When The Last Guardian was first announced for the PlayStation 3, I was ecstatic. Shadow of the Colossus is one of my all time favorite games, and hearing that Team ICO was developing another game in the same vein had me excited. However, while the development cycle has come up, it has also gone back down; The Last Guardian seems stuck in Limbo. Development has been rocky, and some would have forgotten the game if not for the reminders that Sony drops every once in a while that the game is still being worked on.
Development for The Last Guardian was first revealed in 2007, in the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu through a one page advertisement. Then, in early 2008, Team ICO put out a job listing looking for talented members to join their team for a then unnamed project. This single image accompanied the listing:
It was not until 2009 that The Last Guardian came up again. In May 2009, a trailer for The Last Guardian leaked online, then code-named Project Trico. The trailer featured the two main characters: a young defenseless boy and the giant creature that will accompany him in the game. It was soon after, at E3 that June, that Team ICO officially revealed The Last Guardian, with a trailer that contained footage from the leaked trailer. Team ICO revealed little in terms of gameplay, but it was known that there would be interaction between the boy and the creature, which would factor into puzzles. Team ICO announced the game to be a PS3 exclusive, but did not receive a release date at the time.
In early 2010, Fumito Ueda teased that there would be more information on The Last Guardian by the end of the year. That year, the game was absent from E3, leaving some wondering on the status of the game. No news came until September, at TGS, when Team ICO announced a release window of the Holiday of 2011. The game looked like it was on track, as Team ICO demonstarted live demos of the game. Excitement built as the game was on track for release.
In April 2011, Team ICO delayed The Last Guardian, promising to give a release date at a later time. Then, in late 2011, the game was hit with two huge blows. First, executive producer Yoshifusa Hayama departed from the studio. Then, creator and director of The Last Guardian, Fumito Ueda, left Sony. Ueda promised that the game would continue in production, and that he was still involved in making sure that it did release. Amidst rumors of cancellation, production continued.
Throughout 2012, Sony kept promising gamers that The Last Guardian is still in production. Recently (yesterday in fact), Sony’s Scott Rohde stated in a conversation with IGN that The Last Guardian “…is still a title that’s absolutely in the mix at Worldwide Studios… It’s really cool that people are still interested in it, and we’re trying to make the best thing we can out of The Last Guardian.”
While it is hopeful that The Last Guardian is still in production, it is starting to get a little doubtful. Even though the game is supposedly in production, there have been no new details in over a year. Part of me is hoping that Sony’s big reveal at this year’s E3 will be a next-gen version of The Last Guardian as they did with Final Fantasy Versus XIII (now Final Fantasy XV), along with a release date. Another part of me is fearful that Sony will one day announce that The Last Guardian is canceled. As The Last Guardian sits in the video game Limbo, one wonders if it will be the next anticipated title with a definite release, or another game lost in development.