The lights are on
The recent release of the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection for PS3 has us experiencing two distinct emotions. We’re reveling in a high definition nostalgia trip with two amazing PS2 titles, but we’re also yearning for new information on Team Ico’s new upcoming adventure, The Last Guardian. Unfortunately, no new info emerged on the game at TGS 2011. Because we assume you’re as eager as we are for some Last Guardian coverage, we’re bringing you something you may have missed. Check out Annette Gonzalez’s preview on the game which was originally published in issue #211 of Game Informer.
It’s been nearly a decade since gamers first felt the emotional bond between a young boy with horns and a mysterious girl as they traversed a world overrun by shadows. Though Ico wasn’t a blockbuster, critics were awestruck by its minimalist design and unique visual style that blurred the line between video games and art. The cult hit led to the development of spiritual successor Shadow of the Colossus, which further carried on the theme of companionship and testing the morally questionable lengths to which one man would go to save a lost love. Shadow is considered by many to be one of the greatest PlayStation 2 games of all time. Team Ico’s upcoming next-gen effort, The Last Guardian, follows the colossal footsteps of its predecessors. Players will witness a boy and a mystical creature develop an unbreakable bond as we discover which of the two is the true guardian.In the early teaser trailer of the game that debuted a year ago, the camera pans into an ancient structure housing a dormant beast within. A young boy curiously examines the unidentifiable creature from behind a pillar and carefully tiptoes in its direction. When the boy gently pets the beast’s head, suddenly the feathered feline rolls over to expose its talons, props itself up, and playfully scratches behind its ear with its hind leg.
Team Ico has been tight-lipped about The Last Guardian over the past year since its reveal last E3, leaving many questions unanswered regarding the duo’s relationship and the identity of this mysterious creature. Now that the team has completed its research and development and locked down the core gameplay elements, director Fumito Ueda and Team Ico are now ready to let us delve deeper into this mysterious new world.
Gameplay videos of The Last Guardian showcase the heartwarming
interaction between the boy and the huge creature, which we now know as
the Trico. Throughout the boy’s journeys, the cat/bird hybrid assists the boy onto high platforms, rescues him when he slips off ledges, and destroys guards who threaten the boy with the force of its talons. The boy expresses his gratitude toward the Trico with a friendly, tender caress. Ueda says this type of harmonious relationship is something the player must work to achieve, as when they first meet the boy ruffles the Trico’s feathers.
Part of team ico’s inspiration for building The Last Guardian around the dynamic relationship between a boy and an animal character was the powerful emotional impact the relationship between Wander and his horse Agro had on players in Shadow of the Colossus. While Ueda has yet to explain how the boy finds the animal bound in chains, we’re told the Trico is initially confused by the young boy and will not always respond to commands until the boy can gain its trust. Rather than adopt a fictional language as its predecessors Ico and Shadow of the Colossus did, in the Last Guardian the boy communicates with the Trico by calling its name or attracting its attention with a barrel or other object of interest. Getting the creature to follow instructions will present a challenge to the player in the game’s stages, but the Trico will warm up to the boy as the story develops.
Team Ico didn’t reveal any of the core story elements, such as why this unlikely duo is teaming up or what they are trying to accomplish, but the developers did open up about their level design and gameplay philosophy for the project. The Last Guardian’s level designs are very vertical, so in order for the duo to progress, they must cooperatively solve puzzles to make their way up a dilapidated, ancient structure. For instance, if the boy needs to access a room that is out of his reach, he must lure the Trico into a position that will allow him to climb its back. To do so, the boy must toss a barrel onto the level above, which piques the Trico’s interest. As it walks toward the
barrel to investigate, the boy has an opportunity to climb onto its back and successfully leap toward the platform above. The boy and the Trico are traversing an aged, crumbling structure, so environments dynamically change depending on your actions. This causes puzzles to increase in complexity as you progress.
Ueda won’t reveal many more specifics on The Last Guardian, which isn’t surprising. Anyone familiar with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus knows that the developer offers very little information to the player, leaving the overall experience up to interpretation. In fact, Ueda says part of the reason the team chose the title The Last Guardian is because it can be construed in many ways. Is the last guardian going to be the boy or the Trico? We won’t find out until it releases next year.
Read our review of the fantastic Ico & Shadow of the Colossus collection here.
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
i saw some new footage on the team ico collection. this game is going to be a masterpiece i can tell. team ico is an amazing developer. replaying sotc now. its reminded me that it is probably one of the top 10 best games ever made.
I would trade all of the a list games I plan on playing when they r released 4 a chance 2 play the last guardian right now. This is my most anticipated game of the near future.
I have to be honest this was incredibly disappointing, I clicked the link hoping for new info instead I got an old article I've read numerous times. All in all I am stoked for this game and really want to get the SotC and ICO collection.
Oh! OMG! Do want!
its never coming out lol
So stoked for this.
Day one purchase. Actually, I think my preorder is paid in full.
This game can't come soon enough, and reading this isn't helping!
I like what I'm seeing. It's another one of those games that are completely original which I usually end up picking up.
Thank you Gameinformer... I needed some reassurance that this game was going to see the light of day, and you definitely sold me on that.
Looks gorgeous! Can't wait for the unique gameplay experience.