The Last Guardian Producer Quits

Yoshifus Hayama was most recently the Executive Producer on Sony exclusive, The Last Guardian. Now he works for Rupert Murdoch at an unproven social network gaming developer in London. The world of gaming, my friends, has changed.

Sony had not announced that Hayama had quit the company prior to this news of his joining up with recently acquired Bossa. The move is sure to raise a few eyebrows: Hayama is going from a studio famous for its engaging narratives and deep, encompassing worlds to a young studio that are focussing on forging News Corps’ path into the massively expanding social gaming market.

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Here’s how Hayama – former Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment – announced his move:

[the future of gaming] is definitely online and thanks to recent developments with Flash 11, there is no reason why a social game can no longer be as visually stunning and as compelling as the big console titles.
Together at Bossa we have plans to bring a plethora of games to Facebook and eventually other appropriate social media channels, which include 3D elements and can be enjoyed by all age and interest groups,

Is it just me that withers a little inside to see that quote?

Apparently, last week, Fumito Ueda also quit Sony and will now be finishing The Last Guardian’s development on a freelance capacity. Sony aren’t talking about that move either, which I also find slightly worrying for the state of The Last Guardian. Please, someone tell me it’s all going to be okay…

Source: Develop

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45 Comments

  1. I really don’t like this news..

  2. “The world of gaming, my friends, has changed.”

    Amen to that.

    • It’s true &, to me & no doubt most of TSA, saddening.

  3. Although there’s been reassuring messages it doesn’t look great for the final product, seriously how can the guy do this ona freelance basis without Sony’s pockets and now with senior bods leaving too :(

    The development time needed to realise this vision coupled with the s-l—o—–w progress is worrying.

    It’s such a long time since ‘that BBC game’

    PS4 anyone?

    • That’s true, we haven’t seen anything by Fumito Ueda on PS3 yet [besides the remakes], have we?

    • I actually think it will make it. Maybe even in 2012. No matter the people leaving, I’m sure everyone still involved wants to get this thing out while the hype is right. The Last Guardian could potentially see much higher sales than Ico or SotC.

    • You don’t quite get it. There is no such thing as “Team Ico” per se. It has always been an informal name for the Sony staff working on Ueda projects. Obviously The Last Guardian will be completed by Sony and with Sony’s money, with Ueda acting as creative consultant.

      The fact that the producer was sacked is pretty much logical — he was directly responsible for wasting six years on a project which have taken less than four. Sony are just making sure (much too late in my opinion) that management is finally handled in a reasonable way.

      If by misfortune the final game is not up to snuff, it won’t be because some key staff members have left the boat in the last months of development. The game director alone will be responsible for that.

  4. Whaaaaat? 0_o

  5. I, for one, will stop gaming altogether if the future of the industry is viral facebook games on flash.
    Zynga and Bossa might be trying to tap into a whole new unexplored market of gamers that had never picked up a controller before but get addicted to Restuarent City or Zynga Poker or whatever the big game is now, but I will never make that leap.
    This angers and upsets me that somebody working on a potential masterpiece has jumped ship to work on a Facebook flash game.

    • I know exactly what you mean, but spending £100m in dev money to sell a couple of million (maybe) copies or spending peanuts to get 50m people playing your game… Plenty of people will go where it’s a no-brainer, hopefully & probably they’ll be enough people left to keep banging out console titles even if they’re focused on an increasingly small number of established franchises.

      • You are right. I just wish it wasnt the case. Every facebook game I have ever played is just a rehash of a PC or console game from a decade ago. Just adding the social aspect and accesability means that 10s of millions of people jump on it. Where is the originality? The Last Guardian looked to be shaping up to be something special and original with a story. Now im worried.

      • Well, MW3 has proved that low production costs are important these days [not much development there, but still loads & loads of sales].

    • Same here. The day I have to log in to Facebook to play a new AAA game is the day I put down my controller. I don’t think it will happen, though. At least not in our generation…

      • I don’t reckon it’ll happen at all, it’s just an emergent new market that will sit alongside the traditional one. At least, it better bloody had or I too will down pads, as I detest facebook games for similar reasons as you guys. But then we aren’t the target market I guess.

  6. Didn’t Adobe want to kill flash? And Sony was trying to convince them not to? I think I read that somewhere: Vice-President Scumbag.

    • Adobe see their future in HTML5 and have released a whole suite of new tools to that effect, the transition will start on mobile first where Flash isn’t as ubiquitous as it is on desktop anyway, but will inevitably follow on desktop too.

      They’ve not released Flash11 which can even run the Unreal Engine 3, which plenty of PS360 games use so Flash 11 coupled with the low barrier of entry and a reach of something like 99% of internet enabled PCs will mean it will be around for a while yet.

  7. I understand what he’s saying about Flash, and I understand that the way it looks at the moment is that the the highest ROI in gaming is in social media, but I know I will never make the leap to move away from dedicated gaming and into the social space that requires integration with Facebook et al.

    Games as they stand currently won’t die out, they’ll just keep evolving as they have done for the past couple of decades. The slew of options that are available to me at the moment might decrease as people move towards casual and social media games, but there will always be developers making games that I want to play and spend money on……maybe less will be more in the long-run.

  8. Urgh, makes me want to puke.

    • Me too. Facebook games are the worst thing in the world. It seems he’s only moving for the money. I just hope this doesn’t entirely ruin TLG. I don’t want it to be a DNF…

      • Well if he’s right and the future of gaming is online the I’m glad that there is such great talent working on it. However, I do also fear for TLG, very much so.

  9. TLG isn’t coming out, is it? :(

    • Some guy finishing a mega budget title in his bedroom, with the distraction of dancing cats & too many coffee breaks?

    • I must admit thats my thought too… :(

      • I had exactly the same thought. It seems that if it does get a release, it wont be what it was origionally intended to be anyways. I am a sad panda.

        “Is it just me that withers a little inside to see that quote?”

        Nope, absolutley not.

    • yes, it is, but it’ll be a freemium game delivered via multiple social networking channels that requires you to regularly buy virtual cat food to keep that weird eagle-cat alive while also requiring that you click a “remove arrows” button at least once every three hours, otherwise he becomes sick and you have to get 20 friends to donate medicine before he vomits on his hut and you have to enter your credit card details to buy a new eagle-cat house for 99p and AAAARRRRRRGH!

      • I just laughed out loud at my work desk at this. I expect a disaplinary meeting any moment now. Thanks.

      • Blue, that was genius mate :D

    • DON’T SAY THAT! :,(

  10. Seems perfectly reasonable, he wants to take the same kind of scope and vision that we get in console titles and apply it to the highly profitable social market where he feels he can push new frontiers and get paid a boat load of cash.

    Although social games are growing it’s not at the expense of traditional titles, it’s in tandem with the growth of pretty much all forms of games. I see nothing wrong with that, get more people playing and let them play whatever they want. Just because I don’t like Facebook games (although I love Flash games) why shouldn’t someone else find enjoyment there?

    • because it’s contrary to my personal tastes and therefore fundamentally wrong. :-P

      I understand exactly all of the reasoning behind this and the general move towards social gaming. I don’t blame people for looking at new ways to expand their creative experiences in work. I see the lure in business terms. I just don’t like it.

    • “Although social games are growing it’s not at the expense of traditional titles”

      No, traditional titles are under threat from gamer’s buying habits, with publishers canning projects & focusing on an increasingly small number of established franchises.

      Unreal Engine 3 powered experiences playable in Flash with its 99% internet enabled PC penetration… How long before web based gaming rivals consoles for ‘traditional’ experiences anyway, especially if we’re on the edge of a brain drain.

      • I think the web will certainly start to move towards those experiences, and the stuff being done with WebGL (which is based on OpenGL) will certainly drive that as well as Flash. There is the question of the business model though, whether a Half-Life or even a TLG could work with microtransactions or if there’s room for retail pricing on content in a browser.

    • “it’s in tandem with the growth of pretty much all forms of games.”

      That’s the problem. This statement isn’t exactly true. Although no evidence to show it, it already looks like TLG has been affected now. And that’s only going to get bigger as companies as a whole (and not just the individual) start going down the social media/flash games.

      I have no beef with FB games, yet don’t play them. I just worry what it is doing to the market that I love so much!

      • This is one case, and I suspect there’s far more issues there than a team member leaving.

      • I agree, it is one case. My worry is will it stay one case, that’s all. Just the general change in the market worries me. Inspirational and unique games failing (not always) and colour by numbers rehashes killing the opposition (again not always) just doesn’t point to the brightest of futures.

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