The respective answers weren’t surprising: pretty damn good, and apparently not. The Last Guardian’s failure to show up wasn’t the keynote’s biggest disappointment; Square-Enix won that contest by teasing the highly-demanded Final Fantasy 7 remake only to reveal a straight port of the original PS1 title. Still, The Last Guardian was the most notable story due to its absence.
After all, the game is the latest project from Team Ico and executive producer Fumito Ueda, whose critically-acclaimed Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are two of the most respected games of all time. Gamers haven’t seen footage of the title since 2011; it was first announced in 2009, and has been in development since 2007. Every few months, Sony representatives are forced to answer the same question: is The Last Guardian ever actually releasing?
According to a statement in Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki PlayStation, Ueda certainly thinks so. When asked to share some thoughts on the titles he worked on in 2014, Ueda offered a small confirmation that all hope is not yet lost:
“Talks with Sony Computer Entertainment on The Last Guardian have been ironed out, and we’re making progress under completely new conditions.”
Ueda didn’t elaborate on what exactly those “new conditions” are, leading to rampant speculation on Twitter and online forums. The prevailing theory is that The Last Guardian has moved from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4, which at this point seems a guarantee, with the PS3 on its way out (and despite Sony’s protests, the Vita doesn’t exactly feel like the company’s top priority). Ueda previously claimed that The Last Guardian would push the PS3 “to its limit,” and shifting the title’s development to a more powerful platform could help Team Ico better realize their creative vision.
But there’s another possibility, too: Ueda could be talking about his personal working conditions and his relationship with Sony and Team Ico. Ueda officially left Sony in 2011, and while he didn’t stop working on The Last Guardian, he was doing so as a “freelance contributor,” not the game’s credited producer or director. Not only could Ueda mean there was some sort of personal issue to resolve, but in the same article went on to say that he was “also working on some other things,” indicating that The Last Guardian might not be his primary focus at the moment.
The statement’s vague to begin with, and its ambiguity is made worse by the fact that it’s a translation from the original Japanese. Without knowing the specifics of Ueda’s current relationship with Sony, it’s probably best not to leap to conclusions.
All gamers know is that The Last Guardian is – somewhere, somehow – still in production, and that, hopefully, they’ll get to play it some day in the future.