The Last Guardian Creative Lead On Why He Left Sony

By Ishaan . November 19, 2013 . 9:30am

In 2011, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus director Fumito Ueda announced that he had left the employ of Sony Computer Entertainment. Ueda, who was creative lead on The Last Guardian, stated that he was committed to finishing the game, regardless of the fact that he was now working on it in a freelance capacity.


In an interview with Edge magazine, Ueda briefly touches upon the matter of his resignation from Sony.


Regarding why he went freelance, Ueda says, “It’s difficult to explain, but in a nutshell it was because I felt a sense of crisis within myself about a lot of things. It’s hard to [say exactly what], but in terms of my own growth and career and so on.”


Ueda goes on to mention that Sony’s reaction to his departure “was not easy,” but that he is presently unable to provide further details on the subject. He adds, “It will be good to be able to discuss it along with a post-mortem of The Last Guardian someday.”


On the subject of The Last Guardian, Ueda says he’s still working on the game, among other secret projects. However, he adds: “In the case of The Last Guardian, 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.”

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  • Kj Kim

    What are you working on now?
    The Last Guardian and the rest is secret. Outside of games, well, just for a hobby, I’d like to try my hand at art.

    this is quite interesting. what is that “secret project”

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      He’s making the re-encumbrance of CacaoLand

  • OneOkami

    The apparent “development hell” this game has been through gives me cause for concern about the quality of the end product. I’d also be very interested know the details of the rift between Ueda’s creative work being “mostly finished a long time ago” and the game itself seeming to not be shipping anytime soon. I do remember reading an article what seems to be a long time ago about how the game has presented tremendous technical challenges and a lot of systems have had to be built and then rebuilt but I have to think there’s more to it than that.

    I’d love to read a post mortem on this game’s development someday.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      LA Noire was in development hell for 8 years. The employees were under pretty heavy duress. Was absolutely disgusting

      • Shippoyasha

        We should praise Rockstar for cracking the whip and pushing out the game.

        • Lelouch Vi Britannia

          of course lets not forget about another game in development hell for the longest time. The ever anticipated “Final Fantasy Versus XIII” which would at E3 become Final Fantasy XV.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Australia man.
          Place is touch.

          We should also take EA out. That place will make you bloody suicidal. They have an outside entry lock on their buildings too, which lead underground.

          To prevent escape of course.

          Before they fire you 6 months later on rotation

      • Max

        How come? It got high marks from video game sites/magazines. And it’s not even mainstream, it’s now more of an under the radar game.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Awful management and abusive publisher relationship. Not so Atypical for the AAA industry these days. Money is also poorly managed

          • Max

            Oh sorry, I thought by disgusting you meant the game, not the situation around developing it.

            But yeah, not so Atypical indeed.

    • Yause

      Technical challenge encompasses many things from how teams are organized (workflow) to the role of the creator. Building a game engine is only one piece of the puzzle.

      Japanese teams often have a craftsman’s approach to development in that each person is concerned with one small part of production. Within that role (running animation, water effects, clothing textures, dirt and spray, etc.), they chase perfection, and the technical side of the project is modified to facilitate the perfection they seek. I suppose that excessive encouragement of this chase would account for the constant rebuilding of systems.

      Craftsmanship worked well when games were small, but by building tech and workflow around narrow features, the team loses sight of the whole. There are no milestones to meet (since the vision is expected to evolve organically over time), and as projects have become so large, even the leads can lack a concrete idea of what the final result is supposed to be. Furthermore, the process becomes extremely slow and bureaucratic if the lead happens to be a perfectionist who exerts control over every last aspect of development.

      I can’t say if this is how The Last Guardian played out, but I suspect that Sony’s solution was for the creator to step back. Set the vision, end the chase for perfection, and hand things over for others to figure out.

  • Shippoyasha

    Sad to hear he had to deal with questions about professional growth but I suppose the way the way the project was so hyped to the stratosphere took some toll. Normally there are some kind of a work to be found for name recognized game development talent so he should be able to land on his feet somewhere. Reminds me of Yasumi Matsuno who almost had a mental and physical breakdown making FF12 and he had to quit mid way, while joining Level 5 later and now working with American companies.

    It seems it’s not only the code monkeys feeling the pressure, but the higher ups at a game development as well.

    Hearing of how Ono from Street Fighter nearly died from exhaustion and the Soul Calibur guy feeling the heat from publishers to rush out the Soul games is pretty saddening to me. Workaholic culture is admirable, but sometimes it has its darksides as well.

  • Göran Isacson

    Man, The Last Guardian. One can’t help but wonder what this game will look like when it finally materializes as an actual game. And what people will say about it’s development hell once all the NDA’s are null and void.

  • Xerain

    For anyone interested in what’s been going on with The Last Guardian, and who likes reading between the lines, these two interview contains a wealth of information about what’s been going on with it:
    Summary: It’s coming out for the PS4.
    Summary: Japan Studio spent a lot of time making lots games they never released in a very unorganized manner. Changes were made to ensure these games actually get released. Ueda was less than thrilled.

  • ZekeFreek

    What? Oh right… this still exists…. yeah…

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