2011... ACTIVATE! The Last Guardian

Go away 2010. You were rubbish. It’s now all about 2011, and the games we can’t wait to play. That’s why throughout the first couple of weeks of January I’m going to be going through some of the games I’m most looking forward to in the coming year. Today's game? The Last Guardian.

The Last Guardian When Steven Spielberg rattled off some nonsense about games becoming legitimate art when they made people "cry" I thought to myself, "shut up Spielnerd".

Games have been making me cry for years. I cried when my parents bought me Superman 64 for Christmas. I cried when I found out that Jet Set Willy was legitimately uncompletable - and I cried bitter, bitter tears when I realised my six year old legs weren't long enough to reach the pedals in Hard Drivin'. Short Round-style pedal blocks weren't going to cut it.

And you know what? I am 99.9% sure that The Last Guardian will make me cry.

Hell, even the bloody trailer had me welling up. And I've watched it at least 47 times. There's just something about the sacred bond between boy and cat-dog-bird that sets me off. Maybe it's the fact that I grew up in a household of pets, maybe it's my unnatural love for The Neverending Story, but the idea of building up this symbiotic relationship is one that I have absolute faith will translate brilliantly - in both an aesthetic and functional way.

In Ico, Fumita Ueda gave us the 'hand-holding' mechanic - a simple innovation that created an instant emotional connection. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the connection between The Last Guardian's protagonist and the Cat-Bird-Thing will be just as tangible. The expectation is, of course, that said Cat-Bird-Thing will die protecting the boy in some romantic sacrifice that'll have us all sobbing and bawling, but creator Fumita Ueda has wisely cautioned againt that assumption, instead insisting that we should expect the unexpected.

Ueda has also discussed how there is a level of realism can only be realised through the imaginary - which is the reason why The Last Guardian's 'Guardian' is an imaginary creature, that takes inspiration from a number of tangible, indiscrete sources. The design is incredible, and with only a vague frame of reference, the development team is able to create something new that we can relate to without using the real world as a foundation.

The Last Guardian has managed to inspire fervour and hype, despite expertly hiding the finer details of the game itself. We know very little about The Last Guardian at this stage, but there seems to be little doubt that it will be one of the most finely crafted games of 2011. Part of that comes from the reputation of Ueda and his team, but part of it comes from the hunger for a new type of experience in gaming. Let's hope that The Last Guardian provides that experience.


Comments

    If there is one IP that makes me lament not owning a Playstation, it's Team Ico's games.

      Agreed. And possibly Uncharted.

      I agree wholeheartedly.
      I have already made the promise, that when the ICO/SOTC remakes appear, a PS3 will be purchased. The Last Guardian will just be the "cherry on top"

    Even though I know pretty much nothing about it, this is one of my most anticipated games this year :)

    Also, there better be a 2011 ACTIVATE for Journey, Mark. Otherwise, I am disappoint.

      Flower is top 5 this generation for me, will def write something for Journey. Game looks incredible.

    Was going to comment. Last Guardian hot anticipated. Shadow of the Colossus best game ever.

    But it consistently takes blind luck to get your 'facebook users' thingy to work. Clicking 'Log-In With Facebook' reloads the page without actually logging me in.

    Sometimes you have to try and get it working by haiving facebook open in another tab.

    But then all it does is tell me, that I have connected to Kotaku Australia, but doesn't log me in with facebook.

    2011... ACTIVATE a non-broken comments section.

    YES

    Looking forward to this one and I know that it will end one of three ways:

    1. The boy dies

    2. The big cat/bird thing dies

    3. The boy and the cat/bird thing die in each other's arms

    I'm hoping it's number three.

      The outsider...

      4. Both live happily ever after.

      Anyway, this is also a game that will always have a lot of interest, but I'll admit that the interest has been very well kept in check for 2 reasons.

      1) I believe that it will slip to 2012.
      2) Even if it does make late 2011, I've been dazzled with the sheer amount of quality titles that will be coming out already in 2011 well before it.

        Happily ever after?

        Pfft, I want to be tearing my eyes out with grief and punching the walls screaming WHYWHYWHYWHY when I finish this game.

        Then I will know Ueda has succeeded.

      You Missed

      4) Boy and Guardian live happily ever after.

      Come on lets have some optimism in this dark and lonely world.

    Alternative

    What if you get to the end and it turns out the guardian is evil and has been using you all along and you end up having to kill it for the greater good.

    OR

    You get to the end and but in order to save the world the guardian requires that you sacrifice your soul in order to start some sort of spell or machine or something.

    Kill the thing you love or decide wether to sacrifice your life for what you have been fighting for. Those are my guesses.

    Yay for hypothesese!

    Or maybe you'll wake up and find it was all a dream. Yeah. That's a great ending :P

    Guardian turns out to be the trapped soul of a beautiful princess. <-- my guess

      ... or boy turns out to be trapped soul of beautiful guardian... I guess.

        That would be awesome. And absolutely touching.

    This game won't be out this year! Crazy Talk Mark ;)

    SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED HALF LIFE EP2
    ahh who am I kidding

    I cried at the end of episode 2 when Eli died in the vanilla game. 2 years later, I played it again with the fake factory cinematic mod - I cried again.
    He was, and is, my favourite character ever.

    I love Half-Life

    "I cried when my parents bought me Superman 64 for Christmas."

    ...best comment ever, Mark!

    What a great article -- one of the funniest I've read regarding gaming in a while.. so hats of to you sir!

    I'm here from the future! To warn you against your wild assumptions, to protect you against bitter disappointment....

    I fear I may be too late.......

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