It’s tough to write a “best games ever made” list without mentioning “Ico” or “Shadow of the Colossus,” the only two major games published by Team Ico, a small Japanese development studio led by the visionary game designer Fumito Ueda.
Team Ico’s third game, “The Last Guardian,” which is one of the best-looking games at E3 this year, was actually announced at E3 six years ago.
Like Ueda’s previous works, which are both minimalist in design but epic in scale, “The Last Guardian” showed off a simple premise: A boy and his big friend — a giant griffin, which looks like a cross between a hyena and a pigeon — living together and helping each other survive and solve puzzles.
This was the trailer that debuted in 2009:
But with no updates since that initial trailer, many doubted this game would ever see the light of day. And then, Sony used “The Last Guardian” to kick off its E3 press conference on Monday night. The crowd roared when they saw this trailer, embedded here below
Despite the six-year difference, both trailers look relatively similar. So why the massive delays?
Shuhei Yoshida, Sony’s head of game development, revealed to Kotaku that the game revealed at E3 2009 was not a true representation of the actual game.
“There were lots of technical issues,” Yoshida said. “The game was not performing at speed. The video we showed, the trailer on PS3, was specced up. The game was running at a much lower frame rate. Some features were still missing. So it was clear that the team had to make a compromise in terms of features and number of characters.”
As Team Ico struggled to improve the performance of their game, which was super time-consuming, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4. By 2012, Team Ico realised the only way to achieve what they wanted from “The Last Guardian,” in terms of visuals and gameplay, was to start building for the next-generation console.
Now, three years after Team Ico helped “The Last Guardian” make the leap from PS3 to PS4, the adventure game is one of the darlings at this year’s E3.
“We have a certain level of confidence about the launch window,” Yoshida said, “which is why we showed it.”