Fumito Ueda, the creator of the emblematic games Shadow of the Colossus or Ico, recently took part on a panel at the Nordic Game Conference, where he discussed his creation process, his storytelling style and talked a little bit about his next project after finally completing PS4 exclusive The Last Guardian.
First Ueda told the audience about his first time working with Sony and how Ico came to be. He remembers that at the time Ico was a project he was doing on his own and that he was running out of savings. Then he was hired by Sony as a CD artist. When his supervisors heard about his project, they offered him develop it inside the company.
Talking about the first stages of a new project, Ueda says that many times he starts working off a single mental image, which he then develops into a whole world with its own story. That was the case with two of his games: With Ico, the image was a young boy leading a tall girl by her hand. In The Last Guardian the image that kickstarted everything was Trico sitting on a narrow ledge, with the boy protagonist hanging below him.
These images allow him to develop a storyline, but he says he likes to leave some story details unclear, just so each player can fill the blanks with their own imagination. The inspiration for this kind of storytelling is the famous haiku poetry.
In perhaps the meatiest part of the discussion, Ueda described how Shadow of the Colossus’ open world system came from the experience of working with Ico, which is a very linear game. And since Shadow allowed him all that liberty, he preferred to go back to a more intimate space in The Last Guardian. He says he can’t talk about the details of his next project, inadvertedly confirming that he is already working on a new game, but he may follow the same pattern and look for a more open-world type of game: “Now I’ve completed The Last Guardian and spent so many years in that game, maybe I may go back to the Shadow-type environment.”
Having his last game just come out months ago, we certainly don’t expect to see anything about Ueda’s next project anytime soon, but it is reassuring that he is already working on a new title.