We feared the day would never come. After years of delays and silence, The Last Guardian is ready to make a return to the world of the living. But like a small boy climbing the feathered tail of an enormous gryphon...dog...thing... The Last Guardian has some pretty monumental hurdles in front of it. Will a near-decade of hype hinder this long-awaited game, or underscore how ahead of its time it was?
We're fast approaching what once seemed like a dream: The Last Guardian's release date. And with demos, interviews, and hands-on time under our belts, we're happy to help you out. Here's everything we know - and everything you need to know - about The Last Guardian so far.
Let's just get this most obvious of statements out of the way, shall we? The Last Guardian, formerly known as Project Trico, has been in the works for nine years. Fans, meanwhile, have been waiting with drooling anticipation since E3 2009. We know, because we compiled a complete history of The Last Guardian not coming out.
While The Last Guardian as we currently know it (that is to say, the PS4 version) was originally slated for October 25, one final delay has pushed its release date to December 6.
Like any good heavily-marketed game in 2016, The Last Guardian will have a Collector's Edition. It features a steelbook case, a digital copy of the game's soundtrack, a sticker sheet, a 72-page artbook, and a statue of Trico curled into an adorable ball, with the boy standing on his head like a lookout. It's available for pre-order for $120 / £105.
The Last Guardian is directed by Fumito Ueda, the director and driving force behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Not surprisingly, this game will combine mechanics from both of these. You'll run and clamber around the environments as the boy, beckoning Trico in a similar way to calling Yorda in Ico. It also looks like there's a 'pet Trico' button, which is 1) pretty awesome, and 2) similar to the 'pet Agro' button in Shadow of the Colossus. Probably gonna wear that one out.
Mind you, petting your animal companion isn't the only way SotC and The Last Guardian are similar. When you're next to Trico, you'll be able to climb up his back (or swing from his tail) like he's a colossus. You'll stop short of stabbing him, of course. Who could hurt such a precious widdle face?
Trico is the official name for the large, furry beast thing that appears to be your companion for most of the game. Trico is a play on 'Ico' and 'Tri', of course, and was the affectionate nickname for the game itself before the Last Guardian title was announced.
And while our big friend there will no doubt be a major focus of both story and gameplay, a demo of the game which took place 5-10 minutes before the E3 2015 stage presentation showed the boy indoors, walking through grass and climbing up through a gate, where he discovers Trico sleeping. It appears there will be some spots where we'll have to go it alone.
According to Ueda, the E3 2015 demo is taken from around midway through the game, so Trico and the boy have had time to build up their relationship before being separated. If you remember, the very first teaser image of the game showed a large metal chain coming from a hole in the floor. It seems that Trico has been imprisoned.
You may have a giant gryphon on your side, but that doesn't make you all-powerful. Obstacles such as the aforementioned symbols can impede your progress or even harm Trico. It remains to be seen why Trico is scared of these symbols, or who left them there in the first place. But there are some likely candidates you may have forgotten about...
Something that wasn't shown during the E3 2015 re-reveal was the strange, golem-like sentinels featured in the game's previous reveal. That old trailer showed the boy throwing objects at them and using environmental hazards to defeat them. The boy hides from them, Trico appears to kill one... it looks like they're the new 'shadowy beasts', to draw a parallel with Ico.
Ueda has been very careful not to give away too much of the game's story, instead only outlining that the boy and Trico are escaping from this place - full of ancient ruins - after being captured. We don't know if that's separately or together. But when OPM's editor, Matt Pellett, saw the game at E3, he was under the impression that the relationship between the two may not always have been good.
Incidentally, while it isn't certain that the game takes place in the same universe as Ico, have you noticed that Trico has horns... and that they're broken? Ico's main theme was persecution for boys with horns, and Shadow of the Colossus' post-credits tease likewise featured a male with sharp nubs growing out of his forehead. If nothing else, there's a visual theme that seems to connect these games.
Trico seems to love eating barrels. It's unclear exactly what they do for him, but barrels appeared in the first gameplay trailer five years ago and have been present again in various demos and previews.
It's entirely possible that they increase his strength/stamina, like Wander and his white-tailed lizards in Shadow of the Colossus, but that really is just conjecture. He might just like the way they crunch.