up,” Yoshida said. “It was from the development system but we took it frame by frame and made it run smoothly.”

Yoshida additionally dismissed rumors suggesting that PlayStation 4 hardware architect Mark Cerny had joined the project as a replacement for director Ueda. While Cerny’s team contributed to the PS4 porting process, Ueda continues to work on The Last Guardian in his original role, but now as an independent contractor at studio Gen Design.

“Gen Design is a small studio created by [Jinji] Horagai-san, he’s the lead programmer of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus,” Yoshida notes. “Ueda-san is independent. So Ueda-san and Gen Design and Japan Studios are three groups working as one team. Gen Designs guys include some lead animators from Shadow of the Colossus and some character designers, so that veteran team creates lots of the creative side of content for the Japan Studio team to implement. Ueda-san does the overall direction of the game design, art direction and animation.

Yoshida explained that a small development staff and low costs allowed production of The Last Guardian to continue years after its initial announcement.

“The team is much smaller,” Yoshida said. “Teams in Japan are much smaller in general than teams in the US and Europe… [Guerrilla Games’ upcoming action-RPG] Horizon is a much bigger budget title than The Last Guardian! It’s not so small, it’s much bigger than Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, but it’s not a US or European-style budget.”

The Last Guardian will launch as a PlayStation 4 exclusive in 2016.