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The Last Guardian: What We Know, What We Don't Know

It's almost here, but a lot of The Last Guardian remains shrouded in mystery. Here's what we know, and what we're still waiting to learn. 

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Seven years, multiple headlines, delays, and controversies later, and The Last Guardian is finally, finally set to release on PS4 this month. After a years-long development cycle, it’s easy to lose a lot of the information about the game into the ether. Allow us to catch you up as we near its release.

What is The Last Guardian?

The Last Guardian is a game developed by Team Ico, the development crew behind the standout PS2 games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Both known for being innovative and inventive with mechanics and storytelling techniques, Team Ico is held in high esteem by many for its prowess in creating emotional stories.

A lot of details surrounding its plot remain unknown, but it centers on a young boy and his mysterious relationship to a griffin-like creature named Trico. Working together, both the boy and the griffin make their way through a mess of ruins, navigating obstacles and avoiding occasional armored guards. The ties to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, if any, also remain unknown.

The DNA of both previous games is evident, however. The world of The Last Guardian is vibrant, fantastical, and distinct, recalling a similar look and feel to Shadow of the Colossus. The boy can also climb onto Trico, much like the hero of SotC was able to scale colossi in order to take them down. Like Ico, amidst its exploration and environmental puzzles, it also focuses heavily on maintaining and building the relationship between two sympathetic characters. 

Development History

The Last Guardian was announced and debuted back at E3 2009. Since then, it was delayed to 2011, then to 2012, was put on hiatus in 2013, and finally showed up again during E3 2015, when it was announced to have jumped from PS3 to PS4. Later, it would be announced to release in October 2016, but would then be delayed one last time to December 6, 2016 in the United States.

During that time, both the project’s director Fumito Ueda and one of the producers, Kenji Kondo, left the project in some form. Ueda left Sony, but reportedly continued work on it on a contract basis, while Kondo outright left. Throughout the tail end of its development, Sony's Shuhei Yoshida repeatedly confirmed it was still in development over the course of several interviews. 

What Can We Expect?

Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m skeptical, simply because games do not tend to age well, and a game that was announced during the height of the PS3 will undoubtedly have some aged aspects to it in 2016. There’s also the chance that elongated hype and perception could ultimately color people’s opinions of it. It has, after all, been an elusive figure for nearly a decade, much like Final Fantasy VS XIII and Final Fantasy XV.

But there’s also the chance that, after its brief hiatus, project overseers doubled down on making sure it reflected the best of Team Ico and its longtime notoriety as a prominent and accomplished developer. It does look like they're evoking a similar style and feel to the previous games, but it's difficult to gauge how faithful it will be without any extensive hands-on time. We aren’t likely to find out until its release on December 6th.


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