It seems like it’s been ages since we first laid eyes on Team ICO’s big E3 teaser/trailer for The Last Guardian. That was back in 2009. Fast-forward about three years and that very trailer is still all we’ve really seen of Fumito Ueda’s newest baby. Information about the game’s development and release has been scant, basically to the point where there has been a lot of talk amongst fans that the title won’t ever see the light of day. I was dying to see a glimmer of hope at this year’s E3, but still no dice.
Ueda, who left Team ICO and is staying on to finish the game on a freelance basis, has admitted that this project is a huge undertaking for ICO’s small team. But when we last heard news of its progress, it was said that SCEA and SCEE were going to be stepping in to lend them a hand with finishing it. Good news, right?
Well, today we were given somewhat reassuring (albeit vague) information regarding the game when Sony’s Scott Rohde told GameSpot, “I will not give you a detailed update, but I will say one thing. It goes back in my mind to innovation and to gamers and to quality. That title is going to ship when it is absolutely ready.”
He went on to say, “I think that’s a really important thing to remember, that it would be very easy to ship a game when it’s not quite ready because we need to meet a business plan. Gamers are first. And the experience that we provide is first. And that’s why we’re going to talk about that game when we’re ready to talk about it.”
“Wait, what’s that you said, Brandon? ‘Somewhat reassuring’ news?” Maybe not the best choice of words if you’re a skeptic, but as much as I love Team ICO and both of their amazing past titles, I’ve got to take a glass-half-full approach here. That being said, the more pessimistic crowd would be completely justified in considering Rohde’s words to be code for “the game is dead in the water.” The only reason I find it “reassuring” on any level is the mere fact that this news comes in an age when set-in-stone release dates and immovable launch schedules seem to take precedence over putting out a quality product. “11/11/11” ringing a bell, anyone?
In my best grandpa voice, “Sonny boy… back in my day, they’d delay a game’s release if it wasn’t ready. Those were the days… when you got a quality product from the start, and not all this ‘we’ll patch it later’ business. I tell ya, kids these days…”
The very thought of a non-release makes me shudder. As we all know, the PS3 is nearing the end of its lifespan, and this title could easily be the console’s swan song; much in the same way that God of War 2 with its astonishing visuals was regarded as the PS2’s swan song. The whole reason I wanted a PS3 (and I think I speak for a good sized chunk of Sony fans when I say this) was to see two games: God of War 3, and Team ICO’s third project. Time is winding down and only one of those has come to fruition. Hopefully the second will grace us with its presence this year or the next.