No­body said mak­ing lifechang­ing games was easy


As Seneca the Younger once pro­nounced with a waft of his toga, it is a rough road that leads to the heights of great­ness. The man who once dis­pensed ad­vice to em­peror Nero of Rome knew very well that mak­ing awe­some videogames – or books, or films, or an­i­ma­tion – is re­ally bloody hard in­deed. Hence the preva­lence of painful crunch pe­ri­ods at stu­dios the world over, the tolls taken on those who make games, and of course the cas­cades of bugs that need patch­ing up with day-one up­dates. For a lot of de­vel­op­ers, it’s not just a rough road but a long one, too. Just ask Fu­mito Ueda, whose most re­cently pub­lished game reached shelves a few weeks prior to the ar­rival of Xbox 360 way back in late 2005.

Fol­low­ing the ma­jes­tic Shadow Of The Colos­sus, Ueda passed over an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of con­sole hard­ware, a feat we’re fairly cer­tain no other high-pro­file videogame de­vel­oper can match. When The Last Guardian is re­leased later this year, it will be into an en­vi­ron­ment that’s moved on a bit. But it’s done so, in part, thanks to the ef­forts of Ueda and his team. Where would we be to­day with­out all of the up-and-com­ing de­vel­op­ers who’ve cited 2001’s Ico as an in­spi­ra­tion in re­cent years? (No less a tal­ent than Hide­taka Miyazaki has said that it was the game that “awoke” him to the po­ten­tial of videogames, in­spir­ing him to break into the in­dus­try, re­sult­ing in the Dark Souls series.) For a man with di­rec­tor cred­its on just two pub­lished ti­tles, Ueda has made an ex­tremely deep im­pres­sion across the world of videogames, and only in a pos­i­tive way.

Now he and his col­leagues are ready for the mod­ern era, with the ad­ven­ture of a young boy and his pe­cu­liar cat-like com­pan­ion. On p64 we look at the cul­mi­na­tion of work that be­gan nine event­ful years ago.

In this is­sue we also visit Play­tonic, whose Yooka-Laylee is es­sen­tially a fol­low-up to 2000’s Banjo-Tooie. The team hasn’t skipped a gen­er­a­tion in the in­ter­ven­ing time, but its past 16 years haven’t al­ways been sat­is­fy­ing ones. On p78 we find out how it got back to where it feels like it be­longs.

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