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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.

Eurogamer understands Ueda's departure from Sony internal development studio Team Ico is one of the reasons for the game's protracted development.

Confirmation of Ueda's departure comes after it was revealed that the executive producer of The Last Guardian had left Sony to join a Facebook game developer.

Yoshifusa Hayama, who for four years worked as vice president at Sony Computer Entertainment, joined Monstermind creator Bossa Studios as creative director last week.

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

The previous month SCE Studios president Shuhei Yoshida gave an exasperated-sounding Last Guardian progress update:

"It's been very difficult in terms of seeing the progress: not as fast as we'd been hoping for, and the team has been under big pressure," he said.

The Last Guardian was delayed earlier this year to an unspecified time in 2012. The cat-eagle adventure was originally slated for a "late 2011" release.

Ueda was director and lead designer on PlayStation 2 games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, which both took four years to develop.

The Last Guardian was first mentioned as being in development over four years ago, in February 2007, by Japanese magazine Famitsu. It was eventually revealed at E3 2009 with an eye-catching trailer. However, it failed to show at E3 2011, Gamescom 2011 and Tokyo Game Show 2011.