Fumito Ueda Interview
While I wasn’t able to attend Tokyo Game Show this year, I was able to get some questions out to Fumito Ueda, creator of ICO, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian, which is coming to PlayStation 3 in 2011.
Here’s the trailer shown at TGS, in case you missed it, and thanks to all the people that helped me come up with questions via Twitter and Facebook earlier in the week.
Since you announced The Last Guardian at E3 last year you have been fairly quiet. What have you been up to?
We’ve been working on the final concept for the game over the past year, and I’m pleased to say that we have now locked that down and we’ve moved into full production. We learned from our experiences on ICO and Shadow of the Colossus that doing Research & Development at the same time as making the game slows down the process, so we decided to spend more time on R&D up front, testing out technologies and mechanics, before moving into full production. I’m glad to say that, right now, we’re in crunch mode.
What are you able to reveal at TGS that our readers didn’t already know?
Two new pieces of information are that the beast is officially called Trico and that the game is coming out in time for Christmas 2011.
What are you trying to show us with this new trailer?
The last trailer we released sparked internet rumours of a sad ending, because of the arrows stuck in Trico’s back, and with people remembering the endings of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. We wanted to neutralise any assumption of the direction of the game. In addition, we wanted to show a bit more of the emotional attachment between the boy and Trico. The relationship between these two is core to the game experience.
What about the relationship between the hero and Trico – where does the balance of power lie?
The simple answer is it’s very similar to Rock, Paper, Scissors. There will be times when Trico is paper, the boy is rock and the enemy is scissors. It’s a triangular relationship where strength is relative to the situation. For example, as you’ll see in the video, Trico can’t squeeze into small places and the boy can’t climb to high places, so they help each other out.
How would you compare the boy’s relationship with Trico in the Last Guardian to Wander’s relationship with Agro in Shadow of the Colossus?
In Shadow of the Colossus, people really liked the relationship between the two. The difference lies in the fact that Agro and Wander already had an established bond, whereas the relationship between Trico and the boy is new, and it develops throughout the game.
Compared to Agro, who was a fully grown, tamed character, Trico is wilder, almost adolescent, and this comes through in his expressive personality which adds humour to the game.
How did it feel to revisit ICO and Shadow of the Colossus?
This is something I’ve always wanted to revisit on PS3 and I’m very happy to be able to accomplish this with even higher production values. I’m delighted with how it has turned out. Unfortunately, unlike the movie industry, videogames sometimes get forgotten when people move onto the next generation, so this is a great opportunity to makes these games accessible to both fans of the series and to a new audience.
What convinced you to support stereoscopic 3D with the new versions of ICO and SOTC and what does this add to the experience.
I’d first like to clarify that 3D is not essential to enjoy these experience – the HD element in itself brings a lot of life to the games. However, 3D will bring even more.
Both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were designed with a huge depth of field in mind, demonstrated through the vast landscapes. Although 3D technology wasn’t at the point that it is now, it was certainly something we considered. Now that the technology allows it, it gives the product even more ‘juice’ so to speak. I’ve already experienced this throughout the trial build and was overwhelmed with the results.
That’s how much the 3D element brings to the title.
And finally, what are your strongest influences?
There are so many things; it’s hard to pick just one. But most importantly, I’m always thinking about creating a game that I’d want to play but that doesn’t currently exist – I want to make that happen.
As a creator, I think that developing a truly immersive experience and creating a believable reality even within a fictional world is very important and unique to the interactive nature of gaming.