Jeremy Jastrzab
22 Oct, 2010

TGS 2010: The Last Guardian Q&A

PS3 Feature | Ueda talks. Everyone listens.
How on earth do you lose a six-foot metal-headed surfer Aussie in Japan? Roving PALGN reporter, Kai Farrar, has resurfaced to bring you all some lovely goodies – words directly from the mouth of Fumito Ueda, director of the upcoming PlayStation 3 title, The Last Guardian. Following on from the cult success of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, it’s probably one of the most highly anticipated games to be coming to the PS3. But enough from us, we’ll let Kai take you all through this highly anticipated Q&A session:

By Kai Farrar

Gathered outside are what I can only guess to be journalists from every magazine and website under the sun. I always wanted to be a games journalist, ever since I got my Atari 2600 as a kid, and this was the moment I could live that dream for a few short hours. Everyone appeared chatty, there were some familiar faces and some that were not. The hot topic on the lips of the press was nothing other than The Last Guardian; Would we be shown more than expected? Would it live up to expectations? Would Ueda San answer some of the tougher questions prepared for him?

At 3:15pm we are allowed in. The theatre is completely packed, and I quickly grab a seat up the back (just next to the IGN team). People start to warm up their blogging fingers, then, silence as Fumito Ueda takes a seat next to what appears to be another team ICO developer and a female translator. And here are some of the musings that were provided to us.

Firstly, Ueda explains a few of the factors that have caused delays in production for this project. Moving to the PS3, there were a number of hurdles that had to be overcome from the research and development side of things that had to be sorted out before hand. He also spoke of the lengthy process required to lock in the core elements of gameplay before the production was able to get into full swing. He’s noticeably pleased at telling us this. Queue the latest trailer as shown at the Sony Press Conference just a few hours before...

After a minor quip at Sony for spoiling the impact of the trailer by showing it before hand, Ueda confirms that they are working hard towards a "holiday 2011" release. He continues to talk about the rumours and speculation surrounding the fact that both the games he has worked on had sad endings. Apparently, The Last Guardian is supposed to have an open ending, where gamers can figure out what happens for themselves. Could this possibly be leaving space for multiple endings?

Ueda continues to talk about the Griffin (referred to as Trico), which has been developed with a character of its own thanks to the R&D that had taken place before the game. He explains that as the story progresses, the relationship between Trico and the protagonist will go from being initially unfriendly, to quite a close bond later on. Thanks to the early R&D, this has allowed them to make the Trico moveable and flexible for any type of level they may be created. On this topic, he mentions that older games had a lot of levels that were made by the one artist, but the flexibility around Trico has allowed for production this time around to be more flexible and presumably shared by multiple artists.

Coming back to the trailer, Ueda points out that emotional attachment is a key to progression within the game. He shows off the protagonist and Trico , saying that Trico won’t listen to you every single time – it has a mind of its own. He goes on to restate that it’s the emotional attachment that is paramount to your interactions. A question comes in about dynamic gameplay, to which Ueda answers by saying that the PlayStation 3 has a lot more power, and this power will be used as has been shown in the trailers. Another question comes in asking whether the terrain will be altered by Trico, to which Ueda replied “Yes”.

Ueda comes back to explain why the main character is now a boy, and not a girl as shown in the previous trailers. While we weren’t able to get the whole translation, it was something along the lines that a girl was unable to climb a wall with the camera or perspective under her, where as a boy can wear shorts. There’s a chuckle from the Japanese people in the audience, but looks of wonder within the rest, with some people possibly offended… Something was lost in translation here…

Following this, a trailer for the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection is shown. It looks great, as the older games have been given a new lease on life, with what appears to be a solid 30 frames per second and widescreen presentation. Both games looked great anyway, though SotC in particular looks like it has been hugely improved. As you character scales the Colossi, you can really notice the improvement in the frame rate and texture details. The games will come on one PlayStation 3 Blu Ray disc and will contain the real European ending for everyone.

Due to be released in Spring of 2011, the collection is not just a straight out conversion. The team has been working on a completing upping of texture resolution. Ueda is very happy with the progress so far and is much happier with the frame rate. The PlayStation 2 was clearly not powerful enough for the frame rate that he wanted, and is much more comfortable with a consistent 30 frames per second. Both games will be compatible with Sony 3D, and it is confirmed that they will be Widescreen Enhanced.

A question comes in asking about what has changed in design approach over the last 10 years. Ueda says something along the lines of looking back and wondering why he spent so much time on just one element of a game and why there was an imbalance of energy spent on game design in the last 10 years. Someone from IGN asks what he is most proud of in this game, to which Ueda replies the emotional attachment between Trico and the main character.

And with this, the conference concludes and some people go for a photo opportunity. It gets crowded very quickly so I hustle outside and await the next conference with everyone. People chatter excitedly about this and the new HD collections, some wondering the meaning behind the answers to questions lost somewhat in translation. Overall, it was a confusing, exciting and thrilling event to attend.

PALGN would like to thank Kai for taking the time to share some of his experiences from Tokyo Games Show 2010, and Rebecca Rice from SCEE for organising the attendance to this event.

Related The Last Guardian Content

1 Comment
3 years ago
I love these games and Last Guardian is probably the only reason I would think of getting a PS3. But I'm going to have to see if I can convince a friend to let me live at their place for a couple of days and play their playstation.

Anyway I'm a little confused when it says the disc will contain the real European ending for everyone. I was unaware there were different endings to SotC. Can someone more informed please enlighten me?
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