There's a sense of anticipation even before the doors to the presentation room open. With 20 minutes still to go, a large crowd of journalists has already gathered outside. Those at the front at the queue jostle politely for position, while those just arriving now rush up to the check-in desk, anxious to make sure their name is on Sony's list.
So what's got everyone so excited? First of all, the game we're waiting to see is The Last Guardian - the newest offering from Fumito Ueda, the man behind ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. It's been more than two years since the game was announced, and since then we've seen and heard very little about it.
Secondly, this is one of the biggest titles being demoed at this year's Tokyo Game Show. It's one of the few which hasn't previously been shown off at gamescom, E3 or GDC, and the air of mystique adds to the buzz.
Thirdly, Sony cancelled all scheduled interviews with Ueda just days before TGS kicked off. So all these journalists, many of whom have been paid to fly halfway round the world on the promise of delivering exclusive, exciting copy, are conscious that this is their only chance to get anywhere near the game and the brains behind it.
And fourthly, the room we're standing outside appears to be quite small.
But luckily, when the doors open and the crowd floods in, there's enough room for everybody. Ueda sits on the top table alongside the US producer of ICO, who is also working on The Last Guardian and performing translation duties today. (He referred to Ueda throughout in the third-person, but we've changed it to first-person here to make for easier reading.)
The producer begins by informing us that no photos or videos may be taken during the session. This is a bit confusing, as he also confirms the trailer we're about to see was shown on the TGS show floor earlier today, where everybody's waving cameras and mobile phones with wild abandon. Plus, to be frank, the trailer doesn't tell us much more than we already know.
It begins with the boy character we've seen before hopping along Trico's back. (Trico is the name of the giant cat-eagle type creature.) He bounces gently along then jumps forcefully on Trico's head. The creature stirs and rolls over with a growl. Montage time.
In quick succession, images appear of Trico poking his head through a hole in the wall of a temple, grinding his feet as if preparing to do a runner and using his mouth to pick the boy up gently but swiftly by the scruff of the neck. We see Trico looking sad, looking angry and looking like he's puking up some kind of weird white stuff.
The spotlight turns to the boy now, and we watch him walking precariously along a wooden beam with his arms stretched out. Now he's throwing some kind of food to Trico, which the creature catches in his mouth; now he's shattering a stained glass window.
There's also a sneak peek at the combat - we see our hero taking on macho-looking enemies sporting armour and helmets which cover their faces. It doesn't look like he's waving a weapon, more as if he's kicking the enemies to knock them off their feet.
The colour palette is familiar by now - it's all soft pastels, gentle shades of green, brown, beige and lilac. As far as environments go, all we see are parts of ancient stone temples from a close distance. There are no sweeping vistas, no glimpses of any locations other than those already spotted in other trailers. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the trailer is the message which appears at the very end: "Coming holiday 2011."
Still. This is The Last Guardian, the new game from the man behind ICO, and the man himself is in this very room. The US producer explains he's going to conduct a Q&A session with Ueda, and begins by asking the question on everybody's lips: why has it been so long since we last saw The Last Guardian?
Well, says Ueda, times have changed. Back when ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were being developed, game design and research and development were worked on in parallel - which sometimes caused delays. For The Last Guardian the team decided to get the R&D out of the way first, and lock the core elements of the game down before moving on.
Now, however, the concept has been polished and he's ready to get cracking. "It's the end of the trial and error phase of production and it's time for to go into full production - crunch mode," Ueda confirms.
The reason he's presenting this trailer now, Ueda continues, is because he wanted to clear up a couple of rumours floating around the internet. "Those who saw the last trailer for The Last Guardian may have speculated there will be a sad ending," he says.
"Obviously, if you played ICO or Shadow of the Colossus, you may jump to assumptions that the next game may have a sad ending as well. So I kind of wanted to throw that out there, and make sure that it's an open ending for you guys to figure out."
The second aim of the trailer, Ueda says, is to show how much work the team has done giving Trico a range of different characteristics. "That creature has a lot more character to him now," he reckons. That'll explain all those facial expressions in that there montage.
What the trailer didn't tell us more about was the relationship between Trico and the boy, or exactly how this will work as far as gameplay goes. Ueda's remaining pretty quiet on this issue. "They initially have a very rigid, unfriendly relationship," he says. "We don't want to tell you too much, but as the story progresses, they will naturally find a bond. Let's leave it at that."
Perhaps we just need to watch the video again... "Although the clips in the trailer were very short, watch it over and over again and it will be quite self-explanatory," Ueda says. "Again, it goes back to the relationship between the boy and the Trico... Obviously, that emotional attachment is a key factor in game progression."
Disappointingly, the producer decides now a good time to move on and talk about the new ICO / Shadow of the Colossus special edition. (You can read all about it in our news story on the subject.) We then have to sit through a demo of a game we all played about five years ago, in slightly better definition.
But hooray, because now it's time for the Q&A session! But oh dear, because the first question is about the ICO / SOTC compilation - as are many of the questions that follow. It seems quite a few people are more interested in the new ICO aspect ratio and US box art than The Last Guardian.
Then, at last, someone gets in a question about how the environments in TLG are shaping up. "Looking back at ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, oftentimes level designs were dictated by one person or one artist. They were responsible for creating that whole level," says Ueda.
"This time they kind of restructured their workflow to allow for a more flexible level redesigning. These are elements which sound easy, but they do take some time."
Because TLG is a PS3 game, he goes on, there's more scope for introducing new aspects to the environments. "We're utilising the scale of the Trico character and the boy, and their relationship. [It's about] the dynamics of how levels may dynamically change.
"Back in days of ICO and SOTC, characters needed to be animated according to the level, stage or condition they were in. This time around, the characters dynamically react to their given situation. For example, if the boy were standing by a wall, he would naturally lean against it. These are little things, but little things are important. The more we say about this the more we'll give the game away, so we'll leave it at that."
Oh, Ueda, you and your "leave it at that". Won't you tell us something about whether the world of TLG is connected to that of ICO and SOTC?
"Those two titles started off with completely different concepts," he says. "It was only towards the end of SOTC that we said, 'Oh, maybe we could connect these two titles.' This time we're starting with a completely new, fresh page."
Oh, go on.
"Honestly, at this point, we don't know. It's something to look forward to. Maybe there will be a connection. Maybe there won't."
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Interview: SCEI's Fumito Ueda
On The Last Guardian, ICO and more.
Japanese TV shows new clips.
Oh, forget it.
Someone else asks a question about how the two main characters will interact within the game. "The relationship is not like the Trico character will listen to the boy every single time," says Ueda. "He can't give orders and expect Trico to do it - maybe it will, maybe it won't, because this is an animal you're talking to, and in real life, this happens too." Though not usually with giant cat-eagles.
"The important part is the emotional attachment between the boy and the Trico character, and how that feels. Again, that may not answer your question spot on, but... A bit."
There's just time for one last question, for what it's worth: how come all Ueda's games have adolescents for heroes?
"Actually, for all three creations, this is a coincidence," Ueda says. "Looking at The Last Guardian, for example, the Trico character is a very powerful creature. To balance that, to design a game balance... Naturally the design drove me to allow the main character to be lighter and less powerful."
In fact, Ueda says, the main character of TLG was originally a little girl. "But from a game design perspective - considering a little girl versus a little boy, the boy would have a little more grip when climbing trees." Righto. "Another element would be, girls wear skirts..."
There's no time to find out what Ueda reckons Lara Croft might make of that, because the session is over. We're told we're allowed to take photos of Ueda and a big group of people rush up to the front of the room.
Well, there you have it. This presentation might not have delivered for those who were hoping for a gameplay demo, a lengthier trailer or just some significant information about how the game will actually work. But that doesn't seem to matter - there's still a buzz around The Last Guardian, and everyone's still keen to find out what the man who made ICO is doing next.
The Last Guardian is due out exclusively for PS3 in "holiday 2011".