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Recent Articles: The Last Guardian
Sony put on an incredible show during this year’s E3 Expo, debuting new IPs from Guerrilla Games and Media Molecule, as well as offering further glimpses at long-awaited titles such as No Man’s Sky from Hello Games and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End from Naughty Dog. Yet it chose to open its presentation with perhaps the most long-awaited title of all time, The Last Guardian. (more…)
Sony started off their 2015 E3 Press Conference with a bang as their first announcement was the re-announcement of The Last Guardian! First shown over seven years ago, and once thought cancelled, the game has been resurrected, and even has a release window!
A new gameplay video showed off the game’s protagonist and his giant, eagle/dog companion interacting with the environment. The game definitely has an Ico/Shadow of the Colossus feel to it, with (what appears to be) a heavy emphasis on exploration and environmental puzzle-solving.
The Last Guardian is set to release for the PS4 next year.
Sony refuses to give up on The Last Guardian. An “administrative error” forced the publisher to abandon the game’s trademark last month, but the US Patent and Trademark Office has confirmed that a new application for The Last Guardian was filed earlier this week.
Like the last time it happened, these trademark shenanigans don’t mean much for the future of The Last Guardian. The development difficulties experienced by Team Ico have been well documented and rumors of a PS3-to-PS4 conversion have been making the rounds for almost two years. So the status of the game’s trademark application is the least of Sony’s worries at this point.
All this news really tells us is that Sony wants to retain their trademark on The Last Guardian. At the very least, that’s a good sign for the game’s future as it indicates that Sony doesn’t want anyone else to make a claim on the name. But until Sony makes an official announcement about the game’s future, this is just another non-story in the eight-years-in-the-making saga that has been the development of The Last Guardian.
Sony abandons The Last Guardian trademark… again
Believe it or not, Team Ico’s The Last Guardian has been in development for almost eight years now. The PS3 was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young platform when the game first entered production. But with that console’s end-of-life rapidly approaching, fans have long speculated (with an assist from Sony) that when the game is released, it’ll be for the PS4. However, there’s always the possibility that the game will be canceled outright, which is what makes today’s news so worrying.
In an update to The Last Guardian’s trademark status, the US Patent and Trademark Office has confirmed that the game’s trademark has been “abandoned” by Sony. Now, on the surface, this doesn’t mean much. Sony could have decided to change the game’s title (because, let’s face it, the “Last Guardian” name carries a lot of baggage) or the rumored PS3-to-PS4 conversion is taking longer than they thought and somebody forgot to file the proper paperwork. So this could be nothing. OR IT COULD BE EVERYTHING!
For now, I’m siding with nothing. Sony contacted GameSpot this morning and said that the trademark abandonment was an “administrative error” (so, the paperwork thing). It’s possible this is just marketing speak and Sony is too embarrassed to admit the game has been canceled (though, officially, they say it’s still in development), but remember that the publisher abandoned The Last Guardian’s trademark once before before reclaiming it a few days later.
Either way, it got us talking about The Last Guardian again, so… yay?
The Last Guardian was a no-show at this year’s Gamescom convention, and it looks like it won’t be on display at the Tokyo Game Show either. Speaking to Eurogamer, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida confirmed that the game just isn’t ready for a public unveiling:
“Will we see [The Last Guardian] at Tokyo Game Show?” we asked Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida in an interview today.
“I don’t think so,” was his response. “Sorry.”
According to Yoshida, the development team is “making great progress.” They also have a time frame in mind for when they want to re-announce the game, but apparently that time is not now.
And what about those rumors that the game will make the jump to the PS4? Yoshida chose not to comment, but come on, Sony is not going to release a major exclusive like The Guardian solely for the PS3 in 2015 or 2016 or whenever it’ll make its way to store shelves.
What’s going on with The Last Guardian? It was a no-show at this year’s E3 Expo and SCEA President Jack Tretton’s admission that the game was “on hiatus” only stoked the “it’s been canceled!” fires. Thankfully, Shuhei Yoshida, the President of SCE Worldwide Studios, recently spoke to GamesIndustry International and cleared everything up. And you’ll NEVER guess what he had to say.
OK, that’s a lie, The Last Guardian’s final destination should be obvious to everyone by now.
First about that “hiatus.” Yoshida explained that Tretton misspoke and that development on The Last Guardian never stopped. Instead, the “hiatus” referred to its presence at Sony events such as this year’s E3 Press Conference. Considering the fact that The Last Guardian has been MIA for several years now, this answer makes a lot of sense.
But the real news to come out of this conversation is that The Last Guardian may have moved to the PS4. When asked what platform the game was in development for, Yoshida did’t comment either way. He wouldn’t say the game is coming to the PS4, but he also didn’t say it was still in development for the PS3.
What he did say was that the game is being “re-engineered” and that Sony is waiting for the best time to re-reveal it to the world:
“So, we’re waiting for the right time to re-introduce The Last Guardian in an appropriate way. I can’t… Well, the game is in development, and it’s well staffed, and [Fumito Ueda, the game’s Director] is here, working – even though he’s not a Sony employee, he’s dedicated to the product. But we’re not ready to update yet.”
So there you have it. The Last Guardian is still in active development and will be re-revealed someday… probably for the PS4.
Sony: The Last Guardian is “on hiatus”
But what about Team Ico’s The Last Guardian? Jack Tretton, the President of Sony Computer Entertainment America, spoke to Game Trailers and revealed that the game hasn’t been canceled, but that it is “on hiatus.”
“The cool thing about our Worldwide development studios is that we got so many projects out there from so many great teams. Projects never ultimately go away. The Last Guardian is certainly not going away, but it’s on hiatus right now.”
The Last Guardian was originally scheduled for a 2011 release, but development difficulties (including the departure of Director Fumito Ueda from Sony Japan) have pushed the game back time and again. Team Ico’s last game was Shadow of the Colossus, which was released in 2005.
Eurogamer asked Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, about the status of the title during a Gamescom interview. “The team is still working on it very hard. There are certain technical issues they’ve been working on. That’s the period of time when the game, looking from the outside, doesn’t seem to be making much progress. But internally there is a lot of work going into creating the title,” he said.
The game, which was due out last year, seems to be riddled with problems and rumors, especially since Fumito Ueda left Sony Japan. The game has been absent from every major video game event for the last year, much to the disappointment – and wariness – of fans. But the problem, Yoshida said, is a technical one, and has nothing to do with redoing the game for PlayStation 4, or Ueda switching his role to a contractor.
“We had the game playable. At one point we felt that it would be produced for a certain time period. That was the time we prematurely talked about the launch window. But it turned out the technical issues are much harder to solve. So the engineering team had to go back and re-do some of the work they had done,” Yoshida said.
With the PlayStation 4 rumored to be coming out late next year, that gives The Last Guardian a window of a little over a year to come to the PlayStation 3. Perhaps Sony wants it to be the system’s swan song?