Team ICO: Aesthetic Appeal Is Crucial
There's a significant difference between technical achievement and overall aesthetic appeal; you don't necessarily need one to acquire the other, and Team ICO's productions in the past are proof of that theory.
Team ICO founder and creator of The Last Guardian, Fumito Ueda, spoke to Develop about creating beautiful, absorbing worlds that utilize the "full potential" of the system in question. Despite his drive for the best of the best in terms of visuals, though, he clarified that "visible technical flaws and limitations are inconsequential when placed in an aesthetically impactful game world." He still wants any game he creates to come as close to reality as possible and in the end, he's on the fence regarding technical limitations:
"I 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."
As far as Ueda is concerned, just because the limitations of a visual presentation are obvious, that doesn't mean the player can't enjoy and appreciate that fictional world. It all comes down to aesthetic appeal, and one can easily point to previous efforts like ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.
"It'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 landcape or pretty light effects that's probably what he will remember and not the bad texture next to it."
Well, we can say, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we'll be focusing on the gaming experience when we sit down to play The Last Guardian. Sure, we'll be blown away by certain visual accomplishments (as we were in SotC), but any technical limitations won't dissuade us. We can promise that.
Related Game(s): The Last Guardian
7/8/2009 Ben Dutka