Home Gaming E3 2015: The Last Guardian – worth the wait

E3 2015: The Last Guardian – worth the wait

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There are few games that are as synonymous with “development hell” as The Last Guardian. The reveal from Sony that the game was not only no longer in development hell, but actually in a playable form was a total surprise, one met with tears of joy by many people watching Sony’s press briefing. I got to see a live gameplay demo with running commentary by game director Fumito Ueda.

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While they aren’t telling much of the story at this point (presumably that will be revealed in more detail at Gamescom or Tokyo Games Show) we do know that a young boy was kidnapped and transported to a strange new world. There he discovers Trico and they begin to form a kind of bond or friendship. It is a linear storyline.

Trico is based on animals that people might have as pets, so birds, cats and dogs primarily. He is meant to be sweet and cute like a pet, but also wild and unpredictable in some ways. Ueda compared it to when you have a dog who does cool tricks, but when you invite friends over to see, he refuses to do the trick. It’s an adorable concept and explains why Trico isn’t the easiest companion to have on this journey, but still an incredible companion with which to forge a connection.

That bond isn’t formed through words, though. The gameplay demo opened with the boy helping Trico by removing some spear-like protrusions from his back and leg, followed by throwing him some snacks. It’s a way for the two to develop a friendship without the use of language.

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The two characters are obviously very different. The boy is small and nimble, able to manoeuvre in tight spaces as well as climb Trico. Trico is much larger and stronger, but obviously he isn’t so easily controlled or even communicated with – in the demo it became clear that just because the boy gestured for Trico to jump across a divide or move forward didn’t necessarily mean that he’d do it, much like it is when gesturing for a cat to come jump into your lap.

While the demo itself was mainly made up of the gameplay shown in the Sony briefing, it was interesting to hear that key moments, like when the boy is caught with Trico’s tail, aren’t cut scenes. Even during their behind closed doors sessions, they missed catching that landing a few times.

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In order for the boy to communicate with Trico, he needs to use gestures and movements to indicate running, jumping or other actions. While Trico might not always respond as intended (or even come when called), he does respond with cocked head, odd noises and coos or other interactions. It adds to his cuteness, much like when a pet simply looks at you in a certain way instead of following your actual commands. When Trico does do what the boy (and player) wants, it ends up feeling that much more interesting because it wasn’t such a sure thing.

The world of The Last Guardian includes a ton of verticality. Ueda explained that this is a feature of all his games. Part of it is the aesthetic, but it’s more than that – having so much scale makes the character and the player feel much smaller and more vulnerable. I found it intriguing that indoors where the boy fits more easily, Trico feels cumbersome and a bit claustrophobic while outside the boy feels exposed and vulnerable while Trico feels powerful. It’s an interesting nuance to the game and I am really excited to see even more gameplay and the game’s progression. There is still so much that we don’t know about the game, but what we have seen is truly gorgeous.

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During the Q&A, I asked Ueda how the anticipation for the game has impacted on development. His words were humble and reassuring; the hype and excitement especially following the reveal of the game has spurred them on to keep working on the title even harder. They are committed to getting the game done for a 2016 launch date. Even if they don’t quite make that window, just seeing real gameplay on a PS4 dev kit inspired so much hope – the game is really coming.

Last Updated: June 18, 2015

46 Comments

  1. Geoffrey Tim

    June 18, 2015 at 15:02

    Stay strong, Umar.

    Reply

    • kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

      June 18, 2015 at 15:18

      Lol F***n crazy though…..truthfully….I didn’t think this game was alive anymore.

      Reply

    • Ranting Raptor

      June 18, 2015 at 15:31

      It’s a Hashtag Geoff

      #StayStrongUmar

      Reply

      • Blood Emperor Trevor

        June 18, 2015 at 15:51

        Geoff don’t hashtag.

        Reply

        • Ranting Raptor

          June 18, 2015 at 15:52

          That’s what she said?

          Reply

          • Hammersteyn

            June 18, 2015 at 16:44

            That’s one ugly she ๐Ÿ˜

  2. oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

    June 18, 2015 at 15:05

    At first I was like, ah shit, another silly teaser trailer with fake heart strings attached to mopy eyed cat feathered thing.

    Then the game play started, this is my Megaton of E3 1015 ๐Ÿ™‚

    https://media2.giphy.com/media/NbgeJftsErO5q/200.gif

    Reply

    • kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

      June 18, 2015 at 15:17

      Dem SoTC Feels ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply

      • oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

        June 18, 2015 at 15:18

        Did you see the way he climbed up the back of the griffin? Cant wait to see the new colossus ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply

        • kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

          June 18, 2015 at 15:20

          oooooooooh boy!! Dem clunky climbing controls lol Can’t wait. Obviously the cat thing is gonna die. OBVIOUSLY…..(I hope not)

          Reply

          • oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

            June 18, 2015 at 15:20

            Its Japanese, they all die ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Blood Emperor Trevor

            June 18, 2015 at 15:21

            Only because it’s all a dream. ;P

          • kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

            June 18, 2015 at 15:22

            Lol Ain’t that the truth. Well hey, hopefully they don’t troll us like the did in SoTC. Dat ending ๐Ÿ™

          • oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

            June 18, 2015 at 15:23

            The music to that ending still haunts me. The Japanese know how to do it.

          • kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

            June 18, 2015 at 15:24

            I swear, that ending was the only reason I’ve held on this long to TLG.

          • Hammersteyn

            June 18, 2015 at 16:44

            Still too soon
            *Sniff

          • oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

            June 18, 2015 at 15:22

            That bastard Grip meter is still burnt into the back of my retina. Then I found that by killing skunks it gets larger. No Manual or tutorial required, just figure it out for yourself AKA Dark Souls style. LOVE IT.

          • kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

            June 18, 2015 at 15:23

            Lol Best!! Want a mini-map? F U! Shine your sword in the sunlight!

          • oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

            June 18, 2015 at 15:23

            lol

  3. Captain JJ Browmehn

    June 18, 2015 at 15:06

    Great to see some different screenshots of this. It’s looking excellent.
    #staystrongumar

    Reply

  4. oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

    June 18, 2015 at 15:07

  5. Graeme Selvan

    June 18, 2015 at 15:07

    Finally, FINALLY after all these years of waiting we are a little closer to getting this in our hands!

    Reply

  6. Kromas,powered by windows 10.

    June 18, 2015 at 15:14

    Hell …. I have renewed hope for HL3 after this bit of news!

    Reply

    • oVg Battle of Kaer Morhen

      June 18, 2015 at 15:17

      Its their trump card. Hold it tight to the chest like FF7. When shit looks bleak, pull it out and WHAM $$$$$

      Square Enix must be doing some serious damage control to resort to a FF7 remake.

      Reply

    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      June 18, 2015 at 15:18

      Nope, still no hope from my side, I think Valve’s grown ever so close to their pocket money, that they’ll not squander it on a AAA success story like HL 3, especially after everything else has apparently turned into open world shooter RPG hack-slash-alots….

      Reply

      • Geoffrey Tim

        June 18, 2015 at 15:32

        I’d play an open world, fps shooter RPG half life 3.

        Reply

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          June 18, 2015 at 15:40

          Oh yeah, it would be brilliant! The only question would be whether Valve would actually attempt something like that, because it’ll have to be stellar…

          Reply

      • Kromas,powered by windows 10.

        June 18, 2015 at 15:34

        Well source 2 is out so who knows. Also they got plenty of cash from hats and Dota skins to spend on games.

        Reply

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          June 18, 2015 at 15:42

          I won’t be surprised if this leads to a community driven (as above) HL3…

          Reply

          • Captain JJ Browmehn

            June 18, 2015 at 15:48

            Not impossible, come to think of it.

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            June 18, 2015 at 15:51

            You see, after what happened with Project Cars, I’m definitely for it…

          • Captain JJ Browmehn

            June 18, 2015 at 15:54

            Absolutely.

    • kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

      June 18, 2015 at 15:21

      Never give up. Believe, like I did. One day you’ll get your sequel to the generic shooter.

      Reply

  7. Blood Emperor Trevor

    June 18, 2015 at 15:15

    And Umar’s faith is rewarded!

    Reply

  8. VampyreSquirrel

    June 18, 2015 at 15:16

    I’d laugh if they put something like a “Thanks for staying strong Umar” comment on the initial loading screens.

    Reply

    • Captain JJ Browmehn

      June 18, 2015 at 15:25

      lol

      Reply

  9. kuuu(UMAR)rrrr

    June 18, 2015 at 15:16

    Feels so good.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      June 18, 2015 at 16:43

      Because Duke Nukem Forever was totally worth the wait?
      *Runs

      Reply

  10. Timmy_The_Good_Troll

    June 18, 2015 at 15:29

    I dont get it? Is it just a platformer?

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      June 18, 2015 at 15:31

      Have you never played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus? You should. This is a spiritual sequel.

      Reply

      • Timmy_The_Good_Troll

        June 18, 2015 at 15:32

        No never played them or heard of them actually.Thanks for the info though.

        Reply

        • Geoffrey Tim

          June 18, 2015 at 15:33

          Much, much beloved PlayStation 2 games. It’s why people are so damned keen for this game.

          Reply

  11. Mark Treloar

    June 18, 2015 at 17:03

    Its a Darwin Award simulator.

    Reply

  12. Ghost In The Rift

    June 18, 2015 at 18:47

    Reminds of Digimon World 1 on Ps1, running around with your Digimon giving commands, and potty of course, oh Happy where those days.

    Reply

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