Ico’s Fumito Ueda on new inputs, leaving Sony and what he’d like to make next



Fumito Ueda’s output is small but very familar to Edge readers – the towering forms of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. He’s most recently been working on The Last Guardian, though it’s now heavily-delayed.

In Edge 261, on sale this Thursday, we interview him about his career, his decision to leave Sony and how art motivates him. Here’s a few excerpts:

What would you like to make next?

This may be surprising, but one day I’d like to make a game on the theme of zombies. I’d like to try making a low-threshold game for hardware that is based around a touchpad. That’s if I can come up with a well-suited idea, of course. There are many other things, too, but they’re secret.

We’re not short of zombie games. What’s left to try?

With a zombie motif, in terms of AI and motion technology and the operability of the player character, there are many elements that interest me and that are suited to in-game expression. Especially if there is a way to use [zombies] not just as a convenient enemy for the player to shoot at, but in a way that allows me to express a character in a lyrical way. There are always possibilities. n

Did Ico and SotC turn out as you’d first imagined them?

“Both of them are close to how I’d envisioned them. In Ico’s case the design and in SotC’s the visual look were very close to what I’d imagined.”

Can an artist ever really consider his own work to be perfect?

“Temporarily I think it’s possible. When I was a CG animator I had moments when I temporarily felt that way about a piece of motion or effects I’d produced.”

Then again, can the games pumped out once a year by the major studios be considered art?

“The definition of art is so ambiguous that it’s hard to say, but basically I don’t think the production time has anything to do with artistic value.”

That colossus is either far away or very small.

Why did you decide to go freelance?

It’s difficult to explain, but in a nutshell it was because I felt a sense of crisis within myself about a lot of things. It’s hard to [say exactly what], but in terms of my own growth and career and so on.

What was Sony’s reaction when you decided to leave? Were the negotiations tough?

“It was not easy. But I can’t go into the details just yet. It will be good to be able to discuss it along with a post-mortem of TLG someday.”

Are you still interested in working for major publishers or platform holders, or does independent development tempt you?

“All of that is secret too.”

Have you been influenced by any recent games?

“There are many recent titles that I reference in terms of game technology. Things like motion transition, for example.”

Are you interested in making games that are not for game consoles, maybe for smartphones or a handheld? Or even to make something outside of games altogether?

“I’d like to try making a low-threshold game for hardware that is based around a touchpad. That’s if I can come up with a well-suited idea of course.”

Our full interview with Ueda appears in Edge issue 261, out this Thursday, November 21.