The Last Guardian's Connection to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus

Kindred spirits.

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The Last Guardian's appearance during Sony's press conference meant the world to fans of Fumito Ueda, the iconic Japanese developer who's responsible for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, two pillars of the PlayStation 2's library of games. Will The Last Guardian follow in their footsteps? Ueda certainly thinks so. During a presentation by Ueda earlier this week, he made it perfectly clear that The Last Guardian is, in many ways, a combination of the two games' core design principles: "we tried to take the best of both worlds."

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"We" is important, because beyond Ueda, there are a number of other developers working on The Last Guardian who've also had a hand in designing Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. "This is a collaborative effort between Japan Studio and genDESIGN, where Fumito Ueda is the Creative Director of The Last Guardian," said Ueda's translator. "genDESIGN is a game creation studio that is formed primarily by the original developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus."

This isn't terribly surprising, as The Last Guardian looks like a distant cousin of Team Ico's previous work, with ancient, man-made architecture set in the midst of lush, desaturated landscapes. Even animation peculiarities of the boy, where he moves fluidly, swaying and stumbling with equal parts grace and imbalance, recall memories of Ueda's former hero characters.

"we tried to take the best of both worlds."

To hear Ueda describe the story for The Last Guardian, which is still largely a mystery, deepens the connection to Ico even further. Ueda pointed out that The Last Guardian is "all about a young boy who's been kidnapped under mysterious circumstances." The pair "take an incredible journey together. They encounter ancient ruins. Their ultimate goal is to escape from this environment somehow, and that's for the player to experience as the story unfolds." Details aside, this is broadly the same tale that was told in Ico, where Ico is locked away and he attempts to escape a fortress with Yorda.

Players are expected to read the environment that they're in, to utilize the strengths and weaknesses of each other characters. The boy is weak, but he has a logical mind--your mind. Trico, the hybrid animal, can't be directly controlled--like Yorda--but it obviously possesses greater physical strength than the boy. Finding a solution to the puzzles in The Last Guardian will require equal parts of the boy's mind, and Trico's physicality.

"Looking back," Ueda said, "Ico was more or less about the cooperation between the boy and Yorda. She was a non-playable character, so we've taken elements from that. Looking back at Shadow of the Colossus, he continued, "it was more about the dynamic interaction with the giant creatures."

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Based on the demo at E3, The Last Guardian not only embraces height; it thrives on it to instil emotions into the player that solidify our perception of the symbiotic relationship between the boy and trico. Ueda's translator noted that "Ueda's games always have a sense of height and depth, in Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and in a different way for The Last Guardian. The difference here is that you have Trico there beside you to cling onto as a safety net. It also helps the player overcome the psychological stress when standing on ledges, and to overcome those challenges, therefore leading to a sense of accomplishment." In other words, height is the source of fear and stress, but it's also an opportunity to feel a real sense of relief, something that should be very familiar to fans of Ueda's past work.

Ueda and The Last Guardian have escaped a prison of their own, in a way, resurfacing from the rubble of political strife and years of missteps. To see Ueda appear on stage was the relief that many of his fans were looking for, who for years have feared his absence was a sign that the game was no longer in production. In that sense, perhaps there's a deeper connection to be made. The Last Guardian is, by Ueda's admission, a combination of his past games, but perhaps it's also an allegory for his journey developing the game. Be that true or not, I'm just relieved to see that the game is still alive, and that Ueda is committed to pursuing his vision.

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Avatar image for NaturallyEvil
NaturallyEvil

So it's the next game in the series, and therefore contains themes used previously in the series. Thanks for the informative article, nobody knew that during the 10 years we've spent waiting for the game.

Bonus secret: A high profile game in 2015 is made by a development team, not just one guy. Thanks for clearing that up, I thought that it was the 1980's and one guy was making the big new game for an Atari console.

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313714

Absolutly two of best games I ever played in my whole life was ico and shadow of the collossus

Games that have everything that a game needs:gameplay,music,graphics,story and above all creativity.

About the last guardian I must say it have all but graphics,thats a weak no one can deny...

And this becomes more intersted when you see that those two previous games had lead graphics in their times.

Avatar image for Fade2black001
Fade2black001

@313714: Why is SotC so widely praised. That game is just an over glorified tech demo for the PS2. The story and meaning is so sad and selfish is pretty messed up. You kill these colossi to bring your sister back from the dead. These are peaceful beings and you kill them all so you can have your sister back. That pretty demented if you ask me.

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MAntiSystem

@Fade2black001: The Colossi are not peaceful beings...they are 16 parts of a demon (Dormin) that you release after you destroy each stone body. The priests of the village enslaved 16 parts of Dormin in 16 stone artifacts (the colossi). Wander is promised by Dormin (the voice that talks to Wander) that Mono will come back to life if he destroys the 16 Colossi. It was somewhat of a trick, as Dormin is fully released in the end after Wander destroys the last one, and Dormin is finally pieced back together as a large black demon. Wander is destroyed (but reborn as a horned boy) and Mono (the woman) is resurrected. It is said that she became the Queen that is seen in ICO. This is why the villagers wanted her dead in the first place...because she "had a cursed fate". With such a deep story as this (that ties into ICO), it is easy to see why Shadow of the Colossus is widely praised. You really have to know the story before you make such judgments.

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Fade2black001

@mantisystem: I see. I found the game to be boring though. Thanks for the synopsis.

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TheShofar

@Fade2black001: you obviously didn't beat the game, because that was the whole point. Also I'm kinda going to spoil it though incase you still want to beat it.

After you beat each colossi, these black worm things come out of them, that turn you a darker shade of purple. By the last colossi, wander looks pretty much like a demon himself, while the last colossi was the most human like one of all. This symbolized that the whole time you thought the colossi were the bad guys, you ended up to be the true monster. Both metaphorically, and literally.

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Hydrogenbond

@theshofar: Dayum. Owned.

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JustPlainLucas

It's definitely clear that it's a combination of two worlds. Two very stunning and unique worlds. Cannot wait for this game.

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CptMorgan21

Super excited for this, character moves a little choppy though, hope they make it more fluid

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pa_amb_tomaquet

Fumito Ueda is the Hayao Miyazaki of video games. His games are so magical to play through. Beautiful games to play. Can't wait for this one.

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Geowil

real gamers do not complain about graphics. TLG looks awesome, still playing through ico and soc int the ps3 bundle. if it even channels half of the greatness of those, it will be really good.

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PutASpongeOn

@Geowil: Real gamers play games, complaining or being civil is an irrelevant factor when you considering someone a gamer or not, you're just being petty as well by saying otherwise.

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slickwilly06

@Geowil: Completely agree. If it even delivers half the experience of those games I will buy a ps4 solely for TLG

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Brando008

Absolutely ecstatic for TLG!

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AntiGomez64

People all over the comments are saying the graphics look outdated, What????? Trico the Bird-Dog looks like the most lifelike fictional creature in videogames period, just the way he reacts and moves, Enough whining about fps and resolution and take one second and be truly grateful this game is real again and sooner then we think it will be on store shelves.

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BDRTFM

That may be so but, the quality of the birddogs movements and features underscores the terrible looking child character. The dog looks fluid and sleek. The kid looks like a badly drawn cartoon and moves like a puppet on caffeine pills mixed with tequila. Same for some of the surroundings and set pieces.

I'm not one who puts graphics over gameplay but, the graphics have to be uniform. You can't have great looking set pieces mixed in with meh ones mixed with terrible ones. It just looks odd and, like I said, emphasizes the blandness of the graphics that would otherwise go less noticed.

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xantufrog

@antigomez64: people don't care about artistry, it seems

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BDRTFM

@xantufrog: Like I said, I think its the stark difference between the birddog creature which is fluid in movement and very excellent looking and the kid which just looks very badly done. The feathers on the dog are so well detailed and the kid looks like your typical quick drawn anime toon. It just makes things look odd.

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xantufrog

@bdrtfm: no whimsy allowed? I wasn't bothered by the kid in the least. Thought he was cute.

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BDRTFM

@xantufrog: Oh I wouldn't say it bothers me either. I'm just saying its kind of odd and maybe that's one of the things that's putting people off. I don't mind less than stellar graphics as long as the gameplay is solid. Heck, I still spend a lot of time playing SNES games. They look like crap but they are still a lot of fun.

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Xristophoros

@bdrtfm: i get what you're saying about how the two art styles don't exactly match well... perhaps the kid is a "special being" of sorts and explains why he looks as though he is glowing? or, perhaps it isn't final and his design will change... in either case, i see your point but it is not a deal breaker in the least.

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BDRTFM

@Xristophoros: Maybe. In any event, if a lot of people mention it, its pretty easy to fix. Its just one character. I just think he just needs a bit more detail and some better animations. Its not like I wouldn't play the game if they leave it as is though. If its a solid game, that's all that really matters to me. But it would be nice if they polished it up a bit more.

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TheShofar

@bdrtfm: I thought the contrast of the realistic colossus, and the glowy cartoon kid looked really cool. Like a artistically beautiful complement to each other.

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spartanx169x

@bdrtfm: THIS.

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Larsondir82

I may buy a PS4 this Christmas. seeing that they got some good line ups for their system

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Xristophoros

this game is for SONY fans.

everyone else, need not apply.


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dussan2

@Xristophoros: as a Sony fan, I approve of this statement. I LOVED Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

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Justicar_1

@Xristophoros: That's what I was thinking, Same goes for "Shenmue"

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CptMorgan21

@justicar_1: except shenmue has never been on a Sony console, I don't think

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Justicar_1

@CptMorgan21: I was referring on the only fans part.

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Positive_Gamer

Awesome!

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FuNkAdR0

Oh boy! People complaining about graphics on this kind of game, outdated… It´s not like if it was an abstract painting that you don´t understand even if you look at it for hours or an 8bit thing from Atapuerca.

Da internet this days.

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Justicar_1

@FuNkAdR0: Yes, the internet these days, typically I'd agree with you about the graphics, but this is a first party game and considering the graphical quality of the first party titles they have release for PS4, "Infamous: The second Son" comes to mind, the graphical quality of this game is not on par. It looks like it's running on PS3, I want this game to be really, really good.

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PutASpongeOn

@justicar_1: The guardian is too advanced for ps3.

Anyway infamous second son stands to this day as one of the prettiest current gen games of either console and it compares to the like of just cause 3.

Avatar image for deactivated-58ce94803a170

@FuNkAdR0: Cant blame them, high graphics is PS4's advertising kick. They rave about how good their games look and make fun of games that look worst. Sony should have expected this. This is why graphics are a gimmick, one of the worst gimmicks this industry has ever seen.

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AntiGomez64

@mesome713: Graphics arguments and FPS articles are the downfall of videogames as we know it, to prove this, everyone should take a good long look at their favorite games of all time and I reckon the reason you put those games there was because of story, gameplay, and character NOT graphics.

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FuNkAdR0

@mesome713: They better plug the controller to the TV and try to control people on the news to get real life graphics, ps4 won´t let ‘em.

Jokes apart, you´re right.

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deafwing

Cool.

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kadaverhagga

The demo looked outdated graphically but damn it was nice to see a breath of fresh air in alot of upcoming games. Very interested in this game. The last guardian, the new Rare game, Recore (I think as we only saw CGI) and Horizon are very welcome additions from all the blockbuster action shooters and dudebro games.

I'm especially glad that microsoft announced two new first party ip's and none of them are the typical xbox dudebro game. And letting Rare do what they are good at, pulling them out of that dreadful kinect pit they've been in for years. They should slow down with the Forza games though, they seem to be shovelware nowadays, good quality shovelware but shovelware nonetheless. What is it now, the third game in 2 years? And I doubt there is much new in there apart from new cars and locations. And that forza 6 reveal (or should I say Ford Ad) was awful, utter waste of time, almost enjoyed EA access sales pitch more than that, almost.

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PutASpongeOn

@kadaverhagga: Shhh, broforce is an inspiration. D:

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harharhar69

@kadaverhagga: I don't get the logic on many of the things the kid did. Why would he push that thingy that fell and cause the entire thing to collapse? Things like this bug me.

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Arkhalipso

@harharhar69: I guess you didn't notice that that thing somehow irritated the dog-bird in a magical way, some kind of seal or something, so your pet couldn't walk in front of it.

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harharhar69

@Arkhalipso: I didn't. thanks for pointing that out.

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bpifer311

@harharhar69: The logical assumption for the player is that they could push that thingy to get in position to reach the other part of the platform. It's a tried-and-true design trope. The fact that it doesn't quite work out that way flips that trope on its head.

Avatar image for Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

Still a mystery and still a huge question if it ever comes out.

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