I’m still finding it somewhat surreal that I now live in a world where I have played and completed The Last Guardian. During the seven or so years it took this game to see the light of day, the title had almost taken on a mythical quality; what we saw during those development years felt like trailers for a game that had become lost in time and the perpetual generational shifts of console hardware. In a lot of ways, The Last Guardian had become lost in time: development started in 2007; it was unveiled in 2009; it then disappeared for so long people thought it’d been quietly canned; and then finally it was re-announced for the PlayStation 4. Development was so slow and difficult that The Last Guardian literally missed an entire console generation.
Team ICO created two masterpieces for the PlayStation 2: the almost self-titled ICO and the cult hit Shadow of the Colossus. During the arduous development of The Last Guardian, Team ICO suffered internal problems. Creative director Fumito Ueda ended up leaving, but later returned on a consultative basis to assist Japan Studio in finishing up the game. He resumed under a new studio label, genDESIGN. Much of Team ICO made the move with him, so despite the tumultuous development and lack of Team ICO on the box of The Last Guardian, it’s essentially the same team, just bolstered by SIE Japan Studio. That means the DNA of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus is still everywhere to be seen in The Last Guardian, and that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to be able to write.