With ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Japanese game designer Fumito Ueda has created two fascinating titels. The unusual concepts behind them resulted in a whole new way to experience videogames. His latest creation, the PS3-exclusive The Last Guardian, is supposed to combine the best elements of his previous games. We have met Ueda-san at the Tokyo Game Show and asked him about his job, his visions and - of course - The Last Guardian...
4Players: First of all: Thank you for two excellent games Ueda-san, thank
Fumito Ueda leads videogames into new directions. His titles ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are already classics.
you for ICO and Shadow of the Colossus!
Fumito Ueda: (smiles, nods...)
4Players: We love these games because of their distinctive atmosphere. There is something special about this kind of fantasy. How do you create those worlds? What was the first step on ICO?
Fumito Ueda: To answer your second question first...It's actually quite a long time since ICO. And I don't quite remember for sure, but I think it was a Japanese TV-commercial that was kind of the trigger. There was a commercial with a very tall woman holding hands with a little boy. And I think that kind of triggered ICO. In terms of how I create the worlds...It really comes from gamedesign. So I take everything which needs to be there, everything that's necessary. And then it ends up like it is. So it's more from gamedesign.
4Players: We have graphics, sounds, gameplay, story and much more. What are the most important aspects for you in gamedesign?
Fumito Ueda: If I had to single something out I think it's kind of the image, the visual screen. The image that's reproduced during gameplay. So that's the first thing I kind of have an image
A new dreamteam? The hero and the beast.
of when producing or developing a game. And then from there I think what needs to be done in order to realize this image of the screen and the gameplay. I think that would be it.
4Players: For a long time videogames could just spark simple feelings like revenge or anger. What can we expect in the future? Do you think that videogames should develop a more mature approach like Heavy Rain or a more emotional approach like Flower?
Fumito Ueda: Actually before your question I've never really thought of which direction it should go. But what I look for or what I'm kind of referencing is movies. Because I think it's evolved further than games have in terms of modern entertainment. And so whatever I think can be expressed in films I think can be expressed through games.
4Players: You graduated from the Osaka University of Arts. When you look back on your studies: What are the most valuable things you learned?
Fumito Ueda: Actually during university I was studying abstract visual like paintings and so on... So I think maybe I'm doing the exact opposite because it's not abstract obviously. And so what I think what I learned through my studies is not really about technique or craftsmanship...that type of idea...but more about the ability to plan and to come up with ideas in the planning stage.
4Players: For a long time there were clear differences between western and eastern gamedesign, between American and Japanes titles. Recently some developers like Konami and Capcom try to approach the American way of gamedesign. What is your opinion about this?
Fumito Ueda: Personally I'm a player or user that enjoyed European and North American games. And so I don't feel any strangeness or awkwardness in the fact that Japanese games are trying to incorporate such style.