‘The Last Guardian’ Release Date Finally Set: Why Did It Take So Long?

The Last Guardian finally has a release date. After almost 10 years in development, game studio genDESIGN plans to have the game out on October 25, 2016.

Team Ico began working on Guardian in 2007. Development was headed up by Fumito Ueda, the mind behind the games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Over the last several years, the title has received a lot of media attention. Unfortunately, most of the news has been bad.

The Inquisitr first reported on The Last Guardian in 2010. At that time, Team Ico had announced that the title would be released on the PlayStation 3 during the 2011 holiday season. Not a lot was known about the game at the time other than what was shown in the 2010 trailer, but that was enough to get fans excited.

The Last Guardian locales

“In ICO you had a girl (the useless Yorda), and in Shadow of Colossus a horse (the awesome Argo), here you have a, uh … cat … chihuahua … eagle … bird creature thing. Okay, so I don’t know what this is. All I know is I want to play with that [game] until it [the creature] inevitably dies at the end and I cry about it like the giant man-baby.”

The 2011 holidays came and went, but The Last Guardian did not see store shelves. GameStop began telling customers that the game had been cancelled, but Sony assured the public that the title was still in the works. It insisted that the development had just been delayed. Sony said to expect the game in 2012.

However, at that time several factors were contributing to holding up The Last Guardian. One was that the PlayStation 4 was nearing its release date. So the development team was considering a redesign for release on the PS4 instead of the PS3.

The primary reason for the slowdown was because Fumito Ueda left Sony. According to Gamasutra, Ueda left Sony in 2012 for unspecified reasons but was still under contract to finish The Last Guardian. It later came out that it was not just Fumito who had left Sony, but several other members of Team Ico quit or were cut loose as well.

How Sony was going to ensure that the title got finished when most of the team was already out the door was anyone’s guess. How could they plan the release of a game when the development team had left the studio? This mess caused more delays, which frustrated Sony and gamers alike.

For two years, the game was in a state of stasis, reported IGN. Then, in 2014, Ueda and Jinji Horagai, who had been the lead programmer on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, formed a studio called genDESIGN. Along with several members of the original Team Ico, they began working on The Last Guardian again.

With work again under way, Guardian still battled rumors of cancellation, but these were all found to be erroneous. The Inquisitr pointed out that in the early summer of 2014, IGN mistakenly reported that the game had been cancelled and later apologized for the error.

Then in February 2015, the trademark on The Last Guardian expired, leading to speculation that the anxiously awaited title might have been cancelled or that Sony might be considering a name change. Both of those rumors turned out to be wrong when Sony showed a new trailer for The Last Guardian at E3 2016 and announced that it would be ready for purchase on October 25 of this year.

While some fans are complaining about how long it took, most are breathing a collective sigh of relief on Twitter.

The Last Guardian climbing Trico
While The Last Guardian is not a sequel to either Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, it does share the same style and aesthetic as its predecessors. The environments are breathtaking, detailed, and expansive. The scale of the creature, named Trico, and the architecture is similar as well. Shadow had the player climbing Colossi to slay them. In Guardian, the player will climb Trico in a similar fashion, but this time, the big beast is a friend and ally. Trico plays an integral role in figuring out some, if not most, of the puzzle elements in the game.

If you were a fan of Ico and Colossus, then dust off your controller. The wait is almost over. The Last Guardian will be available before Halloween.

[Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment]