Sony gave The Last Guardian the honorable pleasure of starting its E3 2015 press conference this week. The decision worked well in leaving the audience shattered as they saw what was thought to have been scrapped a long time back.
It took a while to drain the excitement and awe from watching the short gameplay footage. At the end I realized that even after a difficult seven-year development timeline, The Last Guardian is still running on hype alone.
The biggest challenge games have to face is being able to deliver excellence that matches the legendary status bestowed upon them with time. The Last Guardian’s E3 2015 appearance was, for me, just Sony reminding us that it is looking forward to keeping an old promise.
It brings me to the question as to whether the reveal of The Last Guardian could have been better. What could Sony have done more to guarantee that the woeful days of The Last Guardian are now behind us, and all that remains in front is a fulfilling experience.
Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida had Creative Director Fumito Ueda take a standing ovation from within the crowd following the trailer’s reveal, which incidentally also had his name front and center. It was all to ensure fans that Ueda is still backing the game, even though he parted ways with the team in late 2011.
In a private demonstration conducted behind closed doors, Ueda played the same demo we saw during Sony’s conference. With a translator at hand, he explained how the creature Trico meets with the young boy, and how both decide on escaping the ruins together.
Apart from that, Ueda touched upon no other specifics. Even though he mentioned the game having a more central role than ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, he refused to answer any questions relating to the game’s narrative and connection to previous titles. You would think after seven years, Sony would be more open about the game with us.
In the end, Ueda made a rather surprising statement. The Last Guardian is pegged for a release in 2016. Ueda, however, stated that he “hoped” to see the game release next year.
We very much appreciate it… We’re working very, very hard to get this done. We hope to release this in 2016.
I cannot help but feel that the alarm bells which have been a familiar sighting during The Last Guardian’s history are still present at hand. Sony absolutely cannot afford to push the game around any further. It has been manhandled enough.
As for the gameplay demo, it looks just like we remember it. Aside from the platform switching to the PlayStation 4, there is hardly any difference to make us believe the wait was worth it.
Team ICO has always had a ‘target audience’ for its titles. Many who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Ueda’s past games would have looked at The Last Guardian’s trailer this week and wondered as to what the hype was really about.
E3 is about expanding your audience, and Sony had a valuable opportunity to give the announcement more time and explain why so many people have been waiting for its release since the first rumors began in 2007.
The Last Guardian remains as one of the best announcements out of Sony’s E3 2015 press conference. However, with so many years gone, I expected to walk away with more facts in my hand than a short demo that looks just like the original.