This is still ongoing but the most challenging aspect so far was Trico’s movement, his navigation. The boy is a normal human being and Trico is a very tall beast so in terms of scale there are some areas that are not going to fit Trico. So there will be narrow areas which only the boy can use and other areas where you have to take advantage of Trico’s size.
Everything is made and calculated based on the boy because this is going to be the player character. If you are trying to imagine how to get through passages a simple analogy would be trying to park a long trailer in a narrow garage. You have to make many ins and outs until it finally fits right. And in the game it was our biggest challenge to minimize the times players have to go back and forth to make Trico fit.
When would you consider the last guardian to be a success?
The answer is very very clear to me. If every player leaves the game with the feeling that the character was really this lifelike character, a real living thing in a real world, even though you are just experiencing it through a monitor, then I consider the game as a success. And not only while you are playing but even afterwards. This would be my goal.
There are only quite a few games that feature a natural, dynamic and unpredictable relationship. Why do you think this is the case?
I think that in general most games are about making progress. The actions the player takes deliver a direct feeling of satisfaction. This process if repated over and over again in order to finish the game, in a kind of redundant manner. Many gamers are really happy with this cycle and they are satisfied by clearing a level or finishing the game. This is very much not for what I go for. My main goal is that I want you to feel the presence and the existence of this creature, someone you are eventually going to team up with.
In order for me to accomplish that goal I came up with this natural forming relationship idea that needs to happen. Thoughts like ‘What do I need to do next to clear the level?’, ‘Does Trico like me and how do I level him up?” are not important and don’t describe the direction of the game. The focus really lies on the organic sort of relationship.
The Last Guardian again deals with an important relationship. Is there a particular relationship between two characters from a movie, game or book you really enjoyed?
I always really liked Doraemon and the relationship between the boy and the robotic cat. My favorite is the movie Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur from 1980. In this a dinosaur egg hatches and the characters bond with the animal inside and form a relationship. This was a dynamic duo that I always thought of as a nice relationship.