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'Progress is slow and the title faces very tough technical issues' admits Sony design chief

Sony sends in the West to finish Last Guardian

Sony has sent in its Western studios to help tackle the troubled development of Team Ico’s The Last Guardian, Sony’s game design chief has revealed.

In an interview with Wired, Shuhei Yoshida said that Sony Santa Monica and other teams in the US and Europe have been brought in to support the Japanese developer finish the title.

“It’s not just Santa Monica, we have great tech people in Worldwide Studios,” said Yoshida.

“We have a central tech group in the U.S. and the U.K. so we are giving them whatever help they need. Technically, we have the best engineers in the U.S. and Europe, so these teams are helping them, giving advice.”

First announced at E3 in 2009, the game has faced a series of setbacks, with studio boss Fumito Ueda quitting the developer at the end of last year, but staying on on a contractual basis, as well as the title suffering from numerous delays.

Yoshida admitted that progress on the game was slow, and there were currently no talks on a possible release date for the game due to the creative and technical challenges it faces.

“The progress is slow and sometimes the team has to go back and review things,” stated Yoshida.

“There’s a vision that we want to realise but it’s a very, very tough and technical issue that the team is tackling and some plans have to be made to evaluate and go through the process.

“At one point the progress was great, so we talked about the timing of the launch in the past. But now it’s making progress, but still not to the level – it’s playable – but not to the point that we can talk about the timing of launch.”

Yoshida also took the opportunity to clarify that Team Ico boss Fumito Ueda was still hard at work on the game, despite being set to leave the company once development is complete.

“It’s not like he left the making of The Last Guardian. He’s on top of the game and coming into the office. He could be the person who’s in the office for the longest time,” said Yoshida.

“The difference is that he used to be a regular employee. But now we have a contract to define his role. It’s a very special contribution and role that he plays and we agreed; let’s make it more official, more special. That’s the only difference.”

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