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Fumito Ueda No Longer Works For Sony

Designer still contracted to work on The Last Guardian.

The Last Guardian has been kicked around the last few years, but Ueda says it's still happening.

Just because a company says “no comment” doesn’t mean it’s true, but when the question is as simple as whether a lauded, acclaimed employee like Fumito Ueda is still working for you, that’s an easy one to answer.

The rumors were true, unfortunately.

Sony has issued a statement to Gamasutra confirming the lead designer on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus has officially left the company.

Ueda is still contracted to work on the still-in-development The Last Guardian, and is apparently “committed to completing” the game.

The Last Guardian is scheduled for a release in 2012, but the game has been delayed several times.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
The Last Guardian has been kicked around the last few years, but Ueda says it's still happening.

Just because a company says “no comment” doesn’t mean it’s true, but when the question is as simple as whether a lauded, acclaimed employee like Fumito Ueda is still working for you, that’s an easy one to answer.

The rumors were true, unfortunately.

Sony has issued a statement to Gamasutra confirming the lead designer on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus has officially left the company.

Ueda is still contracted to work on the still-in-development The Last Guardian, and is apparently “committed to completing” the game.

The Last Guardian is scheduled for a release in 2012, but the game has been delayed several times.

Posted by Insomniac

That's a big loss as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by Twinsun

Hmm.. wonder what this will mean in the long haul.

Posted by Batmeng

I'm still sad about Team Silent dissolving. Now Team Ico, too?

Posted by jakob187

Ueda can go multi-platform now? Probably the best news that I've heard all goddamn year.

Posted by jukeboxzer0

I wanna play The Last Guardian.

Posted by UltorOscariot

Where does he go after? Start his own studio? Work for Nintendo, Konami, or Valve, where it's still fashionable to spend years making a single game? Maybe even mobile games? It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

Posted by Maitimo

It's kind of a shame, but I can't imagine that HD development really suited him, much as it hasn't suited most Japanese developers. Hopefully The Last Guardian turns out alright, but it seems nowhere near as sure as it was.

Posted by Aetheldod

@UltorOscariot said:

Where does he go after? Start his own studio? Work for Nintendo, Konami, or Valve, where it's still fashionable to spend years making a single game? Maybe even mobile games? It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

Ohhh I hope it would be Valve .... just imagine the possibilities , but it wont happen :/

Posted by abacus

@jakob187 said:

Ueda can go multi-platform now? Probably the best news that I've heard all goddamn year.

Absolutely. He was the only reason I would consider getting a PS3.

Posted by hermes

I don't want to sound to pessimistic, but the departure of Ueda and Hayama and the general lack of news in what has been one of the most anticipated games on the PS3 for years makes me feel uneasy about the future of that game.

I feel like it got the MGS Rising way (got cancelled but no one has the guts to make it public)...

Posted by Protome

Thank god, maybe this means that Team Ico will start actually finishing games.

Posted by RuthLoose

@UltorOscariot: SquareEnix, anyone?

Edited by Sword5

Tin Foil Hat GO!!!

I would bet money that he is going to off make mobile or social games. Last Guardian will be named dropped by Sony to get a few more show awards and then brushed under the rug by news of PS4 by the end of 2012.

If LG does come out, it will have forced in Move and 3D support. Few will be happy and Patrick will give it his Game of the Year.

Posted by p_p_o_d

it says a lot about the guy and the game that he quit the company before shipping it.

I hope where ever he goes they dont allow him to make this kind of mistake again. 6 years + to ship a game is dumb and should have never happened with a well managed team with a clear vision on the game.

I hope team Ico can continue after he leaves for good. There is a lot of talent in that group. Music, art design, etc. I would hate if they got stuck making Loco Roco or whatever SCEJ makes.

Hopefully someone steps up to takes Ueda's place.

Posted by iAmJohn
@jakob187

Ueda can go multi-platform now? Probably the best news that I've heard all goddamn year.

Let's be honest: he'll probably go iPhone.
Posted by GunnBjorn

But... what's the reason for his departure? Did Sony sack him? Did he leave on his own behalf? Did they separate on good terms or...? Many questions. Demand answers.

Posted by MikkaQ

@iAmJohn said:

@jakob187

Ueda can go multi-platform now? Probably the best news that I've heard all goddamn year.

Let's be honest: he'll probably go iPhone.

That's pretty good too, short turnaround times, low development cost, it'll all mean he can make some really artsy games, and not be bound to traditional processes.

Posted by SirDancelot

Just to put things in perspective, has any actual gameplay ever been shown for Last Guardian? I still have no idea what that game is.

Posted by plaintomato

@iAmJohn said:

@jakob187

Ueda can go multi-platform now? Probably the best news that I've heard all goddamn year.

Let's be honest: he'll probably go iPhone.

Either that or Zynga picked him up, eh? Here's hoping for multi-plat, not mobile, please.

Posted by Totoni

That's too bad, but at least The Last Guardian will come out, but I can't help thinking he might put in some kind of screw-you to Sony in the game.

Online
Posted by Bulby33

It has been far too long for this game to be any good. I'm sure it'll be a game but the story behind it feels a lot like Gran Tursimo 5.

I hope it isn't the case, though. I fucking loved both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.

Posted by ProfessorEss

@patrickklepek said:

The rumors were true, unfortunately.

You say "unfortunately", but I would argue that many Nintendo, Microsoft, iOS, and PC gamers might be saying "fortunately" :)

Edited by IAmNotBatman

Whether or not this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen, when he announces what he's doing after all this.

I'm not sure why but Patrick's user pic really irritates me and no I can't justify why :/

Posted by RVonE

I would be interested in a Zelda game from this guy.

Posted by faizjuma

@hermes

ahh Metal Gear Solid Rising was not cancelled. lol there was just a trailer released for it at the vga 2011 event, go to gamespot. Its actually increased as far as in platform was xbox only now its all 3 ps3 (where it should always be) and PC

Posted by gale

@hermes said:

I feel like it got the MGS Rising way (got cancelled but no one has the guts to make it public)...

I have only one word for you:

Revengeance.

Posted by Brodehouse

Ueda is done making 60 dollar retail games. Makes sense too, he can be weird and experimental and artsy on an iPhone for a fraction of the risk.

Posted by Echo

This only brings my dream of a Kenji Eno, Kenichi Nishi, Suda51 and Fumito Ueda superteam closer to reality.

Posted by PJ

@faizjuma: MGS Rising was cancelled before Platinum Games picked up the development. There was a story about it yesterday or something. And its been on the PS3 since it was announced. Konami confirmed it a few hours after it was announced at the Microsoft E3 press conference.

Posted by Batmeng

@Brodehouse: And also for a f@Brodehouse said:

Ueda is done making 60 dollar retail games. Makes sense too, he can be weird and experimental and artsy on an iPhone for a fraction of the risk.

And also for a fraction of the artistic possibilities.

Posted by xbob42

@Batmeng said:

@Brodehouse: And also for a f@Brodehouse said:

Ueda is done making 60 dollar retail games. Makes sense too, he can be weird and experimental and artsy on an iPhone for a fraction of the risk.

And also for a fraction of the artistic possibilities.

Actually, a "fraction of the artistic abilities" is exactly WHY he can't make $60 games anymore. It's not safe enough to just experiment there. Of course, thinking horsepower is all you need to make a game that blows people's minds is exactly why no one should take YOU seriously to begin with. What childish delusions you operate under.

Posted by shodan2020

@Echo said:

This only brings my dream of a Kenji Eno, Kenichi Nishi, Suda51 and Fumito Ueda superteam closer to reality.

Yes! This PLEASE!

Posted by pyromagnestir

Sad. I've already got my order of Last Guardian locked in at amazon, and whatever game he and team ico would have produced to follow it up would've gotten the same. Aw well, maybe team Ico will keep making unique games, and Ueda will go on to make a new team making different sorts of unique games, so I'll have double the games to look forward too.

Edited by Batmeng

@xbob42 said:

@Batmeng said:

@Brodehouse: And also for a f@Brodehouse said:

Ueda is done making 60 dollar retail games. Makes sense too, he can be weird and experimental and artsy on an iPhone for a fraction of the risk.

And also for a fraction of the artistic possibilities.

Actually, a "fraction of the artistic abilities" is exactly WHY he can't make $60 games anymore. It's not safe enough to just experiment there.

Really? Let's take a look at the games he has made so far.

1. Ico

2. Shadow of the Colossus

3. The Last Guardian.

Let's hear how he feels about his own work.

How do you feel about having made the type of game that appears on something like our Backlog? A game that didn't sell as well as it should have, but is still discussed and feels relevant years later? Is it frustrating? (The same could be said for Ico.)

FU: As a company employee, it is necessary to create something that sells. However, if I were to choose between something that sells for a moment and is forgotten, and something that doesn't sell much but is remembered, I would choose the latter. But I personally think that a game has potential to sell a certain number of units no matter how quickly it sells. That is why I think that the one that leaves good memories is better, since it will make a sequel more appealing.

Your games have a particular minimalism that sets them apart from others. Is this a product of having a small staff and a limited budget, or is it just your style? Should other developers be trying similar things?

FU: There are many reasons for this, too, but to make it short, it's my ideal to create a game that is unique. Therefore, if the market was full of games that had a minimalism, I would probably create games with excessive decoration and full of explanation.

Sounds to me he's been doing exactly what he wanted to, for a long time, despite the fact that it was risky and unprofitable. It's a miracle they kept funding his projects after a game like Ico. Will there be less risks on an iPhone? Sure. Will he be able to have access to the same resources so that he won't have to compromise or cut down on his vision? I doubt it. He's been working on The Last Guardian for over 5 years. A game about a boy riding a cat-dragon. Talk about being afraid to take risks.

Of course, thinking horsepower is all you need to make a game that blows people's minds is exactly why no one should take YOU seriously to begin with. What childish delusions you operate under.

Ah, cute. Your condescending tone and ability to read out statements that weren't written truly shines of your matureness. I will take you seriously now.

Posted by Gunharp

@Bulby33 said:

It has been far too long for this game to be any good. I'm sure it'll be a game but the story behind it feels a lot like Gran Tursimo 5.

I hope it isn't the case, though. I fucking loved both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.

I hope its not the case. I agree that this kinda news doesn't fill me with great thoughts on the state of the project. But we know so little, very up in the air. I also hope that after this project we have not "lost" Mr. Ueda to developing games for the web.

But too long to be any good? Feels like Gran Turismo 5? No way. I can't argue over whether or not you liked the game. But its not the best analogy, because Gran Turismo is a top tier racing game. It's not a weird corner of the vg world only enjoyed by brand loyalists. Plenty of car enthusiasts and PS3 owners play. If it was bad, well most everyone would have moved on by now (I know I would have). Plenty didn't pick it up or like it, but I think that has little to do with the development length...has more to do with their decisions during their lengthy development. Ultimately if they were more transparent about what the finished software was going to be and listened to feedback from the community (like they are doing now). They would have spent their time to develop something better.

Basically I'm just saying: time alone doesn't equal a bad product. I mean would you think the same for games like SWTOR, RAGE, or Guild Wars 2?

Also yo, you don't have to answer and I hope I don't come off as defensive asshole.

Posted by FormulaDeuce

I'm still looking forward in playing The Last Guardian whenever it comes out, and I wish Ueda the best in he's future endeavors.

Posted by xbob42

@Batmeng said:

ke $60 games anymore. It's not safe enough to just experiment there.

Really? Let's take a look at the games he has made so far.

1. Ico

2. Shadow of the Colossus

3. The Last Guardian.

Let's hear how he feels about his own work.

How do you feel about having made the type of game that appears on something like our Backlog? A game that didn't sell as well as it should have, but is still discussed and feels relevant years later? Is it frustrating? (The same could be said for Ico.)

FU: As a company employee, it is necessary to create something that sells. However, if I were to choose between something that sells for a moment and is forgotten, and something that doesn't sell much but is remembered, I would choose the latter. But I personally think that a game has potential to sell a certain number of units no matter how quickly it sells. That is why I think that the one that leaves good memories is better, since it will make a sequel more appealing.

Your games have a particular minimalism that sets them apart from others. Is this a product of having a small staff and a limited budget, or is it just your style? Should other developers be trying similar things?

FU: There are many reasons for this, too, but to make it short, it's my ideal to create a game that is unique. Therefore, if the market was full of games that had a minimalism, I would probably create games with excessive decoration and full of explanation.

Sounds to me he's been doing exactly what he wanted to, for a long time, despite the fact that it was risky and unprofitable. It's a miracle they kept funding his projects after a game like Ico. Will there be less risks on an iPhone? Sure. Will he be able to have access to the same resources so that he won't have to compromise or cut down on his vision? I doubt it. He's been working on The Last Guardian for over 5 years. A game about a boy riding a cat-dragon. Talk about being afraid to take risks.

Of course, thinking horsepower is all you need to make a game that blows people's minds is exactly why no one should take YOU seriously to begin with. What childish delusions you operate under.

Ah, cute. Your condescending tone and ability to read out statements that weren't written truly shines of your matureness. I will take you seriously now.

What did you list that acted as a counter to ANY argument I made? You just tossed out that he's made 2 games in the last 10 years or so (Last Guardian has been delayed for how many years now?) and that he liked making them.

"It's a miracle they kept funding his projects after a game like Ico."

Exactly. That's why on a smaller platform he wouldn't need miracles to operate. Unless you thought the technical achievement of Shadow of the Colossus running at 4 frames per second was so astounding that only the power of the PS2 could've made the title shine.

You argue that he makes games he likes. I argue that that fact would not change on another platform, and he could get games out much faster rather than sticking to the same concept for 6+ years.

Posted by Mumrik

Why is it unfortunate Patrick?

It could be for the better. Maybe he'll be developing multiplatform titles now. Maybe he won't get the same kind of long leash elsewhere, but until we know I don't see what is so unfortunate about it.

Posted by MisterMouse

Maybe this kind of change, if he decides to open a new company in Japan, could bring something new to the Japanese Video Game market.

Posted by Sanj

@Mumrik said:

It could be for the better. Maybe he'll be developing multiplatform titles now. Maybe he won't get the same kind of long leash elsewhere, but until we know I don't see what is so unfortunate about it.

Or he could be developing Kinect titles.

Online
Posted by mariokart64fan

major blow, not like it can get worst for sony , this entire gen , sony and microsoft have not been what i expected ,

xbox and ps2 had unique fun to play games where as this gen ,, at 60 mill and 58 mill , (most of the owners owning multiple consoles obviously) ps3 seams to be the least played system especally at my house, every game is mostly multiplatform and better on the 360 or in some cases even better on the wii for example quantum of solace 007 - the wii version i find is the definitive version due to the fact it has split screen and every key thing the 360 version has except the 4 dlc maps whoopie, i could care less and maybe the lack of modes but most of the modes are the same, so again i dont care,

so ya some games are better on 360 some on wii , especally my favorite game series 007 with that said ,

i can feel bad for sony but at the same time i think its their fault for not keeping exclusives well exclusives ,

back then they had

spyro

crash

driver-minus nintendo gameboy color /gameboy advance and pc ports

gta- except 2 and gbc pc dont count as i am talking about stricly console 2 was the only one available for dreamcast -another system 1 and london is ps1 exclusive unless your talking handheld nintendo has that belt

need for speed- minus again pc and the first title was on saturn

also porche unleashed was later ported to the gameboy advance

twisted metal

gran turismo

spec ops- with the latest one-spec ops the line coming to 360 you can clearly say good bye to that one

during the ps2 they had ico among other games including the first timesplitters title, -they let that go

also what ps2 had was a bunch of i wouldnt say aaa titles but games for everyone just like wii today , also it had rpgs for those fans ,

ps3 has not many of that , in fact this entire gen if we left out psp ds wii is mostly fpses

that is one thing i think kept ps3 back , along with the high launch price of 5 hundred 99 us dollars speaking of that there alot of sites are throwing out wii u rumors of it being 600 , but there is no way because nintendo has never released a console for 300 yet!

im going with my gut on this one that the wii u becomes 300-349,99 because there is a trend nintendo has followed since gameboy --

but ya with this news its a big blow ,

Edited by Batmeng

@xbob42 said

What did you list that acted as a counter to ANY argument I made? You just tossed out that he's made 2 games in the last 10 years or so (Last Guardian has been delayed for how many years now?) and that he liked making them.

You said that he can't make $60 games anymore, because it's too risky, and he'll be more creative on something like an iPhone. So I posted three games he's been working on that, in my opinion, are as creative and artistic as they can get, despite the risks. And judging from what he's said in interviews, it sounds like he never cared about how risky it was and kept making games he wanted to make, for over ten years. I'm sure there was a lot of pressure. But that didn't seem to hold him back much.

"It's a miracle they kept funding his projects after a game like Ico."

Exactly. That's why on a smaller platform he wouldn't need miracles to operate.

Maybe. But I'm saying that I'm afraid those smaller platforms won't be able to give him the same space to make something like Shadow of the Colossus or The Last Guardian. It would be a waste to have him work on social/casual web games also.

Unless you thought the technical achievement of Shadow of the Colossus running at 4 frames per second was so astounding that only the power of the PS2 could've made the title shine.

Again, how are you able to read my mind like that? That's impressive. That was exactly what I was saying, right? RIGHT?

I'm sure SotC would have been great on my 2005 Nokia cellphone.

You argue that he makes games he likes. I argue that that fact would not change on another platform, and he could get games out much faster rather than sticking to the same concept for 6+ years.

I argue that he won't be able to make the same type of games. I don't even think this will be an issue. I'm sure he'll keep working on bigger projects for consoles, just on another team (I hope). You brought up iPhone, and I don't care for iPhone gaming, and most of the fans probably don't wanna see him make games for cellphones from now on as well.

Posted by xbob42

@Batmeng said:

You brought up iPhone, and I don't care for iPhone gaming, and most of the fans probably don't wanna see him make games for cellphones from now on, as well.

No, someone else brought up iPhone. It's a fine platform if you design your game around it rather than try to shoehorn a standard game into it. I'd be perfectly happy with him making smaller titles on Steam, as I don't even have an iPod anymore. In any case, I think the constant delays and such aren't helping him. Being able to just pump out creative works as he has flashes of inspiration without having to worry about giant technical feats would be quite nice for a change. And I [b]loved[/b] Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. But the formula he has for making games is clearly giving him some issues.

Posted by Starstew

@plaintomato: I was thinking the same too, only half jokingly... Zynga.

Posted by Zero_

You know, I first got a ps3 primarily for the last guardian. I also got a 3ds just for megaman legends 3. I should probably stop getting consoles based off just one game in case it gets cancelled or something...

Posted by NekuSakuraba

@hermes said:

I feel like it got the MGS Rising way (got cancelled but no one has the guts to make it public)...

They just put out a trailer at the VGAs.

Posted by MrKlorox

This isn't necessarily all bad news here. If he retired from game development entirely, yes this might suck pretty badly. He's severed his exclusivity with Sony, and now his future projects might make it to non Sony platforms. However, with how it is in Japan, that probably just means the 3DS.

Posted by masternater27

@NekuSakuraba said:

@hermes said:

I feel like it got the MGS Rising way (got cancelled but no one has the guts to make it public)...

They just put out a trailer at the VGAs.

It was cancelled and then got picked up for development again by Platinum.

http://ps3.ign.com/articles/121/1214613p1.html

Posted by NegativeCero

I find this both potentially good and bad. Good because now (hopefully) I'll be able to play his games since I don't have a PS3, but bad because the publisher that funds his next game may not let him make the game exactly as he wants to, if at all.

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