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Recent Articles: The Last Guardian
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.
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.
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?
Progress on The Last Guardian is “slow,” Sony not ready to talk about “timing of launch”
There has been a lot of talk about The Last Guardian – GameStop saying it was cancelled and Fumito Ueda leaving Sony Japan are two of the biggest things. But in an interview with Wired, Shuhei Yoshida shed some light on what’s going on with the game.
Yoshida had a lot of good things to say about Ueda. “He’s on top of the game and coming into the office. He could be the person who’s in the office for the longest time. The difference is that he used to be a regular employee. But now we have a contract to define his role. It’s a very special contribution and role that he plays and we agreed, let’s make it more official, more special. That’s the only difference.”
In spite of the progress, it seems that things don’t have the same momentum they had before. “But the progress is slow and sometimes the team has to go back and review things. There’s a vision that we want to realize but it’s very very tough and technical issue that the team is tackling and some plans have to be made to evaluate and go through the process. At one point the progress was great, so we talked about the timing of the launch in the past. But now it’s making progress, but still not to the level — it’s playable, but not to the point that we can talk about the timing of launch.”
This is a bit discouraging, especially for those of us who definitely want to see the game released, like, next quarter (if not next week). That’s definitely not happening. And it sounds like “sometime in 2012″ is no longer a sure thing either. However, my favorite part of the interview with Yoshida was this:
Wired: I’ve heard that people from Sony Santa Monica have gone to Japan to work in tandem, collaborate with the Japan team on this game.
Yoshida: Did you read it on the internet?
Ha! Burn. No, but Sony Santa Monica really is helping with the development of The Last Guardian.
According to a bunch of gamers chiming in all over the Internet, as well as Destructoid (who posted a recording of the call), The Last Guardian has been cancelled. GameStop has been calling to let people who pre-ordered the game know that publisher Sony has contacted them and told them it was cancelled.
Coming on the heels of Fumito Ueda leaving Sony Japan, this is not all that surprising, but it is certainly devastating. I guess Ueda was not as committed as Sony thought he was. Or hopefully, this is just a rumor, or a miscommunication. Or something. Christmas is this week! You can’t cancel Last Guardian!
UPDATE: Sony has informed IGN that The Last Guardian is not cancelled. Furthermore, GameStop issued a correction, stating the calls were due to the game being removed from their system due to its lack of a release date.