The Last Guardian: Mystery Solved
The Last Guardian is a mystery. First revealed in May 2009 and more than four years in the making, we still know very little about it other than a premise of boy and beast, gleamed from a handful of images and two or three trailers. In the summer of 2012, we seem further away from playing The Last Guardian than ever before.
The spiritual successor to ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, it was formally announced at E3 2009 and was followed by a tantalising trailer at Tokyo Game Show later that summer. It has been deathly quiet ever since, as the next season of industry shows passed with little more than a rehashed trailer and talk of a 2011 release. I searched the huge Sony booth at TGS 2010 in hopes of finding a demo or at least some new footage, but like everyone else I left sweaty and disappointed (I'm convinced Sony heats its corner of Makuhari Messe). The following year was no better.
Things would go from bad to worse in late 2011 as the head of team ICO, Fumito Ueda, announced his departure from Sony along with executive producer Yoshifusa Hayama. According to his former employer, Ueda still oversees the project but as an outside consultant. It has also been confirmed that technical support has been sought from other Sony Worldwide studios. Sony has talked about "slow progress", wanting to take their time to ensure a high level of polish, but this is clearly a project in turmoil.
Heading into last week's E3, The Last Guardian was an afterthought. When writing my E3 preview and speaking with friends, not once did Ueda's latest cross my mind. It wasn't until the close of festivities that I was reminded that another major industry event had just passed without so much as a mention of this sought after exclusive. Sony balked at renewed suggestions that it had been scrapped but, if it were still on the cards, then why wouldn’t they have shown a snippet of gameplay, a trailer or even a screenshot that would put an end to the persistent rumours?
There has been much speculation over the last week regarding the current state of The Last Guardian and I thought I might as well join in. After a couple of beers, I think I may have stumbled upon a satisfactory answer. Reading between the lines and liaising with my industry sources, I have uncovered the real reason behind The Last Guardian's perpetual postponement. As the project dragged on, Sony took the opportunity to take a long hard look at the gaming landscape and all they saw were shooters, first and third person, raking in the money. Pigeon-dogs aren't cool, they thought, and who wants to play as a boy in a toga? With Killzone and Resistance falling short, Sony decided that they needed a new FPS series to rival Call of Duty and Battlefield. Thus, The Last Guardian: Boy Shooter was born.
After looking up "dudebro" in his dictionary, Fumito Ueda told Kaz Hirai to shove plans for a revamped Last Guardian up his arse, immediately removing himself from the equation. With the visionary out of the way, Sony were free to hire convicted felons to act as military advisers who will ensure the authenticity of this super realistic shooter, featuring a giant feathered hyena. They decided to keep the boy protagonist, as the innocence of youth makes for an interesting juxtaposition to all the ultra-violence, especially when the nine year old strangulates a Middle Eastern fella with his own intestines (see E3 2013). The griffin is to remain, as a metaphor for blowing stuff up.
This year's E3 further convinced Sony that they had made the right decision, spurred on by a bloodthirsty audience that cheered a man having his face shot off. My sources tell me that Sony is paying close attention to the reaction to Tomb Raider’s inclusion of rape, before deciding whether to include sexual assault in Boy Shooter. Expect LG: BS to hit the PS3 in the spring of 2013. Unfortunately, Sony has forgotten to make a Vita version.
Do you think we’ll ever see The Last Guardian, FPS or otherwise?