It's back! It's Baaaaack!
How many years has it been since The Last Guardian was last seen? Four? A million? Well, it's actually five, but it matters no more. What matters is that the follow-up to Shadow of the Colossus has most definitely not been cancelled. It has moved platform from PS3 to PS4, and is tentatively expected to be released in 2016.
Now, it might appear that the new trailer shown during Sony's E3 2015 Press Conference didn't tell us that much about the game but, by combining the E3 demo footage with a behind-closed-doors gameplay demo by Ueda-san himself and then re-examining the old trailer footage too, there's a lot of information to pore over. So here's everything we know about The Last Guardian so far.
You don't spend the whole game with Trico
Trico is the official name for the large, furry beasty thing that appears to be your companion for most of the game. Trico is a play on 'Ico' and 'Tri', of course, and was the affectionate nickname for the game itself before the Last Guardian title was announced.
But the additional demo of the game showed 5-10 minutes of gameplay before the E3 demo started off. And the boy is indoors before walking through grass and climbing up through a gate, where he discovers Trico sleeping.
The E3 demo was taken from about halfway through the game
According to Ueda-san, this demo is taken from around midway through the game. So Trico and the boy have had time to build up their relationship before being separated. If you remember, the very first teaser image of the game showed a large metal chain coming from a hole in the floor. It seems that Trico is imprisoned.
The behind-closed-doors demo showed the boy climbing up Trico and pulling two spears from its side - the second causing Trico to whimper in pain. After that, the pair are able to escape the room and begin to make their way through the environment together.
Trico gets scared/hurt by symbols
For instance, some symbols appear to scare him, while others seem to harm him. It's a clever way of adding an extra layer to the gameplay over the simple, standard environmental traversal. It remains to be seen why Trico is scared of it, or who left the symbols there in the first place. But there are some likely candidates you may have forgotten about...
Don't forget the sentinels...
Something that wasn't shows during the E3 2015 showing was the strange, golem-like sentinels that featured in the game's previous reveal. That old trailer showed the boy throwing objects at them and using environmental hazards to defeat them. The boy hides from them, Trico appears to kill one... it looks like they're the new 'shadowy beasts', to draw a parallel with Ico.
While their absence from the new demo might suggest they have been removed from the game, Ueda has gone on-record to say that the story and scenario has not changed. It's still the same game, only now it has been moved to PS4. So these guys are almost certainly still present.
Gameplay combines Ico and Shadow of the Colossus' mechanics
While we didn't actually play the game with our own hands, the demo is pretty clear about how movement works. You'll run and clamber around the environments as the boy, beckoning Trico in a similar way to calling Yorda in Ico. It also looks like there's a 'pet Trico' button, which is pretty awesome. Probably gonna wear that one out.
But that's where Shadow of the Colossus' mechanics kick in. When you're next to Trico, you'll be able to climb up his back (or swing from his tail) like he's a colossus in Shadow of the Colossus. You'll stop short of stabbing him in the brain, of course. Well, probably.... Hopefully. Unless that's where the 'Last Guardian' name comes from...
The relationship between the boy and Trico may not always have been good
Ueda has been very careful not to give away too much of the game's story, instead only outlining that the boy and Trico are escaping from this place - full of ancient ruins - after being captured. We don't know if that's separately or together. But when OPM's editor, Matt Pellett, saw the game at E3, he was under the impression that the relationship between the two may not always have been good.
Incidentally, while it isn't certain that the game takes place in the same universe as Ico, have you noticed that Trico has horns... and that they're broken? Ico's main theme was persecution for boys with horns, so it is probably more than simply damage from a struggle.
Trico eats barrels
Trico seems to love eating barrels. It's unclear exactly what they do for him, but barrels appeared in the first gameplay trailer five years ago and were present again in the behind-closed-doors demo at this year's E3.
It's entirely possible that they increase his strength/stamina, like Wander and his white-tailed lizards in Shadow of the Colossus, but that really is just conjecture. He might just like the way they crunch.
It was delayed because of technical difficulties
Fumito Ueda has been quoted as saying: "Obviously there were a number of reasons for the delay. If I had to call out one of them, it was more of a technical hurdle that we had to overcome. But eventually we have overcome it, and we have finally proudly announced the game for PS4 during the E3 press conference."
That said, don't expect the game any time soon. It might come out next year, but apparently there's still a lot of work left to do. Let the next inexorable wait for a fresh sighting start... now.
And underwater sections too
Again, the old demo showed the boy clinging onto Trico as the giant beast swum underwater. There wasn't any water in the new demo, but we are still talking about the same game, so if was in there before, it's likely it's still in there now.
It's funny, really. Despite the re-announcement and an extended demo of the game by it's main man, we still haven't actually learned that much more about it. And suddenly it seems a long way off again. Which it probably is, in fairness. Will it beat Shenmue 3 to the stores? At least that is a serious question, we can at least cling onto that.