Sony had plenty of surprise announcements during this year’s E3 press conference, including an official confirmation of a Final Fantasy 7 HD remake and a KickStarter for the long-awaited Shenmue 3. However, the company started its conference with gameplay from the oft-delayed The Last Guardian, which will debut for PS4 in 2016.
The game, which initially started as a PlayStation 3 project under Team Ico (Shadow of the Colossus, Ico), features a unique team-up between a young boy and a large, dog-like creature with a gigantic tail. The two form an unlikely kinship as they work through a large, troublesome world, overcoming the odds and relying on each other’s skills in order to make it to the next area.
Upon seeing the demo for Guardian, it’s easy to spot the Team Ico influence. It doesn’t rely on violence so much as unique puzzle-solving, as you utilize each character in different sections.
For instance, in one particular area, the boy has to make his way across a large, rickety platform, while the creature, Trico, stands idly by on another. The boy must push a large barrel at the end of the platform in order to open up a new path for his friend, and then scramble out of harm’s way quickly enough to avoid falling to his doom. This is where Trico can save him, either by grabbing the boy with its mouth or using its large, massive tail to lead the boy to safety.
The child isn’t completely helpless by any means. Along with pushing objects in the world, he can also climb atop Trico and relieve him of any pain-inducing objects, like spears that become embedded in its back when under attack, or feeding it wooden barrels, which it seems to enjoy eating quite a bit. Doing these things will help the characters become more trusting of one another.
There are certain mysteries that need to be solved with each stop the pair makes. For instance, in one section of the game, Trico’s eyes begin glowing red, and the creature becomes enraged when it comes across a sacred temple. The boy must figure out what angers his buddy, and push the temple aside long enough so the creature can get through.
Considering it’s been in development for what seems like ages, director Fumito Ueda and his team managed to build an incredible looking world thus far, where exploration plays just as big a role as confronting certain enemies. It’s built with magic and wonder throughout, but also danger, which will force players to react carefully to certain scenarios. There are definitely traits in common with Team Ico’s previous efforts, especially when it comes to large creatures and making sure you don’t make too many mistakes.
There wasn’t nearly enough time with The Last Guardian demo, but it set the stage for what will essentially be one of Sony’s biggest PS4 exclusives next year. We’ll see how it fares soon enough.
Don’t forget to watch the awesome Last Guardian game footage below, straight from E3!