Interview with Fumito Ueda (Team ICO), his next title will be released on Xbox 360 and many more details.
The surprise came at the end of last week, when we received an email from the press department of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe that, very kindly, He invited us to meet Fumito Ueda, head of TeamICO. It was an incredible opportunity to meet the genius and in the process, try to find out something about his new projects for PlayStation 3.
It is clear that Sony has learned the lesson and that in 2009 they are going to put all the meat on the grill for PlayStation 3 to be crowned the queen of the next-gen, so the trips for the specialized press (they haven’t finished understand that this is a blog) are included in the pack.
But let’s focus on what matters. A few media from around the world were able to chat with Fumito Ueda and with Kenji Kaido, director and producer of the famous development studio, who showed us some Concept Art sketches (which we bring you of course), explained the plot in broad strokes and unveiled what until now was the big surprise. The new TeamICO will see the light on Xbox360, hold on, curves are coming.
The first thing that draws Fumito’s attention is his incredible command of Spanish, for some years now he has been trying to learn this language that fascinates him and as he himself confesses, he does not rule out coming to live in our country for a long time, because of the sun and people. He is a pleasant and warm person, who perfectly combines that disheveled and withdrawn air that geniuses have with moments of great character, almost Latin.
Let’s start the interview.
ExtraLife.- First of all Mr. Ueda, it is an honor that you have granted us this interview. His work has countless fans in Spain and believe me it’s an honor.
I smoke Ueda.- Well, you’re welcome, for me it’s an honor to also talk to all the media. It is a unique opportunity to show what we have been preparing for a few years now, so don’t hesitate, take advantage of your 10 minutes.
Vx.- Perfect, then to the attack. Why so much space of time between your titles?
FU- You see, it is not an issue that arises on purpose, things go as they go. We always want to reach the top of the team and we are lucky to have enough trust with the publisher. So we can say, we need one more year, no problem.
Vx.- ‘Ico’ and ‘Shadow of the Colossus’, despite receiving a great reception from specialized critics, did not work very well in terms of sales. How does a team like Team ICO take that?
FU- Well, I think I can say that we have learned our lesson. The two titles you mention contain a great sentimental charge and I think that the current market does not demand something like that.
Vx.- Yeah… maybe you’re right but… that’s precisely why they’re masterpieces, right? That sensation that they give off… that special feeling…
FU- Serious bullshit. People want other kinds of entertainment, people aren’t ready to deal with those issues, and believe me, it took me two entire video games to figure it out.
Vx.- And what do people want?
FU- Action. People want action. Do you know how much ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ sold? Do you know what ‘Gears of Wars 2’ has sold? Well there you have the answer. People want to exterminate aliens with very powerful weapons and that is what we are going to give them.
Vx.- One second I think we missed, is the new TeamICO project an action game? Something in the vein of ‘Gears of War’?
FU- If Kenji finds out, he’ll be mad at me, but yeah. I can confirm that ‘The Queen’ (Fumito Ueda confirms the title we all expected) is an action adventure. Far more violent action than anything seen before on a console. Dismemberment, blood, viscera, eyes… the team is treating it all in a rather poetic way but in essence it is action.
Vx.- It leaves us speechless Mr. Ueda, you are aware that people expect something along the lines of ‘Shadow of the Colossus, right?
FU- Yes, yes, but when people play ‘The Queen’ they will understand what I mean. We’ve made ripping off a giant’s arm with teeth poetic and fun.
Vx.- Giants… wow, since we’re talking about ‘The Queen’, what can you tell us about him?
FU I can say little, the truth. There is still time for it to come out and I don’t want to reveal anything yet… but I can tell you that the plot revolves around an alien invasion.
Vx.- An alien invasion? Come on Mr. Ueda you can’t leave us like this, it’s a very radical change from what they were doing and people will have questions.
FU- Sorry, stay with the idea for now, ‘Gears of War’ + ‘ICO’ + ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ = ‘The Queen’ (this phrase will be repeated later in a general presentation to all invited media and seems to have become in the definition of the new project). Aliens, an army of Aztec warriors, magic, country music, giant colossi that help the protagonist, very bright colors and action, lots of action. It’s going to be the father of FPS, there will be nothing wilder on the market.
Vx.- The father of FPS! My goodness, Mr. Ueda, you don’t know how excited we are to see something from ‘The Queen’. How has it been working with PlayStation 3? A hard and tortuous road as Hideo Kojima once said?
FU- Well, the truth is that we haven’t unboxed the PS3 dev kits yet. They are big, cumbersome and the Team ICO venue is so small… but come on, it won’t be a problem, for sure. We have very prepared people and a piece of advice, don’t believe even half of Kojima, he still owes me money.
Vx.- Wait because it gives me the feeling that we have lost ourselves again. Haven’t they even unboxed the PS3 dev kit? And how are they working? About PlayStation 2 yet?
FU- No… the truth is that we are preparing the Xbox360 version, which will be marketed first, and then we will carry out a port. Like everyone else, come on.
(At this moment Kenji Kaido bursts into the conversation, it seems that Fumito Ueda has said something he shouldn’t have and they argue in Japanese. The creative Japanese raises his hands, looks at the sky and murmurs. At the moment, always with a smile, he kindly asks us to Let’s launch one last question and thus conclude our interview.)
Vx.- Okay, Mr. Ueda, this will be the last question, I hope you don’t mind. What do you think of Nintendo Wii? A risky bet that has gone tremendously well and that has inaugurated a new way of playing. Will we see any ‘Team ICO’ games on the Nintendo console?
FU- Wii? I did not know that Nintendo had a console named like that, but come on, everything is a matter of talking about it and with enough zeros behind the first number, everything is possible. Although at the moment you do not have a game of ours, I first have to find out what that new console is about. Tell me, is it a laptop? does it replace gameboy?
Kenji Kaido, producer of Team ICO, re-enters the scene and invites us to get up and close the interview. We say goodbye politely and leave the facilities, but not before picking up a brief press kit with the illustrations that we show you.
We are still in a state of shock and trying to digest the large amount of new information, but it was our duty to keep you informed and, together, to reach a successful conclusion.
The only thing we can guarantee is that the new release of the great Fumito Ueda will be released on Xbox and that it will be an action title. An action so brutal that it will leave ‘Gears of War’ as a little sister of charity. Another direct blow to the jaw from Microsoft to Sony, how long will the Japanese giant hold out without returning the currency? A very busy 2009 begins.
For now we leave you with the illustrations that SCEE have sent us, despite being concept arts from a very early stage of development, they can help us understand the aesthetic that the new game will use. A lot of chromaticism and that sweetness that has always characterized the studio. We will have to see how it mixes with the extreme violence that Fumito pursues. Time to time.
Update: As you know, this post is nothing more than a joke designed for April Fools’ Day.