The Last Guardian creative lead reportedly quits Sony, continues work as freelancer

The Last Guardian

People who are serious about their video games got some disappointing news earlier this year when Sony confirmed that The Last Guardian, the upcoming game from Ico and Shadow of the Colossus developer Team Ico, would not be arriving during the holiday 2011 timeframe, as had previously been planned. It’s not clear where the game is at right now, but there’s word from “Japanese video game development sources” speaking to Eurogamer that Team Ico’s Fumito Ueda has officially left his post at Sony.

If the rumor is true, Ueda’s departure is tremendously noteworthy. He’s credited as the creator of Guardian, as well as Ico and Colossus before it, and he’s seen by many industry observers as one of the most potent creative forces working in games today. Ueda will reportedly continue his work on The Last Guardian, seeing the development through to the end in a freelance role, after which he will “embark on personal projects.”

Sony last mentioned Guardian in September, right around the time that the Tokyo Game Show unfolded, revealing that Team Ico is still plugging away at the project. Shortly before that, SCE Studios president Shuhei Yoshida offered an explanation for the release delay, saying “It’s been very difficult in terms of seeing the progress: not as fast as we’d been hoping for, and the team has been under big pressure.”

As of now, The Last Guardian is pegged for release sometime in 2012. We’ll see if that changes at all, should this news of Ueda’s departure turn out to be true. Sony issued a fairly standard “[we] don’t comment on rumors or speculation” statement to Joystiq when questioned about the Ueda situation.