Siliconera was invited to an extended preview of The Last Guardian lead by the game’s creative director, Fumito Ueda. The game is the product of collaboration between SCE Japan Studio and GenDesign, a new Indie studio helmed by Ueda and staffed by former Team Ico developers who played a crucial role in the development of Shadow of the Colossus and Ico.
The Last Guardian’s Story begins with a fated meeting between a kidnapped boy and Trico, the game’s iconic creature which Ueda notes is a mix between a dog, a bird, and a cat. “Our goal for Trico was to mix elements of common pets like dogs and cats with visual elements that would give it a wilder appearance,” Ueda said, “It is not the boy’s pet, but his companion. Both were imprisoned in these ruins and realize they can work together to escape.”
In this demo, the boy approaches the Sleeping Guardian and climbs atop its back. It seems that Trico was hurt during their last adventure in the ruins, as the boy pulls large wooden splinters from out of its back and wings. Ueda pulls the camera close to the boy, emphasizing the mysterious tattoos that cover his body. Perhaps these markings are related to his reason for exile?
After pulling the Splinters from Trico, the boy grabs one of the small barrels scattered about the circular chamber. As the boy approaches Trico, it bows like a dog waiting to play fetch. When the boy throws the barrel, Trico snaps it up out of the air and swallows it. “The player is never able to control Trico directly,” said Ueda, feeding the giant a few more barrels. “The player must learn to read Trico and respond to him accordingly.”
In the scene, Trico was whimpering lightly. It seems as though the player may need to care for Trico like a pet, feeding him before exploring more of the abandoned ruins. When the barrels in the chamber were seemingly gone, Trico stood on its hind legs to let the player climb to a hidden area above. More barrels were found up here and fed to Trico, after which it seemed his energy had returned.
“The game relies on you, the player, to form a relationship with Trico,” Ueda said, moving along a dimly lit boardwalk following the ceiling of the next area, “and you must use the boys nimbleness and Trico’s size to your advantage.” Ueda pulls a lever, which releases Trico from the circular chamber and allows them both to continue to the area shown in the preview at Sony’s press conference.
Ueda left some unexplained mysteries in the demo: Why do Trico’s eyes glow red when he sees the strange windmill device that the boy pushes into the abyss? Why was Triico hissing at it—was it to signal the player to get rid of it, or did It play a more significant role in the lore of The Last Guardian’s world?