Back in January 2007, Japanese game designer Fumito Ueda got his fans in a lather with a single image: a rusty chain emerging from what appeared to be an old, moss-covered well. It didn’t look like much, and given that the image was discovered in a job listing on Sony’s website, could have been overlooked altogether. But such was the affection for Ueda’s first two games, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the mere thought of a third title was exciting enough by itself.
The Last Guardian, after almost a decade of delays, finally emerged in 2016. Another fusion of action-adventure, environmental puzzles, and a nagging air of existential gloom, it was a flawed yet beautiful-looking title. Unfortunately, the stresses of making it essentially tore its developer, Team Ico, apart – Ueda left long before development ended, and wound up working for Sony on a freelance basis.
He’s since set up a new studio, Gen Design, and if its website’s anything to go by, work is currently under way on Ueda’s fourth opus. To mark the new year, the company updated its site’s front page with a new image – a shadowy, minimal glimpse of a spectral figure sitting in what appears to be a dungeon. Here it is…
To the right, there’s a huge, wrinkled hand – that of a giant, perhaps, or some Trico-like mythical beast.
Like the chain and the well from January 2007, the image seems designed to provoke at least a bit of discussion. The glowing female figure looks very much like Yorda, the ghostly character from 2001’s Ico. The stone slabs hint at a castle setting akin to Ico, too, though whether the giant hand belongs to something friendly or dangerously unfriendly is anyone’s guess.
Above the figure, birds appear to circle – possibly attracted by the ray of light emanating from the girl’s head. Can she attract birds as some kind of defense mechanism? If so, she may want to pack an umbrella.
Naturally, there’s nothing more to go on at this stage, so we’ll leave the idle speculation on pause for now. We’ll bring you more on this mystery Ueda project as we get it – but if The Last Guardian‘s anything to go by, the finished game should be ready some time in 2026.