The Last Guardian

Does the successor to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus live up to its lineage? It does so much more.

Spotlight

EssentialThe Last Guardian review

The thing with feathers.

Digital FoundryFace-Off: The Last Guardian

Digital Foundry compares three very different ways to play this beautiful game.

Key events

Jelly DealsJelly Deals: The Last Guardian is discounted. Again.

Down to £22.85 in the UK, $39.99 in the US.

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a new deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. (It also has the best name.) Full disclosure: if you make a purchase from one of these links, we may receive a small commission from the retailer. Hopefully you'll find it useful!

Feature2016 was the year that Japanese games struck back

Japanese video game makers look to their past to define their future.

The most deafening cheer raised at PSX, Sony's celebration of all things PlayStation held in a tinselled, sweltering December California, did not follow the news of a sequel to The Last of Us, but rather a surprise trailer advertising a 22 year old arcade game. Windjammers is Pong played with Frisbees. You're a bronzed Venice Beach bum, dressed in neon pink sweatbands and purple sun-visors, hurling the disc toward your opponent's goal. There's never been a better video game interpretation of air hockey but, while the game is often played at hipster-y video game tournaments, nobody anticipated a PlayStation 4 re-release. Fittingly the announcement was made on the same day that SNK, the Osaka-based creator of the enduringly desirable NeoGeo on which Windjammers debuted in 1994, dropped the 'Playmore' addendum of its name (picked up when the company reformed following bankruptcy in the early 2000s) to return to its original branding: The Future Is Now.

Digital FoundryTech Analysis: The Last Guardian

Digital Foundry tracks the game's progress from initial target render to final code.

The Last Guardian is out at last. After the release of Ico in 2001 and Shadow of the Colossus four years later, it's fair to say Team Ico's third game has had the most troubled development of them all. When it began as a PS3 title in 2007, nobody could have anticipated a nine year wait to see the title on store shelves. But on its own terms the result is breathtaking; despite the age of its concept - and many of its assets - The Last Guardian's backdrops still wow due to on-point art direction from director Fumito Ueda. The story behind its technology however, from a leaked target render in 2009, to its eventual release in 2016, plays a big part in explaining how the final game turned out.

A wind-scoured castle, crumbling into a sun-bleached sea. A towering shrine, rising above a landscape of decaying ruins and moss-skinned rocks. An isolated tower surrounded by vast chasms, speckled with high-arched walkways and overgrown ledges. Though the games of Fumito Ueda may depict delicate relationships, vast beasts and impregnable mysteries, it has always been their distinctive architectural spaces that gave them a concrete form. Ever since Ico's castle hazily emerged from the bloom and mist on the games title screen in 2001, these monolithic structures have become symbols for the sense of scale, mysticism and artistry that have made Ueda's games instantly recognisable and widely loved.

The Last Guardian review

EssentialThe Last Guardian review

The thing with feathers.

The worst moments are sometimes the greatest moments. For 20 minutes last Wednesday I stood by an expanse of cold water, in an ancient hall that had become home to a vast, lapping pool, and I tried to get my companion, a three-storey motley of house cat, pigeon, and other assorted wildlife, to dive to the bottom, battling the swift waters that I couldn't face, and taking me along for the ride. For 20 minutes my companion would not do as I asked. You know that part in a game where you understand what you have to get to happen to solve a puzzle, but you can't make the puzzle pieces behave? I was stuck inside that part - except, while those parts are traditionally maddening, this time it was anything but.

Genuinely: it was fascinating to watch the face, the body language, the shifting Baba Yaga chicken feet of that beast I was travelling with as it struggled to understand what I was asking of it - and then struggled to decide if it was in the mood to help anyway. This wasn't an instance in which the game was too clumsy to bring its pieces to bear effectively. It was something else entirely, something much rarer. It was an instance in which I had to try to properly engage with another creature, as wilful, playful, and easily distracted as I am. Commands came together with body language, orders with their interpretation, and the true puzzle didn't lie at the bottom of the pool, because it was right up on the surface all along. The true puzzle was: what is this animal thinking?

Actually, it was probably more like 30 minutes.

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Face-Off: The Last Guardian

Digital FoundryFace-Off: The Last Guardian

Digital Foundry compares three very different ways to play this beautiful game.

After nine years, The Last Guardian is finally complete. It's a game we can all now experience for ourselves, after many no-shows at trade-events, and reported issues during development. Created by Sony Interactive Entertainment's Japan Studio and Gen Design, the game has had a notoriously rough path to launch - though the result is well worth the wait. But when it was announced as a PS3 project all the way back in 2007, little did we know we'd end up playing on one of two consoles: its successor, the PS4, and of course the freshly minted PlayStation 4 Pro.

Yes, Pro owners can rest easy. Despite no mention of specific support for Sony's new console in any of its patch notes (we're currently up to version 1.2), there are two distinct levels of support implemented. Let's talk visuals first. On the standard PS4, you get a native 1920x1080 resolution - giving you a far crisper image than we could have expected from a mooted PS3 version. It's easily one of the most visually arresting games on Sony's latest generation of console hardware.

At the heart of the production is Trico, a huge creature of many moving parts. Despite the dense of feathers covering its body, when placed against the game's lighting, Trico has a nearly Pixar-esque quality in motion. Dithering and rough edges are surprisingly minimal, and combined with a high quality motion blur, it's often hard to tell when a cut-scene has ended. The same goes for materials across the game. Geometry and textures err on the simplistic side, but due to the way all these elements are lit - indoors or out - the result is often photogenic, and natural.

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The Last Guardian is getting PS4 Pro support

4K support, improved performance and HDR inbound.

The Last Guardian will be supporting PlayStation 4 Pro, with the much awaited game upscaling to 4K and bringing minor performance improvements on Sony's new console when it launches this December.

Feature“Never in my wildest imagination did I think The Last Guardian would take this long”

Fumito Ueda on the game that took him almost ten years to make.

Against all odds, the time has nearly come. After endless delays and fears it might have fallen into the void, The Last Guardian has gone gold and is all prepared for release early in December. It's pretty good, too - at least that's the impression we got after spending just over an hour with it last week. After our hands-on we got the chance to sit down briefly with the game's director Fumito Ueda - a figure almost as mystical as The Last Guardian itself during its tortured development, but in person a plain-speaking, down-to-earth designer who seems impervious to the pressures that almost ten years on one game must have wrought.

The short answer, before I lead you on any further, is yes. Despite an impossible amount of hype heaped up over the course of a decade, of hopes sparked by those all-too-intermittent trailers and by the glorious yet dimming memory of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian can live up to expectations. It can even surpass them and surprise you with its brilliance, as it did when I sat down to play it for just over an hour last week.

Beast your eyes on 18 minutes of The Last Guardian gameplay

A meaty 18 minutes of The Last Guardian footage, filmed at the Tokyo Game Show this week, has appeared online.

The Last Guardian footage comes from Japanese media monster Famitsu, and gives us our clearest look yet at what the long-awaited PS4 game is like to actually play.

The recorded demo shows an area that wasn't in The Last Guardian E3 build that Wes played and wrote about in June, but we have seen snippets of the area in trailers before.

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The Last Guardian finally, finally gets a release date

Sony has finally, after all these years, given The Last Guardian a release date. It will be released 25th October 2016 on PS4. Yes, it's coming out this year believe it or not.

Sony aired a new trailer at E3 that showed a second Catweagle - a bad Catweagle. Otherwise it was the same kind of whimsical man-and-beast platforming we've seen before.

You can see what else Sony and other publishers announced at the show this year with our E3 guide.

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FeatureGoing face to face with The Last Guardian

Trico's at Tokyo Game Show (but not how you might have hoped).

The Last Guardian, Sony's almost mythical exclusive that's been in development since 2007, didn't make an appearance at the platform holder's Tokyo Game Show press conference on Tuesday, but it has found its way on to the show floor at the Makuharai Messe. It's not, though, what you might have hoped.

FeatureShuhei Yoshida on saving The Last Guardian and PS4 in Japan

And "the morning after" that press conference.

It was a night no E3-goer will forget in a hurry. Sony's extraordinary press conference last week opened with the return of The Last Guardian - almost 10 years into development and almost five since its last appearance before the press. The shocking revivals didn't end there as Sony, playing fairy godmother to ageing gamers, continued to grant their deepest and most apparently hopeless wishes with the launch of Yu Suzuki's Shenmue 3 Kickstarter and the announcement that Square Enix would attempt the impossible - or improbable - and remake its classic role-playing game, Final Fantasy 7.

FeatureThe Last Guardian emerges from hibernation, unchanged

And it seems there's still a way to go.

Early in 2011, I travelled to Sony Japan Studio's offices in Tokyo and saw the the last live demo of The Last Guardian. Four and a half years later, sat in a hushed demo theatre somewhere above the brouhaha of E3, just as the show opens, I'm seeing the first demo of its revival as a PS4 game. I'm feeling a sense of déjà vu.

PS3 Last Guardian trailer was "specced up" for the occasion

PS3 Last Guardian trailer was "specced up" for the occasion

Wasn't like that in real life, hence the problems.

When Sony originally showed The Last Guardian running on PS3, the video wasn't apparently representative of how the game actually performed - but was "specced up" for the occasion.

In reality, "the game was running at a much lower frame rate", Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida told Kotaku at E3.

As development drew excruciatingly on, and the PS3 struggled to cope with the game's vision, PS4 dev kits arrived - and a solution presented itself. The Last Guardian became a PS4 game in 2012.

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Tomb Raider, Vita's no-show and the mystery of 10m PS4 sales

FeatureTomb Raider, Vita's no-show and the mystery of 10m PS4 sales

Our Gamescom interview with Sony's Shuhei Yoshida.

It's been a fantastic year for Sony and the PlayStation 4, with a whopping 10m consoles sold. But there have been bumps along the road.

The Last Guardian remains missing in action years after it was announced. It's been in development for so long it's becoming a bit of a running joke.

There's also the issue of the delay to Evolution's racing game DriveClub. It was once due out alongside the PS4 in November 2013. Now, it'll launch almost a year later, going up against the likes of Forza Horizon 2, Project Cars and The Crew.

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It's time for your latest update on The Last Guardian - again

It's time for your latest update on The Last Guardian - again

Don't hold your breath for it being at this year's Tokyo Game Show.

AWOL PlayStation exclusive The Last Guardian didn't turn up during Sony's Gamescom press conference this week. Were we expecting it? Perhaps not.

But we had hoped for the Team Ico title to perhaps show up at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2014.

Alas, it doesn't sound like it'll be there, either.

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It's time for your latest update on The Last Guardian

It's time for your latest update on The Last Guardian

"People are going through this roller coaster of emotions, and it's our fault for not releasing the game yet."

It really wouldn't be a big game show without your regular update on perennial absentee The Last Guardian, and Eurogamer's happy as ever to oblige, with Sony Computer Entertainment's president of worldwide studios telling us once again what's going on with Team Ico's game.

Prior to E3 there had been some confusion as to whether The Last Guardian had been cancelled or not after an erroneous report appeared on IGN. "There were a difficult couple of days before the show - I'm sure you noticed," Yoshida told Eurogamer. "I'm so happy it was retracted before the show happened."

As to what's actually happening with The Last Guardian, which is widely believed to have shifted platform to PlayStation 4, the situation remains much as it was at Gamescom last year. "It's the same message!" Yoshida said with a smile.

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Optimistic? Perhaps, yet while The Last Guardian has been one of the most anticipated games of an entire generation, I've got genuine faith that this'll be the year when the catweagle finally sticks its curious snout out of the shadows.

FeatureDevelopers' Most Anticipated Games of 2014

Titanfall! Destiny! The Witcher 3! The Last Guardian (hopefully)!

2014 is upon us, and it promises riches and glory unlike any year before it. With their launches under their belts, the next generation of consoles will, hopefully, show us what they're made of. Virtual reality headsets may make their mark on the mainstream. And with a raft of crowdfunded games due out over the next 12 months, 2014 should tell us whether all that money we pumped into promising projects on Kickstarter was worth it.

The Last Guardian "well staffed" and "in development"

But still no word on when, where or how it will be released.

GamesIndustry.biz has run the second half of its massive interview with Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida, and managed to squeeze a few vaguely reassuring but maddeningly inconclusive words from him regarding the status of The Last Guardian.

Here is your regular Last Guardian update

Here is your regular Last Guardian update

"They are still working on it," says Yoshida.

Five years ago I met up with Shuhei Yoshida at Gamescom's last year in Leipzig and asked him the same question he's been getting in pretty much every interview since: what's happening with the Last Guardian?

"I used to call them Olympic Team, because they always spend four years on their games," Yoshida said in reference to Team Ico, the developer behind the much anticipated and much delayed title. "Ico started in 1997 and we saw that in 2001, Shadow was released in 2005. So it's an Olympic cycle."

2009 came and went without a peep, and now four years on from then we're still yet to see much more on The Last Guardian. It's safe to say that the Olympic cycle's been broken. So what's the latest word on the game?

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FeatureThe big interview: Sony's Shuhei Yoshida on PS4

"It's more about services than the system."

"I'm not directly managing third-party relations," says Shuhei Yoshida, when I ask him a question that pretty much has nothing to do with the area of Sony Computer Entertainment for which he is responsible.

FeatureE3 2012: The Vapourware List

The absent games we're beginning to wonder about.

Amidst all the excitement about E3 press conference stars like Beyond, Watch Dogs and Need for Speed: Most Wanted, it's easy to forget that not everything we hear about will make it to fruition, and that the time it takes for a game to go from spectacular reveal to an ignominious death that no one even bothers to report is only as long as it takes for a trailer to fade from memory. Given that we've published 478 videos so far this week, and some of them were for games like that Nike Plus thing, that's not long.

Sony US boss Tretton downplays PS4 2012 announcement

Sony US boss Tretton downplays PS4 2012 announcement

Uses that "hitting its stride" phrase for PS3 again.

It's sounding increasingly unlikely that Sony will announce PlayStation 4 this year.

Wise-cracking Sony US leader Jack Tretton told IGN that "I don't want to be thinking about trying to launch new technology any time soon", and said he'd be "very distracted" talking about next-gen hardware this year.

"In terms of when you talk about [the next generation] and when you announce it, it really depends on the health of the existing platform and the other things you have going on," tremoloed Tretton.

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FeatureActual New Games of 2012

Wonder and joy, please.

Back in December the Eurogamer editorial team had a massive public fight about whether 2011 was a good year for games. Well, we had the closest thing we're capable of having to a massive public fight - we wrote polite editorials disagreeing with one another. One thing we all agreed upon, however, was that we would very much like to see more Actual New Games in 2012.

The Last Guardian: Sony confirms Fumito Ueda's departure

The Last Guardian: Sony confirms Fumito Ueda's departure

Is "committed to completing" the project.

Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian creator Fumito Ueda has left Sony, the PlayStation manufacturer has confirmed.

Ueda is finishing PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last Guardian on a contract basis, and is "committed to completing" the project, Sony said in a statement issued to Gamasutra.

The 41-year-old's departure, exclusively revealed by Eurogamer last month, ends a 14-year career at Sony that has seen the launch two of the most iconic PlayStation games ever. Following The Last Guardian's release, currently set at some time in 2012, Ueda will pursue personal projects.

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Sony offers Last Guardian reassurance

Downplays TGS no-show.

Sony has reassured gamers that Team Ico is still "hard at work" on The Last Guardian, despite the high-profile PS3 exclusive missing the Tokyo Game Show next week.

18 unannounced Vita games set for TGS

18 unannounced Vita games set for TGS

Plus three unannounced PS3 games.

18 unannounced PlayStation Vita games will be playable at the Tokyo Game Show, Sony has announced.

Three unannounced PlayStation 3 games will also be playable, Andriasang reports.

The Vita games confirmed as being playable at Sony's PlayStation Vita Zone are:

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Team Ico HD bonus content detailed

Last Guardian video footage included.

Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection will pack in a smattering of bonus content alongside the twin PS2 classics when it arrives on PlayStation 3 later this year.

FeatureThe Last Guardian

Fumito's secret.

The two PlayStation 2 classics made by the small Sony team led by Fumito Ueda, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, have a powerful air of mystery about them. Their hazy, bleached visuals, sorrowful air and vague stories make them seem like half-remembered children's books – the kind that had some secret, solemn, adult meaning that was always just beyond your understanding, but that affected you powerfully anyway.

The Last Guardian release date revealed?

The Last Guardian release date revealed?

UK shops agree on October date.

A number of UK shops have gone live with a Friday 7th October release date for hotly anticipated PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last Guardian.

Tesco, ASDA, The Hut, Zavvi and Woolworths all say the Team ICO-developed title will release on 7th October.

GAME, Play, Amazon and HMV are yet to suggest a release date, however.

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Team Ico Collection gets Trophies

Move and 3D possible for The Last Guardian.

The high definition PlayStation 3 ports of Team Ico classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus will include Trophies, super cool creator Fumito Ueda's confirmed.

The Last Guardian out "late 2011"

For those confused by "holiday 2011".

We thought this was obvious, but for those of you who wondered what "holiday 2011" meant in relation to enchanting PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last Guardian's release date (and we know some of you did), it's "late 2011", Sony confirmed to Eurogamer.

FeatureThe Last Guardian

Watch Ueda go.

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.

Last Guardian coming holiday 2011

"It's time for us to go into crunch mode."

The Last Guardian, the new PS3 exclusive from the team behind ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, is slated to launch during "holiday 2011".

Ueda presenting Last Guardian at TGS

Sony's let the cateagle out of the bag.

Sony has confirmed that PS3 exclusive The Last Guardian will be shown at this year's Tokyo Game Show, which conveniently gets under way next week.

FeatureSCEI's Fumito Ueda

On The Last Guardian, ICO and more.

It's been two and a half years since Famitsu magazine dropped the first hints of Fumito Ueda's first PS3 game, and several months since it was revealed as The Last Guardian. Although there's been nothing to see so far but some impressive trailers, the hype is already huge - not surprising when you consider Ueda is the man behind cult classics ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.

Team ICO pack for LBP this week

ICO, Yorda costumes shown.

Media Molecule will offer a Team ICO pack for LittleBigPlanet this Thursday, paying homage to brilliant PS2 games ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.

E3: Last Guardian beast is a cateagle

Creator Ueda details his next.

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus creator Fumito Ueda has explained that the creature in PS3 creation The Last Guardian is a giant, imprisoned cateagle that may only be a baby.

E3: Trico finally shown, renamed

Ueda's The Last Guardian.

Sony has finally unveiled the third game from Fumito Ueda's Sony Japan team, previously codenamed Trico. Now it's called The Last Guardian.

Project Trico video leaked

Footage thought to be over a year old.

Sony fansite PlayStation Lifestyle claims to have blown the lid on the next game from Team ICO, codenamed Project Trico.

ICO creator to speak at GDC

Ueda ready to show PS3 game?

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus creator Fumito Ueda has been confirmed as one of the speakers for the Game Developers Conference next month.