The Last Guardian: To its prospective fans, it has the potential to transcend the orgy of button-mashing and virtual ultraviolence, thus joining its predecessors, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, as examples of "video games as art." To its detractors, it's a dull, heaping mound of pixelated "boring," appreciated primarily by self-styled "artsy" types who spend their nights listening to Chelsea Wolfe while smoking thin, black cigarettes and writing some kind of self-indulgent, psuedo-poetic dreck - and they're probably doing so on a Mac. D**ks.
Crude generalizations aside - for the record, I do own a Mac, rue the scarcity of thin, black cigarettes, and wear self-indulgence like a second skin - the wait for The Last Guardian has been most interminable. Yet casting doubt on the notion that The Last Guardian is a lie of the highest order, Shuhei Yoshida, Senior Vice President of product development at SCEA, confirmed In an interview with Wired that the team would be receiving help from SCE Santa Monica (among others), best known for developing the God of War series, in the interest of completing the long-awaited title.
The project has been noted for its long-than-expected development cycle, with Yoshida stating late last year that "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." Further complicating matters were reports that Fumito Ueda (lead designer and director of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) had left Sony - while the company confirmed the reports, Udea continues work on the project in a freelance capacity - sparking rumors that the game's fate was in jeopardy. Yoshida gave his take on the reports:
[...] it's not like he left the making of The Last Guardian. He's on top of the game and coming into the office. He could be the person who's in the office for the longest time. The difference is that he used to be a regular employee. But now we have a contract to define his role. It's a very special contribution and role that he plays and we agreed, let's make it more official, more special. That's the only difference.
Reactions await after the jump!
Overall, I'm a bit wary of this new revelation. On the one hand, I've thoroughly enjoyed the God of War series, despite the fact that when it comes to video games, I have a strict "don't trust whitey" policy. SCE Santa Monica has shown that they can put out a solid game - their eye for aesthetics, particularly the grand scale of GoW games has been quite impressive indeed - yet the purist in me would rather wait for Team Ico to finish the game on its own terms - something that is wholly unrealistic, given the business aspect of the video game industry.
Still, Santa Monica's involvement doesn't automatically spell doom for The Last Guardian - given enough talent and creative adaptability, programmers and artists from different backgrounds can suit the needs of such a project - but it does give me pause, given the innate tendency to bring one's own particular style, thus coloring the end result of a game that, like its predecessor, will probably be very dear to my heart.
What do you think gamers? Are you excited, apprehensive, or terribly, drearily indifferent? Sound off in the comments section below!