E3 2016: Sony Casually Trots Out The Rotted Husk of The Last Guardian Again

Sony keeps messing with my emotions. The Last Guardian was first revealed in 2009 at E3. Since then, Team Ico fans, such as myself, have been assured that it still exists, and it’s still in production. How many times have we expected it to be released now? I’m going to venture a guess of 90 times.

After absolute radio silence—the kind you can only achieve in the vacuum of outer space—for years, when the media began speculating about its likelihood of ever being released, Sony would poke its little head out, like a groundhog on its eponymous holiday, and assure the gaming world that The Last Guardian is still in production. And they would do so as if that’s normal, like everything is okay with a game nearly ten years in development that should have been released during the prior console generation.

Last year, for what is the only time I’ve been able to attend a Sony E3 briefing in person, they held out Fumito Ueda, Team Ico founder and occasional utterer of wrong things, by his nape, and told him to tell us there’s still a game being made. They even showed a new trailer. Prior to E3 that year, when Nick, our fearless leader, asked us what game each of us wanted to cover, I joked that I wanted The Last Guardian. And everyone laughed. Because it was a joke.

Thinking of The Last Guardian has become a joke. It may as well be called Half-Life 3, though I have more interested in the former than the latter. Yet there I was, wide-eyed as a newborn child, salivating over gameplay footage that looked similar to what I’ve seen before because I wanted to believe in something. I wanted to believe Ueda-san.

Pictured: me.

Now, in two-thousand-fucking-sixteen, Groundhog/Trico Day has come upon us. The difference, Dear Reader, is that we have a release date—like a specific one, one you could enter into the date field of an entry form with requirements, “mm/dd/yyyy.” October 25th, 2016. That’s a real day. I checked on the calendar to make sure that for some reason, October this year wouldn’t have seven less days just to ruin my life. I might also be free that day. Who knows? Anything can happen, such as The Last Guardian actually being released. Well, this is certainly better than a year or an obscure quarter or an unsanctioned ship date on Amazon. This is a promise.

And it’s a promise that could easily be broken. That’s just what game companies do. They make and break promises. Honestly, what reason do I have to believe that I’ll be playing this game in just over four months? Yes, the trailer arguably shows us new footage, both of areas we’ve seen before and some new ones. There may even be two or more tricos in this godforsaken land. But I don’t even know if it’s playable yet. Sony sandwiched it into a series of trailers, leaving the audience no time to respond, for example, by rushing the stage.

Pictured: my emotions.

What I do know is that the game still features a toga-clad boy, a sad-looking trico, guards of questionable motivation, and graphics that remind me unsurprisingly of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Also, I do know I still want to play it and maybe cry. I don’t know if the game will make me cry.

Perhaps just having it in my hands will encourage tears to well in my eyes, dropping from them onto the familiar plastic casing of an actual Playstation 4 game. I could cry because I want to cry. This is just how one feels when they feel emotionally manipulated as the empty shell of a deceased loved one is repeatedly dragged into visibility, reminding you of what may never be. And what I want to be is an enthusiastic fanboy again, twenty-six years old and less grizzled by broken promises.