The Last Guardian, released in Japan as Hitokui no Ōwashi Trico (人喰いの大鷲トリコ, Hitokui no Ōwashi Toriko, literally "The Great Man-Eating Eagle Toriko") is the third game by Team Ico. The game features elements from both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, though it is unknown whether the game is related to either one. The game was released in December 6, 2016.
The game is a third-person perspective game that combines action-adventure and puzzle elements. The player controls the unarmed boy who can run, jump, climb and perform other actions similar to the gameplay in Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The player may also need to use the environment to silently move around or defeat shadow-being guards, though initially the boy is weaponless. The guards, although slow-moving, can capture the boy, and if the player is unable to free the character in time, the game will be over.
The player's movements are augmented by interaction with Trico, whom the boy can climb upon and ride. As stated by Ueda, Trico is driven by his own instincts, and the player must figure out how to harness these to complete puzzles. For example, the player may have the boy throw a barrel that gains Trico's interest, causing it to move to a specific location. The player may have to have the boy jump as to coerce Trico to jump across a large gap. The player may also need to find the way for Trico to sit still in order to allow the player to complete a section, while the natural tendency of the creature is to run ahead of the player. Trico is able to fire a stream of lightning from its tail, which work along with a mirrored shield that the boy picks up during the game to enable the player to redirect this stream to solve environmental puzzles or attack foes. Unlike typical sidekicks in video games, which immediately react to a player's command, Trico will be difficult for the player to control, and may take several attempts to coerce the creature into performing a specific action. The player will have some idea of what Trico's current mood is not only by the motions of the creature, but by the color of its eyes, ranging from yellow for a cautious mood to purple representing anger and disgust.
The player will also have to care for the creature, either by feeding it or removing spears and arrows that are stuck in its body. Through the course of the game, the player will gain better command of the creature, an aspect Ueda considered equivalent to training a pet; initially in the game, the creature may wander off to explore something that interests it more than the boy, refuse to eat food it thinks smells badly, or choose to go to sleep when it wants to. By performing certain tasks, the player will be able to come to control Trico better, and Ueda believes "each player will have a different Trico to work with depending on how he or she chooses to interact with him". However, the player may still want to take advantage of the creature's natural habits; the game includes sections where by letting Trico roam free, new areas for exploration may open up.
The game starts out showing a disk-like object half-buried in the dirt, and children can be heard nearby as it glints in the sunlight.
A young boy with intricate marks on his skin wakes up in a strange cave, next to a large, man-eating, griffin-like beast known as Trico. He has a chain around its neck, his wings and armor are damaged and several spears protrude from his unconscious body. The Boy does not recall the tattoos being there before arriving at the cave. The wounded creature wakes up and is initially hostile towards the boy; on trying to remove the spears Trico knocks him into the wall. However, as the Boy removes the remaining spears and feeds Trico barrels of food, the beast starts to trust him. Removing the chain and shattered armor, the two set out through the tunnels together to find their way out. On the way, the boy finds a mirror and, upon directing its light, discovers he can use it to summon lightning from Trico’s tail, allowing them to destroy obstacles. However, the Boy must also destroy strange, butterfly eyespot-like talismans that put Trico in a fearful trance, rendering the beast useless.
Finding a way outside, the Boy attempts to leave Trico behind, but the beast has bonded to him and follows. Together, they navigate both open areas, tunnels, cliffs and caves, throughout which Trico must eat barrels to continue. On entering a peculiar room with strange apparatus on the walls, a magic response is triggered and Trico enters a ballistic trance, attacking the Boy and swallowing him whole. While unconscious, the Boy remembers flashes of what happened before coming to the cave, but nothing is clear. He wakes up again having been regurgitated by Trico, who is fast asleep, and cannot be woken up. While trying to escape again, the Boy is attacked by seemingly living suits of armor called the Armored Knights who attempt to seize him, but Trico wakes up and defeats them, defending the boy. As the pair progress, they defeat more knights along the way, who try to subdue Trico with talisman shields and spears, which the Boy must remove after a battle as well as calming Trico down.
Trico and the Boy encounter more dangerous terrain in the form of rickety wooden bridges over massive chasms, crumbling castles, and increasing numbers of knights, and the two often barely escape death. In attempting to escape a falling tower, Trico and the Boy briefly encounter another Trico-like beast in full armor and openly hostile, who knocks Trico down a cliff. Despite the fall, the two survive and move onwards. After solving more puzzles, the two make their way through a set of flooded tunnels, but the Boy nearly drowns and the two become separated. While looking for Trico, the Boy encounters the armored beast again and escapes death by hiding in a metal cage, but with no way to get out of it again. The hostile beast leaves and Trico arrives soon after, helping the Boy escape the cage. The two later find yet another room with the entrancing apparatus, which again causes Trico to swallow the Boy.
In a flashback, Trico, in full armor and with complete wings, arrives at the Boy’s village in the night and puts the Boy under a trance. The alerted villagers attempt to stop Trico, wounding him with spears, but to no avail as Trico swallows the child and flies away. Trico tries to bring the Boy back to a mysterious place called “The Nest”, a massive valley surrounded by towering, unscalable mountains. However, lightning strikes Trico, breaking its wings, and the two fall into the Nest. The Knights find the unconscious Trico, and chain it up in the cave where they start. While asleep, Trico regurgitates the Boy.
Back in the present, Trico and the Boy wake up. Trico also regurgitates the mirror, granting use of Trico’s powerful energy attack again. Realizing that the only way out of the Nest is by air, and since Trico’s wings had not yet healed, they make their way to a citadel, the tallest tower of all, in the middle of the Nest where they are ambushed by a large army of Knights. While initially paralyzed by talismans, Trico overcomes his fear and rescues the Boy and they escape, using Trico’s partially healed wings to glide to safety. While finding another way into the tall tower, the Armored Trico attacks again, initially ignoring Trico until Trico defends the Boy. The armored beast quickly gets the upper hand, nearly defeating Trico, but it leaves again.
Determined to escape, Trico and the Boy manage to gain entrance to the citadel and defeat the horde of Knights guarding it. There, they discover the Master of the Valley, an evil being resembling an orb of darkness, who controls the Knights and the other Trico-beasts. It is revealed that the beasts are made to bring children to the Master, who consumes them to keep itself alive. Sensing a threat, the Master summons a large number of armored beasts to the citadel. One of them attacks the boy and Trico rushes to defend him. The valiant protector tries to stand his ground but is quickly overwhelmed and his tail is severed. However, the tail falls into the Master’s chamber and the boy uses the mirror to destroy the Master, releasing control on the Trico-beasts forever. As the other beasts, horribly disoriented, fall from the sky, a badly wounded Trico stands over the unconscious boy, and decides that it is time to return the boy to his home village. Weakened but able to truly fly now, Trico barely clears the valley walls, carrying the boy home.
Crash-landing in the village, Trico gives the boy back to the elders as the warriors surround him with spears in hand. Knowing Trico was in danger, the boy, before passing out again, orders him to leave. Trico flies away, and the boy, narrating as an older man, states he feared that Trico would not live much longer, and concludes the telling of their “extraordinary story.”
Some time later, several village children find the mirror in the dirt. The boy, now a man, takes the mirror and summons its light. Zooming through the sky and clouds, the scene returns to the Nest and winds through now-familiar caves into the cave where the adventure began. In the shadows, two pairs of large, green eyes appear, one smaller than the other, and two Tricos can be heard, one younger than the other.
The BoyServing as the main protagonist and only playable character, The Boy is an unnamed child from a human village. He looks to be around ten years old, has dark hair, olive skin, wears a white, orange, and black robe, and is about 4'5". He wears sandals sometimes, and, for most of the game, his skin is covered in intricate tattoos that increase in complexity over time. He carries no possessions with him, except for the Mirror which he acquires early in the game.
The boy was chosen to serve as sustenance for the Master of the Valley and would have suffered the same fate as many children had not lightning brought the beast down. It is unsure if he was chosen for a reason or if he was simply chosen at random out of a room of sleeping children.
The boy is kind and intuitive, as he seeks to comfort Trico either by keeping him well fed, calming him down, being affectionate, and removing spears to let him heal. The boy also seems to be intelligent (although this can depend on the player) as most pathfinding and puzzle solving is accomplished by him.
While incapable of combat beyond headbutting and knocking Armored Knights off-balance, the boy is very useful to Trico, in that he is able to approach the odd talismans that render the beast useless. He also is small enough to access areas that the large creature cannot.
TricoThe secondary protagonist, Trico is a massive, hybridized beast, closely resembling a griffin with dog-like features. His body is covered in gray feathers and the horns glow bright blue. His eyes project its mood: green means the beast is calm, pink means he is scared or hostile, and white means he is interested or excited. Early in the game, Trico's horns and wings are broken, but heal as the game progresses.
One of a number of griffin-like beasts, Trico is a servant to the Master of the Valley and brings human children for it to consume. On returning with the Boy, he is struck by lightning and badly injured. Bonding with and released from chains by the boy, he helps and accompanies the boy as the two attempt to leave the Nest. Over the course of the game, the bond between the two strengthens, to the point where Trico willingly defends the boy from anything with no thought to his own safety.
Trico can be best described as behaving like a giant dog. Once the beast trusts someone, Trico will stay close by and even seek affection in the form of being feed or even petting. Once fully bonded to a person, he will fight to the death to protect that person, even taking on a large pack of armored Tricos without a second thought. Trico can get so worked up that he needs to be calmed down after a fight.
Trico combines grace, speed, and power with all of his attributes. He is immensely strong, able to smash obstacles and enemies like Knights with ease. Trico can also leap extremely high, run very fast, and can even fly when his wings are healed. The beast is incredibly resilient, surviving high falls, sword and spear wounds, losing fights with other Tricos, only to get up and keep moving. Trico's main weakness are the strange talismans the two encounter, as they render him petrified in fear or in a trance. Also, Trico's size prevents him from entering small spaces, although not from lack of trying.
Trico also seems able to resist the call of the Master, although not completely.
The Master of the Valley
The final antagonist of the game, the Master of the Valley is a dark, supernatural entity. Residing in the citadel, it is an immobile orb of darkness with green runes all over it. Its shape can change slightly, and it projects a shield around itself that can ward off physical attacks.
It is unsure where the Master came from or how long it has existed, but given how old the Nest is (according to legend) the Master has been around for a long time. An evil entity, it controls an army of living suits of armor called Armored Knights and winged beasts called Tricos, which the Master uses to kidnap children and bring them to the citadel, where it consumes them to sustain itself. While not very apparent at first, the Master is discovered residing in the top of the Citadel, where it broadcasts its influence over its domain
The Master is an evil being with little concerned for the lives of others and seems most concerned with keeping itself alive by consuming human children.
While seemingly a stationary ball of evil, the Master is a powerful being. Able to mind control the Tricos and Knights, it can take what it wants and destroy what it does not. The Master can also project a shield around itself that repels and stuns anyone who touches it. It can be guessed that the Master perhaps created the Nest itself, and maybe even holds the entire place together, as upon its destruction parts of the citadel and surrounding towers crumble and collapse. It mind controls the Tricos to such an extent that, once out of that control, the beasts temporarily cannot think or function as evidenced by falling out of the sky or off the citadel.
All the power of the Master seems to be derived from consuming human children.
No one is sure what the Master of the Valley even is. Perhaps a god, perhaps a human become immortal by shedding their body, maybe some alien intelligence or some form of hyper-advanced ancient technology. Another thought is that the Master is just an avatar or figurehead of some powerful being that we have yet to see.
Armored Knights and Tricos
The main encountered enemies that Trico and the Boy must combat, these minions of the Master of the Valley do its bidding. The Knights wear what looks like weathered blue bronze armor resembling Samurai armor, but in fact are just air inside the suit as evidenced by how they disintegrate when destroyed. The Armored Tricos look identical to Trico apart from the extensive amount of armor plating on their heads, necks, and bodies. Their eyes are always red as they are always hostile.
No one knows where the Tricos or Knights came from. It is likely the Knights were created by the Master and the Armored Tricos were either also created or tamed for use by the Master as "foragers" for children. Knights are encountered first and, while dangerous to the Boy, stand little chance against Trico even whilst in large groups. Armored Tricos, however, are dangerous even though only one is encountered until the end of the game.
These unfortunate beasts and hollow suits of armor have no will of their own. Knights blindly attack Trico and the Boy without a thought and do not run in fear at the beast's presence. Armored Tricos are bold enemies, and highly effective at taking down Trico and a far more serious threat to the Boy. However, they too answer to the Master.
The Knights employ a number of abilities when attacking. Their main attack on the Boy is to chase and grab him, dragging or carrying him through mysterious blue doors into portals to never return (if the boy does not escape or is rescued first). If the Boy is out of reach (up a ladder or across a chasm) they cast spells that slow down and paralyze the boy if enough connect. When fighting Trico, the Knights largely use swords and spears, although swords have no effect while spears only mildly inhibit the beast's movement. Some Knights carry talisman shields that hold back the beast, and these must be knocked out of the Knight's hands for Trico to take them out.Armored Tricos are very dangerous, even if Trico is around. They have all the agility and strength of Trico and their armor gives them an advantage, and they can easily knock Trico over and grab the beast by its throat, choking him to death. One Armored Trico even manages to rip the end of Trico's tail off. When attacking the boy, they will knock him down with a swipe of a claw and then proceed to swallow him alive.
The creation of The Last Guardian stemmed from the interaction between Wander and Agro in Shadow of the Colossus. Fumito Ueda wanted to make the interaction between the two characters a much more prominent focus, and spent a lot of time on Trico's design. There are elements of a cat, dog, bird, and many other animals in the creature, with a goal of having it look strange but very familiar, lifelike, and realistic.
The team also wished to incorporate a thorough physics engine into the game. A few scenes in the trailer shows the boy throwing a barrel at Trico, who then bites down and eats it. The entire process is fully based on that physics engine, including the contact of the barrel with the creature's beak and the contents of the barrel as it goes down its throat. Each of the creature's feathers is a separate entity in the physics engine, creating a very realistic effect when they ripple in the wind or when Trico moves swiftly.
The Last Guardian Press / Development
October 18th, 2005 - Team Ico releases their last original game, Shadow of the Colossus
It's reported that Team Ico was just experimenting with new ideas in this time period, like deciding between a PSP and PS3 project, etc.
Fumito Ueda: "If we were to make our next game, it would, naturally, be on the PS3"
February 2007 - Team Ico suggests that its new game was in the early phases of design
May 18th, 2007 - Sony reveals that Team Ico is developing two games
January 24th, 2008 - Team Ico releases teaser image about their next big project, states it's heading to PS3.
August 4th, 2008 - Shuhei Yoshida: "Team Ico has something really, really good on the way."
August 6th, 2008 - Fumito Ueda says the new project has a long way to go before finishing development
August 28th, 2008 - Shuhei Yoshida: "The project isn't ready to show at TGS 2008"
March 25th, 2009 - Fumito Ueda says the essence of the new project will be similar to Ico
May 19th, 2009 - First footage of the game "Project Trico" leaks online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF3fED8EXl4
June 2nd, 2009 - Sony reveals the above video in greater length at E3 2009, calling the game "The Last Guardian" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHzHoMT5eRg
June 3rd, 2009 - Fumito Ueda talks about The Last Guardian's gameplay
September 23rd, 2009 - The Last Guardian shows up at TGS 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fAHqFrH79Y
February 3rd, 2010 - Fumito Ueda says that we will learn more information about TLG soon
June 22nd, 2010 - TLG doesn't show up at E3 2010
September 16th, 2010 - TLG shows up at TGS 2010 with a new trailer and a promise for a Holiday 2011 release http://www.viddler.com/embed/7050afe...t=0&autoplay=0 http://www.viddler.com/file/7050afe2/html5/
September 24th, 2010 - Fumito Ueda talks more about TLG
March 2nd, 2011 - Team Ico was going to include a TLG demo in Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection; it doesn't work out
March 2nd, 2011 - A demo of TLG was apparently shown to Sony employees / press internally
April 20th, 2011 - Fumito Ueda delays TLG from Holiday 2011
September 8th, 2011 - TLG is nowhere to be found at E3 2011 or TGS 2011, Sony states that the development team is hard at work to deliver "the very best gaming experience possible"
September 22nd, 2011 - The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection releases, a few staff members from Team Ico oversaw the project but it was mainly developed by Bluepoint Games
November 30th, 2011 - Reports surface that Fumito Ueda leaves Sony and becomes an independent freelancer, still working on the project
December 12th, 2011 - Sony confirms the game is still in development, Sony confirms that Executive Producer / Director of the project Fumito Ueda has quit Sony but stays attached to the project as a freelancer
Development of The Last Guardian moved from the PlayStation®3 to the PlayStation®4.
February 10th, 2012 - Shuhei Yoshida states TLG is making "progress, but slow progress," and it's "tough," but "it's still a really important project" so "there's some scrapping and rebuilding - iteration in the process"
February 14th, 2012 - Fumito Ueda confirms that development for the game is challenging, but it will come out
February 16th, 2012 - Sony states that Sony Santa Monica will help finish the game
June 5-6, 2012 - Nothing at E3, Yoshida blames "technical difficulties" as the reason, Scott Rhode says TLG will release "when it's done"
August 9th, 2012 - Sony re-registers trademark, reconfirms game is in development
August 15th, 2012 - Shuhei Yoshida: "They had to redo some of the work they had done"
November 7th, 2012 - Doesn't show up at TGS 2012, Shuhei Yoshida: "They're working hard on the project," refuses to commit to a 2013 release
February 13th, 2013 - Rumours start to emerge that TLG has been shifted development to a PS4 title for a while now and that it has been restarted a number of times
February 13th, 2013 - Fumito Ueda confirms the game is still in development under his supervision
February 22nd, 2013 - Shuhei Yoshida: "We're waiting for the right time to re-introduce TLG"
June 11th, 2013 - TLG doesn't show up at E3 2013, and Jack Tretton states the game is "on hiatus" but "has not gone away"," Shuhei Yoshida quickly rebuts that with "the game is in active development"
August 21st, 2013 - Fumito Ueda: "The Last Guardian is still in development, but other projects such as Puppeteer and Knack currently taking higher priority"
October 10th, 2013 - Doesn't show up at TGS 2013, Shuhei Yoshida: "A smaller team is re-engineering the game"
November 19th, 2013 - Fumito Ueda states that he is "terribly sorry" it has taken so long to finish The Last Guardian, and that "my creative work was mostly finished a long time ago," but "the details of when, where, and how it will be completed are beyond my control."
March 12th, 2014 - Scott Rhode: "We're not not going to announce what platform it’s coming on, who’s working on it, who’s involved. But that is still a title that’s absolutely in the mix at Worldwide Studios. That’s the most you’re gonna get.” He also adds that he "loves that people are still interested in it."
June 8th, 2014 - IGN starts a rumour that TLG has been cancelled in an internal meeting the prior week, cites Sony Russia exec. as the source, Scott Rhode + Yoshida "laughed at this rumor over dinner" and reiterated on Twitter "TLG has NOT been cancelled."
June 9th, 2014 - TLG doesn't show up at E3 2014, and Shawn Layden says that, "on an occasion in the future," he will "talk more about what that progress looks like / what that route to market is going to look like" regarding TLG
June 12th, 2014 - Shuhei Yoshida: "It exists. The team is working hard on it. When we cancel a title and it is something we have announced already, we'll say so."
February 17th, 2015 - The Last Guardian trademark has been reissued by the original name holder, marked as the fourth time it's been re-protected. 
June 15th, 2015 - The Last Guardian has finally been officially re-revealed during the Sony press conference at E3 as a PlayStation®4 exclusive with a 2016 release date. The re-reveal came in the shape of a gameplay trailer, showing off the interaction between the Trico and the player-controlled character. 
June 17, 2015 - Shuhei Yoshida told Kotaku that development of The Last Guardian was changed from the PlayStation®3 to the PlayStation®4 because "the announcement trailer of 2009 wasn't representative of how the game actually performed - but was "specced up" for the occasion". In reality, "the game was running on a much lower frame rate"
In 2011, "progress became very slow. There were a lot of technical issues. The game was not performing at speed. The game was running on a much lower frame rate. Some features were still missing. "
"It was clear that the team had to make a compromise in terms of features, as the PlayStation®3 hardware struggled to cope with the game's vision".
“So it was clear that the team had to make a compromise in terms of features and number of characters so while they were taking time, the engineering team ported the code on the SPU [processors of the PS3] to improve the performance, but it was taking lots of time.
“But, in the meantime PS4 arrived, the development environment was available. So in 2012 it became apparent we should move it to PS4 to achieve the visual [ideal.]”
In the same interview, Yoshida stated “We have a certain level of confidence about the launch window, which is why we showed it.”
On the same day, Fumito Ueda announced he had formed a small game development studio in 2014 named genDesign located in Koto-ku, Tokyo.  This studio is comprised of people that worked with Ueda on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. 2015 Team ico released a gameplay trailer. Showing how the game works and new features. One including a strange tower that Trico does not dare go near. Judging by his hostility to the tower and his eyes briefly turning purple, it is implied that it is a tower that summons an invisible chain so that he cant go through and does damage to him.
Pre-trailer media (2007-2009)
The project was first revealed in a full-page advertisement in Famitsu, a Japanese gaming magazine, on February 14, 2007. The advert featured some rough concept sketches on note paper. The page also stated that it was recruiting members for both the technical and art departments. Shortly after, a single screenshot of a chain leading into a small hole (right) was released; it would be the only released media from the game for over two years.
Debut TrailerA trailer for the game was illegally leaked by the PlayStation LifeStyle blog on May 19, 2009. This trailer showed a boy being chased by the creature, which also dispatches an armored guard with a single swipe of his talon-like claws. It chases the boy to the edge of a chasm, but rescues him instead. The boy quickly climbs aboard, and the two set off exploring together.
On June 2, 2009, an updated and extended version of the trailer was shown at E3.
- ↑ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-06-17-ps3-last-guardian-trailer-was-specced-up-for-the-occasion
- ↑ http://kotaku.com/what-happened-to-the-last-guardian-1711835457
- ↑ https://twitter.com/fumito_ueda/status/610639871070203905
- ↑ https://twitter.com/fumito_ueda/status/610639871070203905
E3 2015 Re-reveal (PlayStation®4 in-game screenshots)
The Last Guardian - gen Design
Promotional material as displayed on genDesign.co.jp
The Last Guardian Concept Art
Concept art as displayed on genDesign.co.jp
The first trailer (leaked) and final version
Pictures from the leaked trailer
The PlayStation Lifestyle also illegally leaked a few images not found in the trailer.
- Official Japanese website
- Interview with Fumito Ueda about the game
- PlayStation LifeStyle - Team Ico's Next Game Revealed