Against all odds, Sony pulled Team Ico’s AWOL adventure title The Last Guardian from the twilight zone on Monday evening, re-revealing the mystical game to the PlayStation masses and confirming a PS4 release for 2016 all in one fell swoop.
But behind the show-stopping, hair-raising announcement, there’s the story of the game’s prolonged development – one riddled with trials and tribulations. For the first time, Sony’s own Shuhei Yoshida opened up about the beleaguered creative process lurking behind The Last Guardian‘s ethereal aesthetic, charting a path from the game’s announcement in 2009 to two years later.
“In 2011 the progress became super slow. There were lots of technical issues. The game was not performing at speed. The video we showed, the trailer on PS3, was specced up. The game was running at a much lower frame rate. Some features were still missing. So it was clear that the team had to make a compromise in terms of features and number of characters so while they were taking time, the engineering team ported the code on the SPU [processors of the PS3] to improve the performance, but it was taking lots of time.”
As progress was stunted, it wasn’t long before Team Ico began to eye up the PlayStation 4 as a worthy successor to the PlayStation 3, a platform where the dev could truly realize its vision.
“But, in the meantime PS4 arrived, the development environment was available. So in 2012 it became apparent we should move it to PS4 to achieve the visual [ideal.]”
Currently on course for a release in 2016, we’ve already seen some of the high-res screenshots from THAT gameplay demo, showcasing the griffin-like Trico protecting the young buy as the explore some ancient ruins. According to Yoshida, The Last Guardian is “totally playable” at the time of going to press, and looks forward to revealing more closer to release.
“The game is totally playable. We have a certain level of confidence about the launch window, which is why we showed it.”
Sony’s overhanging Half-Life 3-esque white whale is finally out in the open: The Last Guardian will lumber onto PlayStation 4in 2016.