Team Ico has produced only two games since Ico hit shelves back in 2001, but both were spectacular. Ico and 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus are undisputed classics – brilliant blends of puzzle-solving, platforming, and understated emotional storytelling. Since those two games hit, fans have had to wait for 10 years for Team Ico’s next creation…and they’re still waiting.
What little has been revealed of Team Ico’s The Last Guardian suggests the game has all the ingredients to stand shoulder to shoulder with its two predecessors. However, the game has been in development since 2007, and all these years later there’s still no concrete release date. Most of the updates about the game in recent years have come in the form of Sony repeatedly insisting it hasn’t been cancelled. It’s still unclear when The Last Guardian might finally see the light of day, but for now, it seems, there’s still life in it yet.
As reported by NeoGAF, Sony Computer Entertainment last week filed a new trademark application for The Last Guardian with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and that application is now pending approval. It marks the third time Sony has trademarked the title over the course of the game’s development. The second trademark actually lapsed last month, leading to another round of speculation that The Last Guardian had been cancelled. Sony was quick to clarify that a filing error was to blame, reiterating that the game still had not been cancelled.
Prior to the trademark drama, the last we’d heard of The Last Guardian came several months ago. A statement from Team Ico executive producer Fumito Ueda ran in the Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki PlayStation, offering a new morsel of hope. Ueda said:
“Talks with Sony Computer Entertainment on The Last Guardian have been ironed out, and we’re making progress under completely new conditions.”
Those “new conditions” likely refer to The Last Guardian transitioning from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4 as its target console. Yes, The Last Guardian has officially outlasted a console generation. That’s good news in that it means gamers can get an even better version of the game, running on even more advanced hardware. But it could also mean further delays depending on how much work that transition requires.
With another E3 right around the corner this June, there’s hope once again that this will be the year where Sony has something more to say about The Last Guardian than “it’s still alive.” With the next-gen consoles well established, the E3 spotlight will be back on the games. Perhaps this will finally be the year gamers get a release date for the long-gestating Last Guardian. Or at least some new footage.
The Last Guardian will — presumably — release on PlayStation 4…well, whenever it’s done.