Team Ico boss Fumito Ueda has said the R&D phase of The Last Guardian is finished, and the team has gone into crunch mode for the highly-anticipated title.
Speaking with the EU PS Blog, Ueda said R&D was done up front this time around, and he hoped the trailer released at TGS this week would "neutralize any assumption" regarding the game's direction.
"We’ve been working on the final concept for the game over the past year, and I’m pleased to say that we have now locked that down and we’ve moved into full production," he said.
"We learned from our experiences on ICO and Shadow of the Colossus that doing Research & Development at the same time as making the game slows down the process, so we decided to spend more time on R&D up front, testing out technologies and mechanics, before moving into full production. I’m glad to say that, right now, we’re in crunch mode.
"I’m always thinking about creating a game that I’d want to play but that doesn’t currently exist – I want to make that happen.
"As a creator, I think that developing a truly immersive experience and creating a believable reality even within a fictional world is very important and unique to the interactive nature of gaming.
"The last trailer we released sparked internet rumours of a sad ending, because of the arrows stuck in Trico’s back, and with people remembering the endings of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. We wanted to neutralise any assumption of the direction of the game. In addition, we wanted to show a bit more of the emotional attachment between the boy and Trico. The relationship between these two is core to the game experience."
Udea also said the relationship between Trico and the boy in the game was not "established" at the start of it, like it was between Waner and Agro in Shadow of the Colossus.
"The [relationship between the two] is very similar to Rock, Paper, Scissors," explained Ueda. "There will be times when Trico is paper, the boy is rock and the enemy is scissors. It’s a triangular relationship where strength is relative to the situation. For example, as you’ll see in the video, Trico can’t squeeze into small places and the boy can’t climb to high places, so they help each other out.
"In Shadow of the Colossus, people really liked the relationship between the two. The difference lies in the fact that Agro and Wander already had an established bond, whereas the relationship between Trico and the boy is new, and it develops throughout the game.
"Compared to Agro, who was a fully grown, tamed character, Trico is wilder, almost adolescent, and this comes through in his expressive personality which adds humour to the game."
The Last Guardian was shown off a bit more at TGS, and if you haven't watched the trailer for it already, do so here.
It's slated for Christmas 2011.