The Last Guardian still releasing this year, new gameplay details revealed
It has been confirmed by Edge magazine that Fumito Ueda’s The Last Guardian will still be released this year following speculation that it had been delayed it again.
In the latest issue, Edge reconfirmed that the long-awaited follow-up to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus will be released in 2016, with game director Fumito Ueda saying: “Since this is the year we will see the game’s release, I do have some worries, but I’m also very excited.”
The magazine also managed to go hands-on with a demo of the game, with their resulting preview revealing numerous new gameplay details. Edge reports that one of the main mechanics is that the human boy wields a mirror shield that has various uses, writing: “Holding circle ‘illuminates’ the device, shining what is ostensibly an ornate crosshair onto any surface it’s aimed at… [Trico] can fire a devastating beam of red lightning from its tail, and will direct this power wherever we point the mirrored shield.”
In the demo, this mechanic was used to solve environmental puzzles, with “one involving the destruction of a rock face, the other the disintegration of a wooden wall.”
The magazine also expanded on the character of Trico, the enormous griffin-like creature that acts as a companion to the human boy. Edge described Trico as “free-spirited creature that flagrantly disregards your attempts to tame it,” with Ueda adding his worry that perhaps players may find working with the creature frustrating. “It would be a lie to stay that I have no worries,” he told the magazine. “But another game where you can completely control a creature wouldn’t be enjoyable for me because there are a lot out there where you can do that. I think I’ve had enough of them.”
As the game progresses and the duo overcome more obstacles, the relationship between the human boy and Trico will strengthen — making the creature more responsive to requests.
In a later part of the article, Trico’s nature is fully illustrated: “One area a little later in the demo sees us emerge high up from the wall of a huge cave that holds an underground lake. We immediately take the opportunity to leap into the clear water below, diving underneath the surface and exploring the muffled underwater world for a time. On resurfacing, we find Trico timidly pawing at the edge of the drop, refusing to jump. It is, after all, part cat.”
Ueda discusses Trico too, touching upon his purpose within the game: “This creature isn’t like the cute pets that exist in other games, or an ally that’s really useful. The role of the creature is ambiguous; that’s something we wanted to express in the game, and it doesn’t always do what you ask it to do. That’s one of the themes of The Last Guardian. It’s something that’s difficult, and completely different. I want to create the next thing – an experience that people have never had before.”
The magazine expanded on the concept of Trico being a fully independent character, with Ueda saying: “The amount of code is very large compared to AI in conventional games. We’ve given this creature its own desires, so depending on what action it wants to take, that affects everything, including its animation. It’s not like a normal humanoid character.”
The Last Guardian will be released sometime this year on PS4, with a release date hopefully being announced during Sony’s press conference at E3. The game has been in development for over 8 years, initially being announced for PlayStation 2.
“It was quite difficult for me to keep my motivation up,” said Ueda when asked about the length of development. “But my other game shave also had long development periods, so in that sense, I think I’ve been able to keep my motivation quite high.”