The Last Guardian has been in development since 2007, and was formally announced at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009 with a planned release in 2011 exclusively for the PlayStation 3 video game console. The game has since suffered from numerous delays and further complications, including hardware difficulties that forced the game to be transitioned to the PlayStation 4 platform in 2012, and the departure Ueda and other Team Ico members from Sony, though Ueda and his studio Gen-Design composed of several former Team Ico members remain as creative consultants for the title.
The title is being designed and directed by Fumito Ueda, and is expected to share stylistic, thematic, and gameplay elements with his previous titles, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, though it is unknown whether it will be directly related to either. The creature has purposely been designed as an amalgamation of several different types of animals, as designer Fumito Ueda feels this will create a greater sense of empathy in the player. The developers have stated that player’s shouldn’t expect the creature to be too intelligent and that luring it onwards may be an important aspect of gameplay.
The player’s movements are increased by interaction with Trico who the boy can climb upon and ride. As stated by Ueda, Trico is “driven by animal instincts”, and it is up to the player to guide the creature, “taking advantage of his natural behavior” to complete puzzles. The creation of The Last Guardian was partially based on the interaction between the player and the horse Agro in Shadow of the Colossus. Ueda desired to make this interaction and relation more of the central concept for the next game. Ueda stressed a central theme of The Last Guardian is the developing “emotional attachment” between the boy character and Trico and needed a means to express that through the creature. Trico also functions similarly as the giant Colossus creatures which the player character had to climb in Shadow of the Colossus.
The game was formally re-introduced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015, and is now aimed for a 2016 release on the PlayStation 4.