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Fumito Ueda's studio shows a picture of what could be its new game

A girl and a giant, titled Beauty and the Beast.

Gen Design - the developer led by Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian creator Fumito Ueda - has posted what may be an image of its new game.

Underneath a Happy New Year message on the Gen Design website there is the image of a girl (or perhaps boy) sat in the dark on a kind of stone altar, radiating a beam of light. Far more eye-catching, however, is the massive chubby fist of a giant off to the right.

In the website's source code (via Resetera) the picture is named "Beauty and the Beast 2018".

beautybeast

The picture in question. A new beast to try and control?

I met Fumito Ueda at the Gamelab conference last summer, where he talked about his process of making games and how traditionally he created an image early on to represent what he wanted to achieve. Perhaps this new image is it?

The Last Guardian, then referred to as Ico 3, was teased with a visual image as long ago as in 2008.

However, Ueda also told me the tools available today make it possible to quickly whip up a prototype for the same purpose. Perhaps the image, then, is taken from a prototype?

At the time he couldn't say much about his game. "About the new project," he said, "I can't say many things, but until now the priority for me is visual image. Now I change a little bit the process so I intend to make a prototype because there are many tools to facilitate making one."

He did say, though, he intended his new game to be "very different", although as with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian, there may end up being a familiar look and feel to it - as there appears to be in the image.

"The last three games we created, I didn't intend to be very similar to each other," he told me. "When I start to create our games, always I think we will create something different. But as a result, in the three games there are some similarities, a feeling. In the process of operation there's a moment when one game links with another. But I don't put it in at the start - it happens in the process.

"So now I think I'm creating something very different, but the result? I can't say."

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How long it will take Ueda and Gen Design to make the new game remains to be seen. The Last Guardian took a famously long time to make, the result of "many problems", Ueda told me - presumably the PS3 couldn't handle it, hence the leap to PS4.

But again, the prevalence of good tools today means development could be significantly quicker. "I would like to finish a game as quickly as possible," he said. "Traditionally or conventionally when we start to make a game, we have to start from zero, but nowadays there are many tools to facilitate the creation of game, so in this sense perhaps we have to change the method of creating the game."

Currently, Sony is remaking Shadow of the Colossus for PS4, and the game is due out remarkably soon, on 7th February.

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