- The Last Guardian release date: December 6, 2016
- Formats: PlayStation 4
- Developer: genDESIGN, Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan
- Price: $59.99 / £54.99 (Standard Edition)
The Last Guardian is a real game that's really coming out. Really. After more than half a decade of delays and promises that the next game from Ico and Shadow of the Colossus director Fumito Ueda was still in development, we're almost to the finish line.
We're fast approaching what once seemed like a dream: The Last Guardian's release date. And with demos, interviews, and hands-on time under our belts, we're happy to help you out by sharing everything we know - and everything you need to know - about The Last Guardian so far.
It's been a long time coming
Let's just get this most obvious of statements out of the way, shall we? The Last Guardian, formerly known as Project Trico, has been in the works for nine years. Fans, meanwhile, have been waiting with drooling anticipation since E3 2009. We know, because we compiled a complete history of The Last Guardian not coming out.
While The Last Guardian as we currently know it (that is to say, the PS4 version) was originally slated for October 25, one final delay has pushed its release date to December 6.
There's a (gorgeous) Collector's Edition
Like any good heavily-marketed game in 2016, The Last Guardian will have a Collector's Edition. It features a steelbook case, a digital copy of the game's soundtrack, a sticker sheet, a 72-page artbook, and a statue of Trico curled into an adorable ball, with the boy standing on his head like a lookout. It's available for pre-order for $120 / £105.
Gameplay combines Ico and Shadow of the Colossus' mechanics
The Last Guardian is directed by Fumito Ueda, the director and driving force behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Not surprisingly, this game will combine mechanics from both of these. 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 1) pretty awesome, and 2) similar to the 'pet Agro' button in Shadow of the Colossus. Probably gonna wear that one out.
Mind you, petting your animal companion isn't the only way SotC and The Last Guardian are similar. 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. You'll stop short of stabbing him, of course. Who could hurt such a precious widdle face?
You don't spend the whole game with Trico
Trico is the official name for the large, furry beast 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.
And while our big friend there will no doubt be a major focus of both story and gameplay, a demo of the game which took place 5-10 minutes before the E3 2015 stage presentation showed the boy indoors, walking through grass and climbing up through a gate, where he discovers Trico sleeping. It appears there will be some spots where we'll have to go it alone.
The E3 demo was taken from about halfway through the game
According to Ueda, the E3 2015 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 has been imprisoned.
Trico gets scared, or ever hurt, by symbols
You may have a giant gryphon on your side, but that doesn't make you all-powerful. Obstacles such as the aforementioned symbols can impede your progress or even harm Trico. It remains to be seen why Trico is scared of these symbols, or who left them 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 shown during the E3 2015 re-reveal was the strange, golem-like sentinels 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.
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, and Shadow of the Colossus' post-credits tease likewise featured a male with sharp nubs growing out of his forehead. If nothing else, there's a visual theme that seems to connect these games.
Trico thinks barrels are delicious
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 have been present again in various demos and previews.
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.