Fumito Ueda is clearly a perfectionist. How else to explain the amount of time he's taking to deliver The Last Guardian, arguably the most anticipated title in the PlayStation 3's impressive arsenal of exclusives? Despite having a rabid fan base of both consumers and press, Ueda remains surprisingly shy about showing off The Last Guardian. After years of hands-off, fleeting looks at the game, Ueda finally relented -- though based on his comments, he did so grudgingly.
"There are still so many parts I want to adjust or fix, so quite frankly there was a part of me that didn't want to show the game at all."
Didn't want to show the game at all? Though Ueda and Sony have been extremely sparing in offering up looks at the game, the material that has made it out is breathtaking. Just last month, a fresh batch of The Last Guardian screenshots were released for fans to pour over, revealing the architecture of the Citadel that so clearly recalls the castle in Ico.
When new details for The Last Guardian were made public in February, we learned that the setting would be more contained than the sprawling, desolate landscape that made Shadow of the Colossus such a stark, lonely experience. Ueda is now comfortable enough to expound just a bit more on the setting for The Last Guardian. When asked by CVG whether all of the game would take place in the Citadel, Ueda answered that it would.
"Yes. But it won't all be indoors. There won't be wide open expanses for you to traverse like in SOTC."
Ueda was also coaxed into commenting on some of the other gameplay details that have been made public. For instance, many Team Ico fans (myself among them) were relieved to hear that The Last Guardian will have less combat than Ico. Now we know why. The Last Guardian will have a very different combat mechanic than either Ico or Shadow, and it sounds like the player won't want to get caught alone.
"The player character doesn't have much strength, so it feels perilous when you're alone. You will feel much safer when the Trico is with you."
Finally, Ueda addressed the nature of the puzzles in The Last Guardian. Ico was primarily about exploring and finding your way through the castle, while Shadow of the Colossus focused on discovering how to dispatch the titular Colossi. The Last Guardian takes a different approach. Ueda is understandably cautious about revealing too much, but was willing to give fans a hint.
"...rather than mathematics conundrums or unlocking rooms with keys, there are a lot of analogue puzzles that involve a living animal. There's a lot of variety."
As is always the case with Ueda and The Last Guardian, every little bit of the puzzle we piece together just leaves us desperate to learn more. No date for its North American release has been announced yet, and given the rumor that the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection has been delayed, prospects for a 2011 release of The Last Guardian are looking poor. Still, no matter how long we have to wait, we suspect it'll be worth it. Perfectionist that he is, no one else makes games quite like Fumito Ueda.