Fumito Ueda Interview

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While I wasn’t able to attend Tokyo Game Show this year, I was able to get some questions out to Fumito Ueda, creator of ICO, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian, which is coming to PlayStation 3 in 2011.
Here’s the trailer shown at TGS, in case you missed it, and thanks to all the people that helped me come up with questions via Twitter and Facebook earlier in the week.

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Since you announced The Last Guardian at E3 last year you have been fairly quiet. What have you been up to?
We’ve been working on the final concept for the game over the past year, and I’m pleased to say that we have now locked that down and we’ve moved into full production. We learned from our experiences on ICO and Shadow of the Colossus that doing Research & Development at the same time as making the game slows down the process, so we decided to spend more time on R&D up front, testing out technologies and mechanics, before moving into full production. I’m glad to say that, right now, we’re in crunch mode.
What are you able to reveal at TGS that our readers didn’t already know?
Two new pieces of information are that the beast is officially called Trico and that the game is coming out in time for Christmas 2011.
What are you trying to show us with this new trailer?
The last trailer we released sparked internet rumours of a sad ending, because of the arrows stuck in Trico’s back, and with people remembering the endings of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. We wanted to neutralise any assumption of the direction of the game. In addition, we wanted to show a bit more of the emotional attachment between the boy and Trico. The relationship between these two is core to the game experience.

The Last Guardian Coming To PS3 Holiday 2011

What about the relationship between the hero and Trico – where does the balance of power lie?
The simple answer is it’s very similar to Rock, Paper, Scissors. There will be times when Trico is paper, the boy is rock and the enemy is scissors. It’s a triangular relationship where strength is relative to the situation. For example, as you’ll see in the video, Trico can’t squeeze into small places and the boy can’t climb to high places, so they help each other out.
How would you compare the boy’s relationship with Trico in the Last Guardian to Wander’s relationship with Agro in Shadow of the Colossus?
In Shadow of the Colossus, people really liked the relationship between the two. The difference lies in the fact that Agro and Wander already had an established bond, whereas the relationship between Trico and the boy is new, and it develops throughout the game.
Compared to Agro, who was a fully grown, tamed character, Trico is wilder, almost adolescent, and this comes through in his expressive personality which adds humour to the game.

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How did it feel to revisit ICO and Shadow of the Colossus?
This is something I’ve always wanted to revisit on PS3 and I’m very happy to be able to accomplish this with even higher production values. I’m delighted with how it has turned out. Unfortunately, unlike the movie industry, videogames sometimes get forgotten when people move onto the next generation, so this is a great opportunity to makes these games accessible to both fans of the series and to a new audience.
What convinced you to support stereoscopic 3D with the new versions of ICO and SOTC and what does this add to the experience.
I’d first like to clarify that 3D is not essential to enjoy these experience – the HD element in itself brings a lot of life to the games. However, 3D will bring even more.

The Last Guardian Coming To PS3 Holiday 2011The Last Guardian Coming To PS3 Holiday 2011

Both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were designed with a huge depth of field in mind, demonstrated through the vast landscapes. Although 3D technology wasn’t at the point that it is now, it was certainly something we considered. Now that the technology allows it, it gives the product even more ‘juice’ so to speak. I’ve already experienced this throughout the trial build and was overwhelmed with the results.
That’s how much the 3D element brings to the title.
And finally, what are your strongest influences?
There are so many things; it’s hard to pick just one. But most importantly, I’m always thinking about creating a game that I’d want to play but that doesn’t currently exist – I want to make that happen.
As a creator, I think that developing a truly immersive experience and creating a believable reality even within a fictional world is very important and unique to the interactive nature of gaming.

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  • Can’t wait for the collection since I’ve never played either one of them.

    • I’m embarrassed to say that neither have I, so Ico/SOTC on PS3 suddenly became my most anticipated game this week.

  • Great interview. I especially loved the answer to the last question. What shines through in his answer is that you can tell he adores creating game world and the characters (or lack of) that inhabit them.
    Sony are incredibly lucky to have this man in one of their development teams :).

  • my favourite experiences in all my years of gaming. these titles were way ahead of their time and hopefully they will get the commercial success they deserve

  • It’s my birthday today( seriously ) and my wife is trying to hide my present ( I hope she be’s careful with it, don’t want the squishy ball falling off do we )

  • I love unique titles like this.
    I definitely plan to purchase both the Last Guardian and Ico/SOTC. :)

  • Awesome. I don’t know anything about these games except i played sotc, when i was little and i didn’t have a clue what to do. I could tell it was a good game though. But anyway these games seem really creative and fun which is nice since most games just involve shooting nowadays. (not that they’re bad but its nice to see different things)

  • A nice interview and fantastic news about all 3 games. Now I wonder whether I should get around to finishing the last colossus in SOTC and play through ICO on my PS2 or wait to play the HD versions!

  • I’m looking forward to playing all three of these titles next year. I’ve only ever heard good things about ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, but I’ve never had the chance to play them.

  • I love Ueda. What a brilliant mind that guy has, honestly :)

  • I played the original ICO, but not SOC.ICO was full of emotion, amazing (PS2) graphics and very engrossing puzzles. Not to hard, but hard enough to keep you interested.
    Really looking forward to the collection and The last Guardian. When is the collection coming out again?

    • It’s going to be out next Spring. I’ll look into why your icon isn’t showing up. It shouldn’t be a browser issue, but if you do have another then it might be worth at least giving it a try. Let me know how you get on.

  • James, tried deleting my cookies and browser data, still no Plus icon. I am using Google Chrome, does that make a difference?

  • the last guardian creature is called TRICO, interesting
    maybe its
    a play on words?
    ICO= 1st game
    the last guardian= 3rd game – trilogy
    ICO+Trilogy= TRICO?
    what do you think?

  • I have yet to play Ico, but Shadow of the Colossus alone was an amazing experience. I’m really looking forward to playing it in HD and with a constant framerate.
    It’s also insane how big a 3D game library I’ll have by the end of next year probably without owning a display device.

    • Just think, if you do ever invest in a 3D TV then you’re going to have lots of content to try it out with, at no extra cost. I think this is going to a bit selling point for both 3D TVs and PS3 in the coming years.

  • Graphics aren’t that impressive porting to PS3 with Shadow of the C. Seems the same as PS2 to me.

  • #14
    It over a half year away so i think the graphic will be better.God of war collection took 6months or something so it will look pretty good i think.

  • This is such great news. I can put my originals with art cards in shrink wrap to keep them safe AND play the games.

  • This definitely looks like a game I must get. Having missed out on playing the two originally, now I have the chance to do it in beautiful HD!

  • @12 TRICO was the name everyone called TLG before it was announced.

  • I cant believe so many never played Ico or SOTC, its crazy. I instantly made both those games the best games i ever played back then and funny enough they still are today, even with all the great games ive layed til now.
    truth be told SOTC is my fav game ive EVER played so the news of this remanke is the best news ive heard this decade. Hands down!
    As for this inerview, well done James mate. Well done.

  • Shadow of the Colossus is one of my favourite games. I remember playing non stop all the way through the game. In HD and a steady framerate, its going to be bloody amazing. Cannot wait.

  • @12. Trico basically just came from it’s Japanese name Torico. 人喰いの大鷲トリコ, Hitokui no Ōwashi Toriko which is it’s title there.
    I think it’s to do with being a man eating bird or something like that.
    I think the trico, trilogy bit just comes from us westernizing it. It probably means something, Toriko i.e., not sure at the moment.

  • im just LOVIN this! =D

  • i was thinking i was the only one that hadnt played these, glad to know im not :-) and that there be appearing on the ps3, good stuff!
    more interviews please :-)

  • Why do I get this sinking feeling watching the trailer that the game will make you love that creature as if it’s your own puppy and then have it killed/die in the final scene!!!!

  • same VictorAnalogy, i will be buying the HD versions for the same reasons :)

  • I remember that Shadow of the Colossus was codenamed Nico, because Ni is Japanese for “two”, implying a sequel to Ico.
    Maybe Trico follows this, even though if they were to be exact, they’d call it Sanico since San is how the Japanese say “three”.
    Perhaps they called it Trico since Tri is easily connected to “three” worldwide. (See Monter Hunter Tri, for example).

  • Good interview, i can’t wait for this game, and it’s so great they’re bringing out Ico and Sotc again, i’m a big fan of Sotc but i never got to finish Ico, this’ll be my chance..

  • What can I say, this is just awesome. Can’t wait to play ICO and Shadow on my PS3.

  • I played both ico and sotc, and they are very primitive. It’s worrying that they’ve spent 4 years and hadn’t nailed what they were doing until recently. There’s far too much overhyping from the internet communities for Ueda, as well as other primitive games like portal/braid/limbo. It’s just because of an arty gimmick as well as the fact it’s rather easier to create a “perfect” game that’s 4 hours long with no dialogue. I’d rather have a multifaceted game with various mechanics and cultural elements than a mere dressed up puzzle game that was without fault.
    I’d have asked:
    Do you consult with people outside of your expertise such as anthropologists, psychologists and linguists on writing, & geologists and architects on map design etc?
    I reckon game development is just artists, programmers, sound people (music/acting) and directors who do the writing themselves. A good example is heavy rain where david cage wrote and directed everything and there are various plot holes and stiff dialogues. The movie Avatar made good use of a linguist and various zoologists to design the world, but the director did the writing on his own so while audiences were captivated by the world, they were dulled by the generic writing.

  • It’s strange to accept a release date for holidays 2011 when the game was been announced during the E3 2009 :(

  • I’m really feeling bad about 3D (nausea, headaches, … I’ll probably never buy a 3D TV) but I loved ICO and SotC. It’s already pre-ordered.

  • do you think it will be better than NIER on PSIII ???

  • I loved both ICO/SOTC although they were short i found them very unique for games of a specific generic type SOTC did think a lot more out of the box in terms of game concept no other company during that time had said to themselves “errrr let’s make a game where you’ve got to climb a giant moving creature and play acupuncture with a sword in order to bring a princess to life”. for me i think Ueda is possibly the gaming equivalent of the great hayao miyazaki in the anime world because he is telling a story so that everybody can enjoy his work…. i look forward to playing it

  • i had SotC never played on PS2 and only play the ico demo… but i heard much about them… so i hope germany will get a located version from the combilation box… and the trailer of TLG looks just awesome…! Hope we get it here too… PSN for life!!!

  • i love the game the last guardian i’am gonna buy it directly when it comes out it was good that i bought playstation 3 xbox was bad but ps3 is the best

  • I never played them, too.
    Can’t wait to plaly them in PS3 either :D

  • They will be on the PSN? (ICO and TSOC)

  • i have play it but about the frist one i never play but im traing to find it im LvL 12 trophy and im happy with my life im traing to have more trophy so thx for read this (^_^) with love i gave other id name coolman_11 with this i reach trophy LvL 12 NoT WITH HI_GIRLS_AND_BOY


  • This game definitely has to be experienced.
    Ueda-sama couldnt put it better when he said ´people can enjoy these games without that 3D schnick-schnack´. Honestly, i couldnt bear to kill the Collosus’ in the SOTC game (They were too adorable to be so brutally killed)…although me and my daughter play it still these days…it’s incredible how these game developers could indulge people with their Artistic influences.
    I can understand the feelings of the people when they lose patience about release dates and all that drama…but heY! please dont rush these conscious game-developers, they can take their sweet time to put out a game, that we and our children wanna play! So be it…

  • I remember seeing a deluxe version of Collossus in the shop and the Art cards it came with picqued my interest enough to buy the gm, which I was glad I’d done. I’ve never played Ico tho,but I’m hoping, if these two gms are bundled with Guardian, the way the Gods of War were with GoW3, that they come with an action figurine/s of either one of the collossi or Trico, as Pandora’s box was a real let down(Ive ordered a Kratos in Ares armour figuirine which will arrive tomorrow, can’t wait). Anyway it’s the gm itself that really counts and Ueda is one of the few jpese devs I look up to. Playstation just keeps getting better. peace…

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