Is Anyone Else Worried The Last Guardian Will Fail Miserably?
Nine years is a long time. The talented team that brought us the revered ICO and Shadow of the Colossus PS2 titles started work on a promising new IP for PlayStation 3 way back in 2007 (at the time, the PS3 had been out for less than a year), and The Last Guardian was officially announced at E3 2009 and given a tentative launch date of 2011. That was merely the start of the fiasco, as this project has been on and off the radar ever since. There were many times when cancellation rumors swirled and we all remember when Team ICO boss Fumito Ueda left Sony to go freelance on his own.
None of this was good news. Even the most die-hard PlayStation fans started to give up hope. Then, when Guardian reemerged at E3 2015, that hope returned and the hype once again began to build. Mysteriously, however, we heard next to nothing about the game for the remainder of the year and when we finally got a new release date (October 2016), we breathed a collective sigh of relief. Ah, but we should’ve known better. The game has since been delayed again and is currently slated for December. I suppose there’s no reason to believe it’ll be pushed back yet again but at this point, what should we believe?
Projects that are in development for this long, ones that actually cross over generations of console hardware, don’t often fare well. We all remember the mess that ultimately was Duke Nukem Forever but that’s really only one example. And frankly, I’m not seeing promising signs from Sony concerning Guardian. They still don’t promote their exclusives well enough but even after the title came back on the scene last year, it’s like Sony doesn’t really want to talk about it. This game has to have the least amount of build-up and hype of any major title in 2016, wouldn’t you agree? We’re seeing very little in the way of trailers and gameplay, ads, interviews, etc. This does not give me the warm fuzzies.
Throughout the game’s troubled development process, it was clear that the designers and publishers were at constant odds. Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida is on the record saying Ueda is an extremely difficult guy to work with, and the game’s core structure and vision had to change multiple times. Furthermore, it seems nobody on the team has much interest in talking about the game. Even now, with just a few months before its launch, where are the Guardian headlines? Where are the new gameplay trailers that make us all “ooh” and “aah?” Where are the in-depth interviews with the creators that we often see before a big game hits store shelves? In brief, what do we really know about this title?
Now, I’m not one of those people who believes we should over-promote games, and I don’t like watching endless videos because yes, that can spoil the experience. But it’s notable that in this industry where online promotion is absolutely critical for a title’s success, we’re seeing very, very little about Guardian. Perhaps the reason it was delayed is because Sony wanted to give it its own little window, a little breathing room. You know, to avoid butting heads with the heavy hitters like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1. And for a new IP whose genre is definitely undefined, that’s not a bad idea. Besides, historically, not much comes out in December; all the big holiday titles tend to drop in October and November.
Even so, there’s plenty of reason to be concerned. I have faith that Sony wouldn’t release a first-party piece of junk (when’s the last time that happened?) but at the same time, expectations are absolutely through the roof. On top of which, we’re being given no positive indications from a promotional standpoint…it’s almost as if Sony wants to keep the game under wraps for some bizarre reason. Perhaps internal expectations aren’t very high, or maybe they see the audience as being very niche. That still doesn’t explain this lax attitude toward promotion, and why people still have a lot of questions about the actual gameplay. Gamers had some gameplay questions about No Man’s Sky, too, and that has fallen off the planet after starting well.
It’s just a little worrisome, is all. I hope for the best as everyone else does, but reservations unfortunately linger.