Project Trico

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I suffer from a certain lack of objectivity regarding the works of Team ICO. So much as mention Shadow Of The Colossus in my proximity and you will be treated to a gushing waterfall of superlatives so powerful they would have propelled Daniel Day-Lewis’s Mohican bones to that rocky riverbed with such force that he wouldn’t have been able to find his own pelvis, let alone Madeline Stowe. Since my first glimpse of the architectural beauty of ICO and the emotional clout of its spiritual sequel SOTC I have been hopping from foot to foot with my eager hands outstretched (a dance I like to call the ‘Gimme-Gimme Shuffle’) awaiting the next addition to Team ICO’s auspicious portfolio.

So, you can imagine my state of mind as my pointer hovered over the play button of this:


One girlish squeal and several viewings later, I can report that I am a stupidly excited, if slightly confused young man.

My first reaction was, inevitably, “Wow”. Sticking with the established Team ICO aesthetic of muted greens, greys and golds, Project Trico nestles neatly alongside its predecessors in terms of visual approach. However, seeing what the art designers have been able to accomplish with our current generation of hardware is both a joy and a privilege. While ICO and SOTC didn’t follow on from each other in a narrative sense, they seemed to exist in the same conceptual universe as one another and it is a pleasure to behold that same hauntingly gorgeous, seemingly forgotten realm realised in such high definition splendour.

The creature, which is being loosely referred to as a Griffin, a mythical beastie with the body of a lion and the wings of an eagle, seems to have more in common with a kitten than its antelope-swatting big brothers, certainly where physicality is concerned. With Fumito Ueda’s team having already cut their creative teeth on the stone-clad skin of the sixteen collossi which populated their last effort, they have concocted an utterly enchanting (and unreasonably cute) symbiosis of bird and land mammal on a predictably grand scale.

The young boy shown with the Griffin is a very simple character by comparison, reminiscent of Ico himself (minus the horns and clingy girlfriend) with hints of 80s manga-esque facial styling – Cities of Gold anyone? However, it is the interaction between boy and beast that has really flicked my salivation switch. It looks like gameplay will be based around a relationship dynamic, similar to the one that existed between Ico and Yorda. One character will have the ability to go where the other cannot and the player will be required to utilise their respective strengths and capabilities in order to solve geographical puzzles. I adored this approach in ICO and even felt echoes of it in the bond between Wander and his horse Agro in SOTC, so I am extremely pleased to see evidence of similar gameplay woven into Project Trico.

Project Trico

There is, however, a huge and somewhat depressing qualifier to all of this sweaty-palmed speculation. Reports suggest that this ‘trailer’ is actually a proof of concept video that has been circulating the boardrooms of Sony HQ for over a year now. This means that there is a possibility that the finished game will look nothing like the footage shown above. The video itself doesn’t seem to be taken from actual gameplay and the music and sound effects are clearly stock, so it is very difficult to tell how much we should invest in this or, indeed, any unofficial revelation. I worry that my expectations have been unfairly tainted, that I will sit down in a year or so’s time to eagerly sample the promised delights of Trico pie, only to discover I’m staring at a salad that bears no resemblance to the description on the menu that made me so hungry in the first place. Still, I guess this is why we are encouraged to take such meals with pinches of salt.

My expectations have always been high for Team ICO’s next endeavour and this snapshot of the early stages of Project Trico’s production has only served to raise them further. Whatever does or does not appear in the finished product, this premature sighting of their third offering seems to confirm that the essence of the previous games, the sense of companionship, the unique creatures and emotional core are all alive in Project Trico. And this fills me with hope.







4 responses to “Project Trico”

  1. Celeste avatar

    I too am so excited about this project. When I played Ico I thought it just conveyed the nicest instance of co-dependency between characters as well as a visually beautiful remote environment. The universe you speak of is fabulously graced with ethereal charm.

    I love games that centre on companionship and cooperative play. I thought this was an amazingly executed feature in Haunting Ground. I can honestly say I loved that damn mutt. I felt genuinely sick with myself when I accidentally pressed the ‘scold’ rather than ‘praise’ button. It’s quite surprising how many times I can consistently get that wrong, actually. The character co-op play in Project Trico looks to be even better than it was in Ico because the griffin thingamabob whatsit seems so much more responsive towards the main character. Plus (s)he is ludicrously cute. I am very much looking forward to profusely apologising for accidentally scolding that overgrown ball of delight.

    If it does end up being a kind of metaphorical salad, I’m betting it’ll be some prawn, lobster and avocado feast finished with a slight sprinkling of heroin.

  2. Michael avatar

    Can’t say anything like that *points up* as I ain’t much of a gusher so I’ll just say WANTWANTWANT. I think it works…

  3. markBOSS avatar

    Looks like it will!

    #just watched it on the Sony E3 con#

    p.s. Im re buying my ps3

  4. James avatar

    Since writing this, Sony have announced the game officially at E3 under the title ‘The Last Guardian’. Looks like Team ICO have been busy bees:

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