Join me on a trip through time. It’s 2009, the world is mourning the death of Michael Jackson, everyone’s terrified of Swine Flu, and Kanye West has been acting like such a douchebag that even President Obama has called him a “Jackass”. The world of video games also saw the release of many great games including Uncharted 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Assassin’s Creed 2, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. As great as these games were, one game in particular was announced in 2009 that had every PlayStation gamer excited. That game was Team Ico’s The Last Guardian.
Both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are considered by many to be two of the best games on the PS2 and perhaps even two of the best games ever made. Not only were they filled with great gameplay, minimalist style storytelling, and distinct graphics, but they also showed us that games could indeed be art and take us on emotional journey’s we’d never forget. Safe to say then, that news of Team Ico’s latest game got a lot of gamers excited.
Fast forward six years and we’re all still waiting. Supposed release dates have come and gone and yet it seems we’re no closer to playing The Last Guardian than we were in 2009. The PS3 has had lots of exclusive titles like Infamous, God of War 3, and The Last of Us, but The Last Guardian, is still missing. What went so wrong?
At first it seemed that progress on the game was coming along nicely as a second trailer was released. In 2010 the game was again shown at the Tokyo Game show along with the news that both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus would be being re-released as an HD collection on the PS3. At this point the game was expected to be released in 2011 and It was hinted at that the HD collection of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus would feature a demo for The Last Guardian, but this never came to pass.
By February 2011, the game’s director and lead designer behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda stated that the game was still due to be released in 2011 and that he was currently working on the finer details of the game, such as what would be included in the HUD. A short time later, the cracks started to appear in The last Guardian’s development.
Fumito Ueda publicly announced that he would be leaving Sony in December but that he would continue to help develop The Last Guardian. The game’s executive producer, Yoshifusa Hayama also announced his departure from Sony and it’s not clear if he is still helping with the game. All was quiet until February 2012 when the president of SCE Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida stated that work on the game was still in progress but that it was slow. Sony had their Santa Monica team assist in helping the game’s development. Despite this, The Last Guardian failed to appear at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo and when asked about this, Yoshida explained that the game was experiencing technical difficulties.
In 2013 it was confirmed that the game was still in development and industry rumours indicated that the game is now due to be released on the PlayStation 4. Sony has since stated that it is waiting for the right time to re-introduce the game. Shortly before E3 2014, IGN incorrectly reported that the game had been canceled. Sony was quick to refute this story and IGN retracted the news. Sony stated that Ueda has created something special and that it will be released when it’s ready.
February 2015 began with rumours flying that Sony had canceled the game after it was found that they had failed to renew the trademark of the game. Sony denied these rumours saying it was simply an administrative error.