The lights are on
Team Ico's The Last Guardian recently delivered a double
dose of disappointment to gamers – first when it did not appear at E3 as
rumored, and later when Sony's Jack Tretton said the game was on hiatus. There
have been rumors that the oft-delayed game is being moved to the PlayStation 4,
and while I don't know if this is true or not, it needs to happen.
A console switch for the game would surely mean more delays
-– as it probably has already – but this could benefit the game. Beyond the
fact that it could take advantage of the PlayStation 4's tech (from the
controller to the graphics and more), developer Team Ico simply needs to put as
much time as it needs to make the game good. If the end product is sterling, it
will have been worth it in gamers' eyes. And make no mistake about it – given
its history, this game needs to be an uncontested home run.
Although a game's quality is not related to its sales
numbers, marketing it correctly so it sells to its maximum potential is
important for all parties involved: the game itself, the developer, the
publisher, the overall PlayStation brand, and the system it's on. Moving the
game to the PlayStation 4 would give it a new marketing/PR life (away from the
possible benefits to the game itself listed above) and change the conversation
away from its delays back to one of anticipation. There would certainly be some
PlayStation 3 owners who would be angry at the switch since it would
necessitate them buying a PS4 perhaps before they were planning on it, but with
all due respect to those who have been waiting faithfully for the game to come
out for the PlayStation 3, The Last Guardian's best days are undoubtedly ahead
of it and not behind.
From a sales standpoint, The Last Guardian is a
niche/hardcore-focused game, and as such is more likely not to pick up many casual
fans – especially on the PlayStation 3. That console will have a bigger
installed base than the PS4 when the game comes out, but your average person
who may not have heard of the title is more likely to notice it on the
relatively new PlayStation 4 than the old horse that is the PS3. And their eyes
may be more wide open to buying it for the system while it's still new and
While it's not necessarily The Last Guardian's job to carry
water for Sony or the PlayStation 4, a move to the system, a strategic release
where it has a chance to succeed, and hopefully strong sales elevates the
PlayStation brand, which can reinforce the title later on via a positive
synonymous association with the console. For instance, a title like Journey is
helped by an association with the PS3 and vice versa. Besides, as unseemly as
it may sound to talk about sales numbers, they are what ultimately decide
whether a series continues.
The Last Guardian deserves to rise or fall on its own merits
as a game first and foremost. But given its turbulent history, it also deserves
a chance to be judged fairly, free of the baggage of its past. A fresh start on
the PlayStation 4 is the best way to make this happen.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.