We haven't heard much about The Last Guardian since the Tokyo Game Show. But that all changed today as Famitsu published a short interview in which director Fumito Ueda spilled a few additional precious details on the game and its development process.
At present, the development staff is pouring its efforts on the eagle-like creature that serves as the centerpiece of the game. This is because giving the creature a feeling of life and actual existence is of the utmost importance, explained Ueda.
In addition to the eagle, Ueda asked that players pay attention to the movements of the little boy you control. They've tied the character in greatly to the game's physics engine, allowing for in-depth motion.
Famitsu asked Ueda if, as with past games, he's working on the story board and such artistic areas of the game himself. The answer is yes. However, the amount of work has decreased compared to ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. One of the reasons for this is due to an increase in capable staff who can be left to handle the work to a degree. Additionally, with the advance to PS3 level, there are many areas of expression that can be handled by the hardware. An example of this is that darn physics engine again (every Last Guardian interview seems to mention this). The physics engine actually ties in well with the game's realistic direction, said Ueda.
Once again, Ueda managed to do an interview without getting into the details of how Guardian will play. Asked about the game content, he simply said that he can't say too much at present, but that he'd like to share additional information this year. They've yet to decide on whether this information will come at E3 or at the Tokyo Game Show.
Ueda closed off his interview with a brief statement about release time frame. "We're at the stage where we're looking into the time frame. Once the time frame has been decided upon, it won't be long until release. With Last Guardian, we're working intently with the aim of making a game that offers a kind of fun that cannot be experienced elsewhere, so I'd like everyone to wait just a bit more."
Elsewhere in the interview, Ueda reflected upon the year 2009 (this interview was actually part of a feature in which Japan's biggest game designers shared their thoughts on the past year). The game industry as a whole did not leave much of an impression on Ueda in 2009, partly because he was working away at Guardian. While there were titles that game fans did look forward to, he feels that there wasn't a game that did the unexpected. He joked that this could be because he's getting old.
Famitsu asked Ueda for his opinion on foreign games, noting that Japanese players have become more accepting of overseas titles of late. Ueda admitted that he personally likes many foreign games and he's happy that other users are starting to accept those titles. He was actually wondering why they weren't being accepted. Sadly, he did not name names.
Of course, for Ueda, 2009 was the year that Last Guardian was announced, first at E3, followed by a video showing at the Tokyo Game Show. Ueda said that he was shocked to see such a big reaction from players. He was also happy with the strong reaction from overseas players. However, he's trying to ignore the reactions because he wants to avoid feeling too much pressure.
It's not just fan reactions that make him feel pressure. Explained Ueda, compared to ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, the development staff is getting greater backup this time around, further increasing the feeling of pressure.
[additional reporting by Ryan Winterhalter]