About a week ago there was a panic among the fans who heard that the long time in development game, The Last Guardian, was canceled because the copyright for the name was lost. Fortunately, Sony released a statement saying that the game is still in development and that there is no need to worry, but I’d like to take the time to talk about Team ICO.
There are many intriguing development teams out there, there are few who put out such wonderful games as Team ICO.
Team ICO, since its creation in 1997, has only released two games. So if they have only made two games in the last 15 years then why are they so cool and awesome? Easy, because the last two games that the team released where these-
Next time you get in an argument about video games as an artistic medium bring up these babies. Not only are these games that present beautiful visuals, stunning and fitting soundtracks, but also have simple, but fascinating stories!
Ico: An adventure/puzzle game where you take on the role of a horned child who was exiled to a castle and must find your way out with a mysterious girl, named Yorda, while being chased by black creatures.
Shadow of the Colossus: An adventure game set in a massive explorable world where you, The Wanderer, have traveled to revive a loved one by defeating the 16 towering colossi. (actually the sequel (prequel?) to Ico, but you don’t really have to play Ico to enjoy the game…. but you should… cause it’s like really great)
The impressive thing about these games though is how they communicate the story to the player. The characters do talk to one another, in a unique, fictitious language, but combined the scripts for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus don’t even reach ten pages. Unlike most games that can’t shut up for five seconds, Team Ico chose to let the player experience the story by actually playing it!
You don’t have someone popping up every five minutes to tell you every single thing and you don’t have convoluted characters who don’t shut up. You explore the world, you learn about the characters, and then in the end you have a story that you can sit down and ponder over even after you finish the game.
Although I don’t even know the horned boy’s name I know that he is hard working, determined, and won’t let anything hurt Yorda. While I don’t know the relationship between Wanderer and the woman he is trying to revive I know that she is oh so precious to him that he will take on any challenge to get her back.
Video games have come a long way in a short time, the business has come to a point where there are famous writers putting out really good stories. Games can show character interaction and development in ways that were technologically impossible a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean that games have to abandon the old ways of conveyance. Much like video games of old, Team ICO will give you one or two minutes of exposition at the beginning and a nice wrap up ending, but it’s all up to the player to figure out how to get to that conclusion.
It seems like video games feel like they have to choose between words or actions, not realizing that some of the best stories combine conveyance of emotion through both words and action. Team ICO definitely has that balance and knows how to use it.
-Karinacus, patiently awaiting The Last Guardian…
P.S. I just realized that today’s whining is awfully reminiscent of Egoraptor’s Megaman Sequelitis episode, you should go watch that.
P.S.S.S. I still love you MGS