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Rumor: Ueda quits Sony, finishing The Last Guardian as freelancer

Wednesday, 30th November 2011 17:48 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

According to sources close to Eurogamer, Team Ico’s Fumito Ueda is quitting Sony, and will finish up work on The Last Guardian in a “freelance capacity.”

The source, which hails from the Japanese game development sector, has indicated that Ueda’s departure from Sony just one of the reasons the game’s development has stalled.

Eurogamer’s source also states that following the completion of The Last Guardian, Ueda will start working on “personal projects.”

Sony, when contacted on the matter, said that it doesn’t “comment on rumor and speculation.”

The Last Guardian was announced as being in development back in February 2007, and has followed a four-year development period similar to previous Team Ico titles Shadow of the Colossus and Ico.

The game is slated for a 2012 release after originally being pegged for fall 2011.

Breaking news

61 Comments

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  1. KAP

    Haha.. Loved the way you changed “Report” to “RumoUr”, I was just gonna pull you up on that too.

    As for this news… lets hope its untrue.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Johnny Cullen

    Really hoping it’s not true, personally speaking as a Team ICO fan.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Razor

    On the one hand this is very sad news; but on the other, the studio hasn’t delivered anything in over seven years.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. ManuOtaku

    If its true this is not good, no sir not good at all, i hope its not becuase it will means theres a big amount of pressure and/or hard enviorement to develope for, and that would affect the game in the end.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Erthazus

    Yeah, despite his talent that studio barely do something for now. Last Guardian should come out this year.

    If it’s true, than it’s a very sad day for the team, Sony and his fans.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. TD_Monstrous69

    I hope that it’s not true, if it is true, then Sony has just lost one of its greatest talents in game design, responsible for two of the greatest games of all time (even though I’m stuck on the last Collossi in Shadow of the Collosus, someone could throw me tips on how to beat it, would greatly appreciate it). If he has left Sony, I can’t wait to see on what his next project might be.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    If it’s true, it’s *great* news.

    It may end up delaying The Last Guardian, but it also means that Ueda will have far more creative freedom in his future work. And that can’t be a bad thing.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Aimless

    @7 I can’t say his past games suggest creative restraint. If anything he’s ostensibly in a very strong position at Sony, creating prestige software that’s more about column inches than shifting huge numbers.

    If he is leaving he’s unlikely to work on similarly high budget productions elsewhere. He’ll probably follow Keita Takahashi into relative obscurity; not saying that’s a bad thing for him personally.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. monty12345

    @8 I dont see this fella going off to england to make a play park to be honest..

    #9 2 years ago
  10. 2plus2equals5

    Did sony want faster work? lol
    Seriously, where will he find someone who give him biblic times for a single game? Team ico made only 2 games!

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Patrick Garratt

    I don’t know, but I strongly suspect patience wore thin here. I doubt they wanted another GT on their hands.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. xino

    they should hax the project man!

    this game brings nothing new:/
    it plays exactly like Ico+Shadow and Majin and the Forsaken kingdom.
    what is the point.

    the only reason why this game got hyped way back was because its the same studio that brought us Ico+Shadow:/

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Patrick Garratt

    No one knows how it plays. No one’s played it. Because it’s nowhere near finished. Which is probably why Mr Ueda has left the building.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. manamana

    Seems likely. 85% finished anyone?
    Still can’t wait to see TLG in its full glory.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Razor

    Well technically, Ueda’s still in the building :P

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Patrick Garratt

    Seems like he has one leg in the building and one leg outside. And maybe an arm in the attic.

    Here’s what I reckon: Ueda can’t get it done quickly enough, so Mr Boss says, “This is ace, and all, but you’re costing me $50 trillion a year and fuck all’s happening. You have your ideas, and Mr Process here will take over the project and make sure we actually get a game before the world stops turning. And don’t slam the door on your way out.”

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Ireland Michael

    @8 Although they’re undeniable crowning achievements of gaming quality and (feel free to shudder) set, they all happen share an almost identical visual aesthetic. I’ve often wondered if this was intentional, or somewhat mandated.

    I personally wouldn’t love to see him create something with a completely new visual identity on top of the quality gameplay and creative expression that his games are renowned.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Patrick Garratt

    Put it this way. I spoke to Shuhei about this at Games Convention in Leipzig in 2008. That’s over three years ago. The original Trico demo was shown as a run-in for PS3′s second gen software in February 2008: nearly four years ago. I reckon Ueda could well have been working on it for over five years. The last I saw of it was early this year, the same hands-off demo people saw in Japan just before GDC. It was a 15-minute thing, but it was just a video of gameplay.

    Absolutely nowhere, *nowhere* near complete. It wasn’t at TGS for a reason. And what’s happening here isn’t an accident: if it’s true, and it probably is, then it’s because there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. You won’t see this for ages.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Razor

    Seems like they may as well start transitioning TLG to PS4.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. triggerhappy

    ^ Damn! Don’t say that.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. mathare92

    Damn you Pat, and your depressing Spock-like logic! :(

    Team Ico without Ueda is like PD without Yamauchi. Yeah, you might get that game out sooner, but there just won’t be that… that… soul.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Patrick Garratt

    I’m pulling all this out of my ass, obviously, but I reckon the shit’s hit the fan because it’s clear there’s no way it’ll make their financial year. That’s all they really care about, ultimately. So someone’s probably had enough and said it has to be in the next FY no matter what. This is probably “something being done” to make sure it happens. Next Christmas, maybe.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. sg1974

    What’s the point in employing a creative genius when he delivers fuck all year after year? TLG could end up being another GT5; Ueda is already the new Yamauchi. Both should be fired and their games handed over to new creative directors and a separate manager.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. mojo

    haha, transition to ps4 would be a move lol…
    a studio that leaves out an entire gen cause they couldnt get it done in time..

    #24 2 years ago
  25. triggerhappy

    @23 Wow. Taking no prisoners there :P

    #25 2 years ago
  26. sg1974

    @25 I speak as a big PD and Team Ico fan. Both are great creative minds, but they’ve been mired – and indulged – too long. They need distance from these projects (who knows what they might deliver elsewhere?) and should hand over their creations to the next generation.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. triggerhappy

    @26 “…and indulged – too long. ”

    lol sounds about right actually.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. OrbitMonkey

    If this guy had created 2 blockbusters I’d understand. If his games defined a console, I’d understand. But neither is true. The truth is this guy got lucky BIG time and has basically been employed for years to sit, thumb up his ass, indulging his muse.

    Should of fucked him off years ago.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Lahanas

    Τhe guy made two games in a whole decade, that also didnt sell well because of their nature. No matter how good the games were, in this day and age you just cant work like that.

    He is another example of how the japanese industry has lost it in this generation.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Mike W

    @29 Good point, I believe the Japanese game developers shot themselves in the foot this generation by these unexplainable “long development” periods. FFV XIII and LG have been in development for almost 8 years……..why?

    #30 2 years ago
  31. TheBlackHole

    Wow. I expected more people to be defending this guy, considering how much PS owners revere his previous work.

    Can’t say I disagree with the general sentiment though. Too much time, too little results.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. OrbitMonkey

    ^ A vocal minority revere his work. A much larger majority just say it’s great because the they’ve been told how great it is by magazines/review sites and don’t want to be the odd one out.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. RandomTiger

    Lol, I bought a ps3 for this game.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Freek

    An intergral part of Sony’s game output is creativly risky games. It’s part of the way they do things, experiment and give some studios some extra room to work.
    Heavy Rain, Little Big Planet, Flow, Flower, some of those games are a hit, some are not. But it is important to them to keep making those games.
    It’s as much about finding the next big thing as it is about maintaining a brand that hardcore gamers and the press love for it’s creative risks.
    Team Ico and their games are a part of that. But that does seem to have it’s limits. At the end of the day you do need to produce a game within a reasonable time and budget.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Joe Musashi

    Given how slender any genuine news is on any Team Ico’s output (past and present) I think I’ll wait for more concrete information before I decide how to react.

    I’m sure the team haven’t been resting on their laurels though. Just because the public hasn’t seen any progress doesn’t mean progress hasn’t been made. Furthermore, one man is not the beginning and end of a videogame, despite how much a name like “Ueda” or “Miyamoto” or “Kojima” can raise a game’s profile. And so long as the guy is still making games, gamers may still enjoy his ouput. Eventually.

    And on that note, it’s worth remembering that the original ICO was a PS1 game that evenutally saw the light of day on PS2 (search for ICO PS1 on YouTube) – so it wouldn’t be the first time a game has spilled over to the next generation before it sees release.

    Also – weren’t Team Ico directly involved in the ICO/SotC re-release? Like I say, I’m sure they’ve not exactly been doing nothing all this time.

    JM

    #35 2 years ago
  36. ManuOtaku

    I think the problem is he wants to make the best game possible,and the sad thing is nobody seems to appreciate this, but we as gamers forgive buggy games and DLC content sold the next week after release, i hope he end up in nintendo or another big dev that have the same moto as nintendo, i guess theres not to many out there that respect bug free games, that are really well made and complete ,even if it takes years to make, a bad game is bad forever.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Mike

    Ueda games on 360. Saves me some money.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. Gadzooks!

    This is superb news. Freed from whatever cell Sony have him shackled up in, the man might be able to produce a multiplatform game with a directed, focussed team which will be promoted and maybe he’ll get the sales his games deserve.

    Just like Dark Souls escaped Sony’s clutches and flourished as a multiplatform title, in fact.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. OrbitMonkey

    ^ lol, you’ll be waiting a few years before you can get your stiffy’s on.

    Oh & knowing Microsoft, they’ll have him *shackled* up making a kinnect game ;-)

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Joe Musashi

    I really don’t see how Ueda at Nintendo would allow him any more creative freedom. I don’t recall any Nintendo-made game that provides the emotional depth and mature subtexts that are present in ICO and SotC. When you have a look at Nintendo’s own output, its not exactly wildly creative, its extremely iterative with a gimmick here or there.

    The simplest thing to do is vote with your wallet. Support the developers that you give a damn about and don’t sit around refusing to play their games because you can’t bear the thought of playing a game on a hunk of silicon that isn’t your preferred brand. That’s just dumb.

    JM

    #40 2 years ago
  41. Blerk

    Regardless of how long he’s taken on this game, Sony are absolutely fucking nuts to let him go.

    #41 2 years ago
  42. ManuOtaku

    #40 “I really don’t see how Ueda at Nintendo would allow him any more creative freedom. I don’t recall any Nintendo-made game that provides the emotional depth and mature subtexts that are present in ICO and SotC. When you have a look at Nintendo’s own output, its not exactly wildly creative, its extremely iterative with a gimmick here or there”.

    I said nintendo becuase they are one of the most friendly developers out there with their employees, and they are not afraid of waiting for the right time to release a game, they often postpone release dates in order to achive high quality in their main franchises, so i think they can give him the time needed in order to make the best game possible, and i said also any other big developer with the same moto as nintendo so is not particulary nintendo although IMHO they are the most creative and innovative game developer that can handle any type of game from sports, to first person shooters, to platformers, to party games,RPGs etc, they have the most varied portfolio.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. OrbitMonkey

    I don’t know Blerk, it’s all well and & good saying you gor some creative *genius* in your pocket. But let’s face it all he was doing was collecting lint.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. Joe Musashi

    @42 I said nintendo becuase they are one of the most friendly developers out there with their employees

    Says who? “Iwata Asks”? I guess you don’t read the game dev blogs where the dictator-like creative control exersized by Miyamoto and others has been documented by developers that have worked amongst them. Don’t be fooled by the well-marketed ‘friendly’ image of the company. You don’t get where Nintendo are without being ruthless. (And, as a case in point, I suggest you look up the history of Tetris and the exploits of Nintendo and Atari at the time).

    and they are not afraid of waiting for the right time to release a game

    I’m not really sure what you can possibly base this on other than fanboy myth and corporate marketing speak. Neither are reliable sources of information.

    and they are not afraid of waiting for the right time to release a game, they often postpone release dates in order to achive high quality in their main franchises

    Interestingly, you use this as a positive when you talk of Nintendo but when another company exercises this philosophy its considered a negative. Why should it be good or bad just because one or another company do it?

    JM

    #44 2 years ago
  45. ManuOtaku

    #44
    Says who? “Iwata Asks”? I guess you don’t read the game dev blogs where the dictator-like creative control exersized by Miyamoto and others has been documented by developers that have worked amongst them. Don’t be fooled by the well-marketed ‘friendly’ image of the company. You don’t get where Nintendo are without being ruthless. (And, as a case in point, I suggest you look up the history of Tetris and the exploits of Nintendo and Atari at the time)

    No i mean it becuase the nintendo directives takes responsibility for their mistake like reducing their income instead fo cuting jobs or reducing avarage joe salary, if thats not friendly with their workers i dont know what it is.

    “and they are not afraid of waiting for the right time to release a game, they often postpone release dates in order to achive high quality in their main franchises
    Interestingly, you use this as a positive when you talk of Nintendo but when another company exercises this philosophy its considered a negative. Why should it be good or bad just because one or another company do it?”

    For me that is possitive no matter the developer if the games comes top notch without any issues, i did never consider it bad on other developers, what i do condemned is games with bugs and Trhow DLC a few days before release, just becuase they dont have the right amount of time needed in development

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Ireland Michael

    @41 It’s not like you can *force* someone to stay at your company.

    The man will do whatever makes him happiest, and that’s the best thing for him and for the quality of any future games.

    This rumour could be entirely bogus anyway.

    Oh, and Nintendo friendly? Hahahahahaha! That’s a good joke.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. Joe Musashi

    @45 No i mean it becuase the nintendo directives takes responsibility for their mistake like reducing their income instead fo cuting jobs or reducing avarage joe salary, if thats not friendly with their workers i dont know what it is.

    They’re not doing that for the sake of their employees. They’re doing that for the sake of their shareholders.

    And no games get released without bugs. Paper Mario on Wii had an a-class repeatable crash bug when it was released in Europe, for example. As for post-release DLC, I wouldn’t regard that as a reflection of a game not being ready for release, just a preferred way of selling more game for more money.

    JM

    #47 2 years ago
  48. Blerk

    @46, I didn’t mean they should force him to stay, of course. There are ways to persuade people to stick it out without resorting to manacles. :)

    #48 2 years ago
  49. ManuOtaku

    #47 “They’re not doing that for the sake of their employees. They’re doing that for the sake of their shareholders”

    I dont think so, because in the end shareholders are interested only in money reduction and cutting expenses it doesnt matter where they came from they only want the reduction, at least they opted it from the top instead of the bottom, either way IMHO is not a common practice in the business world, and is a plus in my book, i just hope here were i work they do the same. ¡¡¡¡ double sigh¡¡¡¡

    “Paper Mario on Wii had an a-class repeatable crash bug when it was released in Europe”, thats the exception not the rule in nintendo titles

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Joe Musashi

    @49 I dont think so..

    Well, you’re going to believe what you prefer to believe. But I think what you believe isn’t quite the truth of the matter.

    JM

    #50 2 years ago
  51. Ireland Michael

    @49 “I don’t think so.”

    Unfortunately, the overwhelming burden of proof (not only in news, but actual printed literature to boot) stacks up significantly against what you “think”. Nintendo are as totalitarian a company as you can get in this industry, ruthlessly so.

    The only reasons they’re loosening the reigns in recent years is because the company is in the worst financial state right now that its ever been in its history as a video game company. The Wii is practically dead. The 3DS has been an abject financial failure. Miyamoto hasn’t had a truly creative idea in almost a decade.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. ManuOtaku

    #50 oh and you hold the truth of the matter on the shareholders you have inside information knowing quite well they demanded iwatas and the top exec cutting income instead of the nintendo employees

    #52 2 years ago
  53. YoungZer0

    @51: Don’t they still have enough money from the Wii sales?

    #53 2 years ago
  54. Ireland Michael

    @52 It takes five minutes of research to find out the kind of underhanded and overbearing tactics Nintendo has committed over the years.

    We apologise that your rose tinted image of Nintendo doesn’t hold up against documented facts, but it’s pretty clear here whose researched this information here, and who hasn’t.

    @53 They’re pretty much hanging on by a thread right now.

    #54 2 years ago
  55. DSB

    They’re not exactly in THQ territory, but they have managed to squander their momentum. They’re worth roughly what they were 10 years ago.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. ManuOtaku

    #54 look Theres a lot of literature out there that indicates, for example like the other commenter put it, the atari tetris issue regarding the nintendo restrictions on the lockup chip, that this was a demostration of nintendo being “ruthless” and only to make money and dominate the market with and iron fist, and there are other authors that also indicates that it could be very well to prevent another industry wide crash like in 1984 with this rules and restrictions, and as such can surely save the industry we known today.

    Therefore theres always two ways of seeing things according to authors of the diverse literature, but what iam trying to say the well documented literature you mention is always and opinion,it is based on a person opinion just like me and you, and for that can create multiple ways of seeing things you go with one i go with the other, fine by me.

    And i believe i didnt make my self clear or understood, i said nintendo as a game developer is very friendly,it is very diferent for nintendo as a company, which can be ruthless or not depend on the eye of the beholder, is not what iam trying to say, it is that is a friendly enviorement for gaming development becuase it gives the right time to make the game the best it can be, thats why they keep pushing back release dates on their core franchises, and for that i think this will be a good site for ueda or another big developer with this moto, till this day i havent see any news regarding nintendo treating bad their employees, thats the reason for all that i stated in this thread.

    #56 2 years ago
  57. Ireland Michael

    @64 They’re only friendly as a game developer in so far as you work to build *their* franchises as *they* want them designed.

    Why the hell would Ueda want to spend the rest of his career rehashing Mario and Zelda?

    #57 2 years ago
  58. ManuOtaku

    #57 man i also put another big developer with nintendo moto, i mean another developer that prioritizes a good well made game no matter the time taken even if it needs multiple push backs, i dont want him releasing zelda or mario neither for that is miyamoto man, let me catch a break please 8D.
    p.s and is not @64 is 56 8D, this thread is not that longer unless you want so 8D

    #58 2 years ago
  59. Phoenixblight

    We had Retro studios come to our school and talk about their experience with being a first party developer and they had nothing but the up most respect for Nintendo and how they put polish and their employees first. As far as creativity goes they said that Miyamoto wouldn’t ever do the hand of doom if the company would go off the mark and would just give critiques on what they had done.
    I for one after being in a room full of students and Retro studio development team and discussing their experience, wouldn’t mind working for Nintendo whether it is Metroid Prime, Zelda, Mario or a new Game entirely. Those are all great games and they put polish as a priority unlike most developers and publishers now a days.

    #59 2 years ago
  60. manamana

    @34 nailed. +1

    #60 2 years ago
  61. Ireland Michael

    @59 You’re missing the point.

    Ueda is clearly a developer with his own creative ideas. I highly doubt the last thing he would want to do is sit around and work on mandated franchise releases by Nintendo. They’re fun games, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not exactly emotionally profound or deep.

    Retro Studios are a great developer, but that’s clearly the path they were comfortable with talking.

    #61 2 years ago