For those who were so distraught at the lack of Last Guardian-ness at Sony’s E3 Press Conference, you are finally about to get some good news. After being announced in 2009, The Last Guardian has finally seen the light of day, and after meeting in a secret location, taking a blood oath, and selling my kidney, Sony allowed me to get the first peek at what Team Ico has been working on. Let me tell you, it is worth the wait. The boring game shown fiver years ago has been turned into the blockbuster explosion-filled shooter you have always wanted.
“After years of delay,” Lead Director Fumito Ueda revealed in an exclusive interview, while I was helicoptered to a secret lair in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, “We decided that Team Ico had explored many different avenues, but the bro-shooter was one completely unique to us. It was clear that gamers love blowing things up and shooting each other, and that was the only way we could truly communicate our vision.”
Ueda-san said the E3 Press Conference this year confirmed Team Ico was on the right track. “I watched these press conferences, seeing Call of Duty rip a man’s arm off and Nathan Drake looking all gritty and shit while loading a gun. Clearly no good video games can exist without gritty men fighting in dark worlds.”
Ueda-san has a point. With games like Call of Duty making revolutionary changes to its gameplay by changing the setting to the not-so-distant future (to resolve conflicts it couldn’t handle with Modern Warfare), and games like Destiny showing that shooting guns doesn’t have to be done alone, it is clear the shooter is proving to have more legs than anyone gave it credit for. Between Crackdown, Far Cry 4, Rainbow Six Siege, The Division, Battlefield: Hardline, Halo 5: Guardians, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Evolve, Uncharted 4 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, it is clear the world of video games is mostly about shooting stuff and looking cool while you do it.
So what does this mean for The Last Guardian? Mostly it means an emphasis on story, like all good shooters. Team Ico looked at games like Far Cry 3 and Wolfenstein: The New Order and determined that it wasn’t so much the gun in your hand which was important, it was who the gun was killing that really mattered, whether it was Nazis or islanders, terrorists or bank robbers. Shooters are told from the perspective of someone killing thousands of people, it is important that these mass murders seem grounded and honest. Team Ico looked at this and realized that obviously The Last Guardian should be set in a war, the most gritty and honest of all video game settings.
“Being set in a war allows for us to instantly humanize the situation,” Said Ueda-san. “Clearly the war-torn worlds of Halo and Call of Duty have been relatable to all gamers. It also gives us deep and interesting characters we can refer to as ‘Sergeant’ and ‘Private’, people who are easy to relate to because they have names like us.”
The kid, previously seen in the trailer for The Last Guardian has been renamed Commander McKillan. He has been aged up to be about 34 years old, given a scar over his left eye and a five o’clock shadow. So, clearly, he means business. The character has been reimagined to be the person all players can related to. He benches 300 pounds, drinks whiskey like its water, and smokes a pack a day because he knows he doesn’t have long to live. The “everyman”, if you will. And you will, if McKillan has anything to say about it.
The plot of The Last Guardian will revolve around a battle with an evil force called The Blackness, or The Evil…maybe The Black Evil, something like that. Look, it’s something that obviously communicates they’re bad guys without using too many syllables. Commander McKillan and the rest of Earth-Con’s (a new name to say Confederation of Earth in a way that let’s you know this is the future, but still a world you recognize) forces are being pushed back and it looks like humanity is lost, until Commander McKillan discovers The Last Guardian.
The Last Guardian isn’t that dumb dog-bird-thing you saw back in 2009. The Last Guardian has been turned into a true monster which can strike fear into The Blackness or whatever they’re calling it. The beasts’ dog-head has become that of a wolf, it now breathes fire, shoots lasers out of its eyes, it has shark fins to swim underwater, and it is a mount for McKillan. While fighting on magical planets, using small chunks of rocks to defend yourself against thousands of enemies, you can call on The Last Guardian to pick you up and use its laser eyes and fire breath to wipe out The Blackness.
Team Ico promised other to reinvent the shooter with cool ideas, like a secret prophecy only The Last Guardian knows about, a villain who kills his own guys so you know he’s REALLY bad, and stealth missions where you want to throw your controller through the window. Classic.
So we know the story told will be dark and important, like all good shooters, but what about the world? Don’t worry, Team Ico is making sure the world is divided up into a nice mix of missions so you don’t have to worry about where to go next. Tight corridors will explain exactly where the next spot will be to shoot everyone and if you don’t keep up with certain characters you will instantly fail because you didn’t go the right way. It’s pretty revolutionary stuff. There are also missions where you can wander and explore the world of The Last Guardian. These missions allow to shoot animals, shoots convoys of bad guys, and shoot down spaceships while riding your Last Guardian. There’s so much to do, you will barely be able to do it all, not to mention cooperative play so you can shoot people together and multiplayer so you can shoot each other. Its clearly going to be awesome.
Don’t worry, The Last Guardian isn’t all going to be gloom and doom. The game has plenty of witty one-liners when you shoot people. Famous actors have been signed to the game so they can phone-in performances and be part of a “Voices of The Last Guardian” video where they attempt to explain the character they voice with as much condescension as possible. So get ready for lifeless exposition to be read with the enthusiasm of a middle school english class, occasionally broken up crass jokes which make you realize, “Ah, these guys, they’re not even scared of this war because they’re so cool. They’re alright in my book.” We still think Nolan North or Troy Baker will show up at some point, because they are in everything.
I think we all can be glad Sony ditched whatever The Last Guardian was going to be in favor of an awesome game with things that blow up. If you don’t like shooting people, chances are you will also be able to decapitate them, eat their faces, or punch them to death. Seriously, so much gameplay. The wait might have been long for The Last Guardian, but at least it was worth it. We’re looking forward to shooting The Dark Bad and winning the war of The Guardians, we hope you are too.
*This article was (obviously) written in jest. The Last Guardian is never coming out, I’m sorry I broke your heart. In all sincerity, shooters are great, in fact a shooter was one of my favorite games last year. But if you can’t appreciate the ridiculousness of shooters and think I am a terrible person, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.