What’s this Last Guardian Game Everyone is Talking About?

Like the rest of the gaming community, I’ve spent the last few days in a feverish E3 haze, covertly streaming the press conferences at work while breathing heavily and sweating. My weak circulatory system could barely take the buildup to EA’s presentation, which gave us Christmas on steroids in the form of a trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Maker, hold me.

But there is one hype train that passed me stealthily in the night, a train that managed to evade me for years. I’m getting ready to watch the Sony conference when I hear the first murmurings on Twitter, and of course by murmurings I mean a great big ruckus. It’s all over the place. Even the commentators on Twitch are getting riled up. “What are you really hoping they’ll announce this year?” “The Last Guardian.” “The Last Guardian!” Twitter chorus: The Last Guardian. It is time.

THE. LAST. GUARDIAN.

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Okay, but.

What?

No but seriously. What? What is The Last Guardian? How have I never heard of this game? I’m panicking. Is this confusion my punishment for my misguided Xbox loyalty? Damn my life choices! This must be highly classified insider PlayStation knowledge. I’m wracking my brain for any inkling. Is The Last Guardian a game based on that movie about owls?

Nonplussed, I continue watching the feed, pretending that I, too, am privy to highly classified Sony knowledge.

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The Sony announcer is talking about a long-awaited game, a poetic story of adventure, friendship, heroism, and companionship. The audience knows exactly what this is. “YEAH!” shouts a guy somewhere in the crowd. More cries erupt. Oh no. It’s The Last Guardian. How does everyone know about this owl game but me??

The preview begins. A feather drifts across my tiny phone screen. Owl game. Called it. But that’s not an owl appearing next. That’s a boy. More specifically, it’s a boy in a toga running out a door and onto a stone platform before stopping and looking up at a grand, vast ruin. He’s breathing hard, as though he’s been running for a while. The music swells, soft and lonely. He’s calling for someone, and oh my gosh oh wow.

It’s not an owl. It’s a huge dog-cat-eagle emerging from the door behind him. A huge furry feathery friend!

I’m captivated. I can’t look away. This is a quiet game, a boy shouting the odd nonsense word into an echoing ruin, a massive creature helping him along. There’s no combat. There are no enemies. Just the seemingly unavoidable hazards of wandering a rickety old ruin alone with one’s oversized pet. But I’m totally charmed.

This is The Last Guardian? It appears to be an adventure game wrapped in a puzzle game wrapped in a work of art. Even after only a few minutes of game play, I can feel the bond between the boy and his feathered companion. The preview is over, but I want more. Where were they? How did they get there? Where will they go now, and can they surmount the obstacles that lay ahead with only each other for guidance? My heart tells me yes.

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I still don’t know much about The Last Guardian. I know that it’s been in the works for years and that fans have been waiting for this moment for so long that they had begun to give up hope that it would ever happen. I know that it’s by the creators of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, both games with which I have passing familiarity and which look and feel equally beautiful. And I know that it features an enormous dog-cat-eagle friend. But that last bit was all I needed to know, really. Why didn’t anyone tell me about the giant dog-cat-eagle friend? You finally got me, The Last Guardian hype train! I’m on board.

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