The last guardian story and ending explained
The Last Guardian begins with a simple menu screen: a metal disc buried in dirt, and a simple prompt to begin. We see by their shadow a human approaching the object, and then the title screen overtakes the scene. The camera then pans over multiple pages of some sort of nature diary, depicting and naming various species. They begin with simple creatures — birds and giraffes — but then the images become more fantastic — strange lizards and dragons. The last entry shown is of a species named Trico.
Our next view is of a black screen filled with strange symbols. Players must press buttons along the DualShock controller to clear these images and begin. The scene opens to a dark dungeon, where a young boy has just awoken. The narrator, an older version of the boy, explains that he has no idea how he got here, or why his body is covered in strange markings.
Just a bit away lies Trico, a large beast resembling a bird-dog-dragon hybrid. Its face is covered by half a broken metal plate, its once-majestic wings are clipped, and the creature is chained unwillingly to the ground. The boy cannot approach Trico directly, as it’s quite defensive, but he can remove a spear stuck in its leg. After this, Trico kicks in the boy’s direction and sends him flying into a wall. The boy goes unconscious.
He awakens to find a similar scene. A still antisocial Trico lies there, now hungry, and the boy searches around for something to feed it. This species particularly enjoys the strange, semi-glowing barrels strewn around, and the boy delivers a few to the cautious Trico. Once fed, Trico trusts the boy enough to allow him close, and the boy removes another spear from its shoulder. Again, he is bucked off and goes unconscious.
He awakens again, but this time to the nudging of Trico, who has now developed a fondness for the boy. Once he unlatches Trico from its chain, the two begin to search for a way out of the dungeon. It’s not long until the player comes upon a special mirror, which when shined onto an area, will prompt a lightning strike from the tip of Trico’s tail. They use this to break open a wall, and continue out of the cave. Soon, the boy crawls out of a hole to the outside, and bids Trico farewell, saying he must return to his village. Trico refuses to separate however, and bursts through the wall in an attempt to stay with its new friend.
The boy and Trico then begin their journey, or as we’d say, a ten-hour platforming puzzle, to escape these strange ruins. The puzzles begin simply, as the boy learns to call, climb, and direct Trico. We learn that Trico fears the stained glass constructs found among the buildings, and the boy must clear their colorful, eye-like depictions before Trico can move forward. Trico slowly becomes more skilled and trusting as well, learning bolder ways to traverse the environment alongside its companion, gaining the confidence to overcome fears, jump larger distances, or dive underwater.
We learn that this place is Trico’s “nest,” and while your new friend rolls around in some water outside, we catch a glimpse of another Trico creature. This one is still wearing its full face and body armor, and seems notably hostile. It leaves, and the two continue onward.
The duo later comes across a strange room housing a blue, glowing contraption. Shielded by a gate, it visibly makes Trico uneasy. The boy, however, jumps down from a ledge and lands beside it, and a number of enemies are waiting. These enemies, which appear throughout the game, are animated suits of armor that try to grab the boy and drag him into a nearby, magical door. These doors seem to go to some strange, glowing place, and if the boy is taken inside, the player has failed and must restart from the nearest checkpoint.
Trico jumps into the pit to defend the boy and defeats the soldiers, but the blue contraption begins to pulse. Trico is affected by this oddity, being made more aggressive. The player may attempt to calm Trico through petting, the primary mechanic for soothing the beast after fights, but it is of no use. Trico eats the boy whole.
We’re then given flashes of what seems to be memories. They detail violent villagers facing the viewer, as well as scenes of flying through the air and a glimpse of the boy, asleep.
The boy awakens, he is lying next to Trico in the same room, his mirror gone. The beast eventually awakens and the player continues climbing up the ruins. Overtime, they bond through dangerous experiences, each saving the other’s life and achieving new heights through their mutual trust and care.
Eventually, the two climb over a ledge and are met by the hostile, armored Trico beast. It knocks our protagonists down, and they fall violently, eventually landing in one of the first puzzles they faced. They climb out once more, through a new and more dangerous route that involves deep underwater caverns and another encounter with the anti-Trico. Our protagonists find themselves in another room with a caged, blue contraption. Trico eats the boy again, and we’re greeted with a clearer flashback than the one before.
We see Trico, fully winged and armored, approaching a village. It sticks its head gingerly through a window and spots our protagonist, asleep. The boy awakes, and has hypnotically purple eyes, just like Trico.
Trico swallows the boy whole, waking up the rest of the room of children. The village is alerted to the beast, and Trico attempts to free itself from the window as they attack. Its body is pierced by two spears – one to the leg and one to the shoulder. Flying off, it eventually reaches the setting of The Last Guardian, but is struck by lightning and crash lands. The soldiers are seen hauling Trico off to the dungeon, presumably because the beast is damaged.
We return to the present, and Trico is attempting to wake the boy. Its heartbreaking pleas continue as Trico carefully moves the boy into new spots, pawing at him gently yet desperately. The boy finally awakes, and Trico is overjoyed.
They climb once more, reaching the largest tower in the ruins, seemingly the source for all the strangeness going on here. They face many soldiers, though, and the antagonistic Trico returns. The two beasts face off in a distressing battle, violently tumbling down to the bottom of a nearby tower. The boy, though small, finds ways to keep the enemy off his friend, and ultimately knocks the face plate off the enemy, freeing it from its brainwash-induced rampage. It leaves, and the boy nurses the frail Trico back to health. Trico spits out the mirror we lost earlier, and it proves useful in clearing rubble, glass eyes, and attacking soldiers.
Trico soon regains its health and, in an inspiring moment of faith, the ability to fly short distances. The two make their way back to the tower, and once inside, the boy comes upon not only hordes of soldiers, but the controlling power of the island – a floating energy source covered in symbols and sending commands to all the Tricos of the area.
The boy climbs over the blob and unites with Trico at the top of the tower. They contemplate the short flight distance between them and the top of these ruin’s large, barricading wall. Before they can head for freedom, the energy source sends out a distress signal, calling all Trico beasts to the area. We see them approach a statue at the top of the tower, resembling a bird with an open mouth. They release humans from their mouth into this relic, and in return, it spits out a glowing barrel for the beast to eat. It becomes clear that this would have been the boy’s fate had Trico not crash landed and been freed from mind control.
They begin attacking our Trico violently, and the boy makes a desperate rush for the magical mirror that was knocked from his hands. Before he reaches it, he’s swept off the tower and falls onto the back of a flying beast. He clings onto the bucking Trico, through a sky filled with a stunning sunset. They land back on the tower, and the boy reaches his mirror at last.
Before he can use it, the tip of Trico’s tail is ripped off and tossed into the tower’s interior. The boy rushes inside, aims the tail at the floating blob, and uses the mirror to launch an attack that destroys the valley’s controller. The boy is then assaulted in the destruction’s aftermath, strange runes filling the screen as he falls to the ground. The enemies are released from their aggressive trance, and Trico quickly rushes to find its friend. Unable to wake the boy, Trico sadly swallows him and flies out of the basin.
The next scene sees a severely hurt and exhausted Trico crash landing at the boy’s village. While the villagers prepare an attack, Trico spits the boy out in front of them, and nudges him towards those it hopes can help. His peers pick the boy up, but he is unable to move or speak loudly as Trico comes under attack. Eventually, Trico flies off, with someone saying that the beast will likely not live long. The narrator says this is how their extraordinary story ends.
The credits begin to roll, showcasing moments between the two characters over the course of the game. After the credits, however, we are once again looking at the half-buried metal disc. Children surround it in wonder, and an older man covered in symbols approaches — the boy, all grown up and, from the looks of his detailed garb, some sort of leader. He removes the disc from the ground and points it towards the sky. The camera follows its beam across the clouds, back into the ruins, and through deep caves, eventually reaching the dungeon where this all began. We see Trico’s two eyes light up in acknowledgement, and hear a hopeful whinny. A second pair of eyes enters the screen, smaller, dimmer, and closer to the ground. Trico seems to have a companion, perhaps a mate or a child. Though we see no more, Trico seems happy to hear the call of the mirror once more.