Devel­oper Team Ico

Pub­lisher SCE

For­mat PS2

Re­lease 2005

Right af­ter the com­ple­tion of Ico, maybe even within a few weeks, I started work on Shadow Of The Colos­sus. The rea­son I know this is that I still have a sketch I made of a gi­ant on which I wrote the date, which has the same ex­act day writ­ten on it that Ico came out in Ja­pan. So I must have had the idea for the game even ear­lier. Like I said, I of­ten like to start with a sketch.

Ico is a quiet game and ev­ery­thing hap­pens in a rel­a­tively small, en­closed space. I read sev­eral re­views in the Ja­panese press that said, while the am­biance of Ico was ef­fec­tive, noth­ing much re­ally hap­pens. Some even said at the time that per­haps Ico couldn’t re­ally be called a game. So I wanted my next game to be more con­ven­tional, to avoid those crit­i­cisms. I thought: ‘What is the most game-like char­ac­ter­is­tic? Fight­ing.’ So I def­i­nitely wanted to have an em­pha­sis on ac­tion.

But I also wanted the kind of in­ti­macy that you can see in Ico through the hold­ing of hands be­tween char­ac­ters. Touch is im­por­tant to me: a meet­ing point be­tween two en­ti­ties. I had to fig­ure out what the meet­ing point in Shadow Of

The Colos­sus would be. That’s when I had the idea to make it a much larger sur­face. I thought: what if the touch point is not hold­ing hands but hug­ging, or even hang­ing off one an­other. That’s where the idea for Nico, as the game was called at the time, orig­i­nated.

Mak­ing the game was a huge tech­ni­cal chal­lenge. I was lucky: we had a pro­gram­mer who loved this kind of ma­jor chal­lenge. In no small part it’s thanks to him that my grand idea didn’t sink the project be­fore it had even started.

It’s worth also talk­ing about the game’s at­mos­phere, I think. Ico is, in some ways, a happy game. Things end in a pleas­ing way. It broadly has a happy res­o­lu­tion. Shadow Of The Colos­sus has a dif­fer­ent arc. A lot of movies have happy end­ings. Very few games end in tragedy. So that of­fered a point of dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. I also wanted to make a game that lived on in peo­ple’s minds for a long time. Sad ex­pe­ri­ences can of­ten leave a strong im­pres­sion. The same thing ap­plies to movies and songs. Melan­choly works are of­ten more mem­o­rable and leave a longer last­ing im­pres­sion.

Ueda shrugs off the sug­ges­tion he’s a per­fec­tion­ist. “All I strive for is to do what I think is right and to ex­e­cute it in the man­ner that it should be pre­sented,” he says

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