The Last Guardian and Team Ico Collection TGS 2010 Impressions
Team Ico offers up some new information on its upcoming title as well as the HD remakes of its two previous games.
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Our most recent look at The Last Guardian was at Tokyo Game Show 2009 when Sony and Team Ico showed off some new footage to the press in an appointment that was more about discussing the game than showing it in action. One year later and we're back in the same situation; we've yet to see a proper gameplay demo of this highly anticipated title from the studio behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, but at the very least we've been able to see some new video and get a few updates from the developer. And as an added bonus, we were shown a quick demo of the HD remake of Shadow of the Colossus that will be bundled along with Ico in an updated greatest-hits collection next year.
First, a quick primer for anyone not familiar with The Last Guardian. Announced last year, the game stars a small boy and a massive bird-cat hybrid called the Trico. The game explores the relationship between these two characters and is set in a mysterious world of seemingly classical ruins and muted colors, similar to those we've seen in Team Ico's previous works. The new trailer, which debuted earlier today at a Japanese-language Sony press conference, was a more jovial, upbeat video than the trailer that leaked prior to last year's E3. It featured an upbeat soundtrack with plenty of woodwind instruments, and we saw scenes of the boy and the Trico playing with one another, exploring the environment with some platforming and even engaging in some combat with what appeared to be armored knights of some kind.
Outside of showing this new video, game director Fumito Ueda offered up some new pieces of information in a discussion of the game that was probably a little vaguer than most in attendance had hoped for. First, he wanted to dispel the notion that this game will inevitably feature a sad ending. Instead, Ueda said that it's more "open ended" than previous games he has made, which seems to suggest the possibility for multiple endings depending on what the player does.
In terms of story, Ueda mentioned that the game begins with the boy and the Trico in a much more uneasy relationship than the trailer everyone had just been shown. He said that you'll begin the game in a "rigid" and "unfriendly" relationship before eventually coming together as companions. From there, Ueda didn't want to explore the game, but it seems fair to assume that outside forces and enemies of some kind will come along and put your relationship to the test.
On the subject of why we've heard so little on The Last Guardian since it was first announced, Ueda defended the relative quiet by mentioning that this game is being developed quite a bit differently from the studio's previous two titles. Whereas Ico and Shadow were both begun with the research and development phases kicking off right as the game design got under way, The Last Guardian started with the initial planning phase well before the team got to designing the game. Therefore, there was still a lot of work to be done after all the abstract concepts and basic outline had been decided on. As Ueda said, the team has been in "crunch mode" for some time now.
Though we didn't get a whole lot of information on The Last Guardian, we did get some pretty concrete information on HD remakes of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus that have been rumored about for a while now. Yes, Team Ico is indeed working on an updated bundle of the two games scheduled to arrive next spring. And as it turns out, The Team Ico Collection (Sony doesn't have an official title for the bundle yet, so that's what we're calling it for simplicity's sake) is not merely an HD remake of the two games; they'll both offer full 3D support as well.
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In terms of changes to the games, Ico will feature the European ending rather than the US one (which Ueda was never happy with, calling the European version "the complete game"), while Shadow of the Colossus will supposedly be remedied of the inconsistent frame rate that plagued the PlayStation 2 version. Ueda was very specific when he said that the PlayStation 3 will allow Shadow to run at a steady 30 frames per second as the studio originally intended it to. We were shown a live demo of the Shadow remake, and it certainly seems that the game is running smoothly. Ueda also pointed out that Shadow features completely redone textures to go along with the bump up to HD resolutions. Though it was hard to get a sense of the visual fidelity since the game was being shown on a projector, it looked quite good for being a half-decade-old PlayStation 2 title.
So far, the trailers for The Last Guardian have us optimistic about what the full game will entail, and it's great to see The Team Ico Collection officially confirmed with 3D support to boot. But at this point, we're more eager than ever to see and play The Last Guardian. Hopefully we'll have the chance to do that soon, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for more Tokyo Game Show 2010 coverage coming your way.