Ico creator has a love/hate relationship with technology
Fumito Ueda, the much-lauded creator of Ico, has been talking with games magazine ‘Level’ about aesthetics versus the available technology, and he admits he has a love/hate relationship with the limitations hardware imposes on him.
As the project lead on The Last Guardian, that led manly journalists to shed real tears when it was shown at E3 this year, Ueda has a lot to say about how visible flaws can be made inconsequential when placed in an impactful gaming world.
Ueda has always placed a high level of importance on visual fidelity in his games. As a consequence, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus have become renowned for their style and quality, gathering cult status amongst gamers. These latest comments, therefore, do come as somewhat of a surprise.
The full explanation and context, however, do shed some light into his thought processes:
“I always want to use the full technical potential. Even before we start developing our games I try to predict how close to reality we can come, and then start working from that point.â€
â€œI both hate and love the technical limitations. It’s kind of a Catch-22 for me. If we don’t have any limit to work from, it becomes hard to make anything good out of an idea. But if we on the other hand have a very distinct technical limit it’s impossible to go beyond it. It will put the bar in a certain place without any way to raise it.â€
â€œIt’s thanks to that my games have a very special aesthetic profile. It’s a way to make the player forget about technical limitations and focus on the gaming experience. If a player sees a beautiful landscape or pretty light effects that’s probably what he will remember and not the bad texture next to it.â€
Without a doubt, Ueda and his team are masters of creating aesthetically pleasing gaming worlds, interwoven with characters and stories that make gamers actually ‘feel’ something, an emotional response that not many games developers can manage.
Whatever happens next, The Last Guardian is almost certain to continue the rich tradition first seen with Ico all those years ago.