The Last Guardian’s Line Producer Leaves Sony

Kenji Kaido, Line Producer of the beleaguered The Last Guardian, has left Sony Computer Entertainment, throwing the game’s PS3 release further into doubt.

The announcement came via Kaido’s personal Twitter (picked up here) and points to a situation where development on the repeatedly delayed third person adventure is clearly under pressure.

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The trademark for The Last Guardian was the cause of much discussion a few weeks back, although Sony are still adamant that the game is still under development and will still see a PS3 release.

Whilst I don’t doubt that Team Ico are still battling away at their third game, it’s unlikely to see the light of day on the current generation of PlayStation consoles.

If it’s not dead, it’s on PS4.

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22 Comments

  1. Confused as to why great studios like Liverpool get shut down, whilst these guys get to piss about and not actually release anything. I don’t care how good it is.

    • Pretty much agree. Still thinking about how best to put into words how I feel about Liverpool…

    • I was chatting about this in the pub tonight and our chinwag shed a little light. We have to ignore the love affair with then from the old Psygnosis days and realise that they were almost exclusively living off the back of the Wipeout franchise and nothing else. Add to this that the franchise was pretty much perfect with the second outing and from there on in it’s been very much a variation on a theme.

      Finally, a PSN version yielded lower sales (I guess).

      I hate to say it (and it’s with heavy heart) but they really might’ve been perceived as not pulling their weight.

      • I, personally, had no “love affair” with Liverpool studio. In fact, I actually disliked Wipeout. My point was only referring to sales, and surely they must’ve turned some sort of profit on all? If the sales were an issue, then Sony really are getting their hopes up about the PS Vita sales yield…
        Besides, how many games have Team Ico sold in the past 4 years? None. (Not counting the HD collection because it’s not a new game)

      • Even ignoring Psygnosis, it’s fair to assume that SL’s direction in terms of games and licenses was controlled by SCE as a group. That is, they were told to work on WipEout.

        The news that they’d been working on a PS4 title for 18 months is gutting. WipEout 2048 was great, too. Why HD was a PSN title is anyone’s guess, but it was an odd decision.

      • @bmg_123 fwiw Team Ico had nothing to do with the HD collection.

      • Don’t get me wrong, it’s an odd one, but it took more reflection (tonight) about being initially gutted and then realising that they hadn’t turned anything (of much note) outside of the Wipeout franchise. Still… it feels weird to see them go and as Alex has said, Sony had control of the guys for a while so strange that they weren’t steered into fresher pastures a long time ago.

      • @Alex Yeah I know, I was just stating it in case anyone thought that :)

      • I agree with BGM. What exactly did Team ICO achieve in all those years besides release two critically acclaimed games which ultimately failed to make a lot of money? Studio Liverpool was forced to go down the Wipeout only route and they handled that franchise like champs. Every game was enjoyable, no matter how similar they were. Post launch support with DLC was also great. Surely releasing games on a regular basis that at least sell some mediocre amounts of copies is still better than not releasing something at all.
        I would honestly rather have another Wipeout (preferrably PS4 launch title) than having to HOPE Team ICO actually manages to release their game, which no doubt will be nothing more than a shadow of what people expected after such a long time.
        SL was also working on a new IP for the PS4 and I really hope their work gets picked up by another skilled studio that finishes the job… *wipes away tears* :P

    • In short, (and not to piss anybody off) but at a worldwide whole, the Sony fanboys have alot more love for Team Ico then Liverpool. Not saying they deserved to get shutdown, but more people are waiting for The Last Guardian then a new WipeOut.

      • [opinion]
        I really doubt it. Compared to ICO and SotC, Wipeout is a franchise that people know. I don’t mean hardcore Wipeout fans but it’s a franchise that was represented on basically every Sony console while Team ICO released two PS2 games that didn’t sell like the hotcakes Sony hoped they were. The thing with the internet is, hardcore fans are much more likely to voice their feelings than average Joe. I’m sure nobody (read: not many) except the core gamers that actually closely follow gaming news and the information that comes out of game conventions really knows jack about The Last Guardian. Team ICO games are niche games while Wipeout definitely appeals to a broader mass of gamers.
        [/opinion]

      • Team ICO are worth far more than money as their two titles are usually in the first breath when citing reasons to be with Playstation. However, you can’t help think that better management is required regardless. Then again… we had a bazillion years for GT5 and I’m sure Polyphony don’t want the press all over them again for any other future offering.

        Wipeout was lovely. I just wish Sony Liverpool had spread its wings a bit but Sony didn’t appear to let them.

      • There might be some great minds working at Team ICO but they can’t ride the ICO / SotC wave forever. At the end of the day Sony is a business and Team ICO hasn’t been pulling its weight lately. I don’t think TLG will sell enough copies to actually turn a profit if they wait any longer. Even if they break even it’s basically a dead investment that doesn’t turn a profit at the end of a 10 year cycle…

      • I respect your opinion, but I disagree. Wipeout was pretty cool back in the day, but it’s grown stale. And I think it says alot about either the quality or direction of the game if Sony shelved it after 18 months of development. Team Ico produces truly unique games, and they have a rabbid fanbase. Wipeout just doesn’t get anybody but Wipeout fans excited anymore. You’re right about Sony needing to have a business plan for production and profitability, but Team Ico has more Sony appeal, they’se seen in a more creative light, by not just the fans but alot of media as well, then liverpool was. Team Ico is probably the only dev team that could give Hideo Kojima a run for his money in terms of fans loyalty and creativity, or at least they were.

      • I agree that Team ICO has a more hardcore fanbase but I was talking about game exposure. Team ICO released two games during the PS2 lifecycle. That’s it. On the other hand you have at least one Wipeout game on every Sony console. It’s far more likely that someone heared about Wipeout than about ICO or SotC. Hell, I owned every Sony console to date and read up on gaming news on a daily basis and the first I’ve ever heared about Team ICO was when the HD collection got announced. I asume you are a Team ICO fan and I think this clouds your perception of their franchises. Their games were highly acclaimed but failed to sell well which means the games didn’t get that much exposure outside of that core circle of fans.
        There might be a bigger fanbase fot Team ICO than there was for Studio Liverpool but your average consumer might see Wipeout and The Last Guardian sitting on the shelf at a games store and check out the Wipeout box first simply because the franchise is more familiar to average Joe.
        Team ICO create art in form of video games but ultimately that does not always mean that those games will sell a whole lot of copies. In this CoD driven gaming era that we currently live in people want something familiar and I don’t think that TLG would be more familiar to people than another “stale” Wipeout.

  2. The shutting down of studios and steady trickle of departing Sony staff makes me worried about the quality and future of the PlayStation brand. I’d like it to remain serious, innovative and affordably refined, like the rest of Sony.

  3. Can I state the obvious? Liverpool = UK Tax. Where would you invest?

  4. The one thing I can’t figure out with Team Ico and TLG is with all of these high level departures you’d think someone would have something to say. Usually people who quit their jobs love bad mouthing their former employers. All I can figure out is Sony must be paying people off to sign NDAs to keep quite.
    I’ve given up on TLG and am treating it like the 2012 apocalypse… if it happens, it happens.

  5. Ahh…the weekly ‘Will The Last Guardian be canceled or not’ article on the internet… LoL:D (well sort of) Shame these talented people leave SONY but this is LIFE i.e people come & go in their Jobs.

    • I would like to see where you got the weekly will TLG articles from as i’ve not seen any on IGN, EG and CG as well on here. And they usually report any news about an exclusive.

  6. I suspect TLG will be the new Duke Nukem Forever. I just hope it won’t turn out to be crap. It does seem that the staff at the studio are starting to lose faith in it as that’s probably the 5th person to quit within the past year.

    • I can just see it now;

      Team ICO: “yeah, we found that there were altogether far too many issues to be resolved in TLG, so what we did was we made Trico the main character, gave him an AK47 & you now have to hunt the small boy. All in first person view of course.

      We are confident you will get the same enriching experience from this product.”

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