The Last Guardian: Story/gameplay discussion (SPOILERS)

Well, I finally beat The Last Guardian! Let me say it was a wonderful, beautiful, and intriguing experience; if not wholly without its flaws.

Last chance for story SPOILERS!!!

At the end of the game it is revealed that the Guardians or Griffons, bring the villagers on top of the tower for one purpose: To eat them! Yes! To eat them. They are tuned into the blue liquid that was found in the barrels, of which you where feeding to Trico, the entire game! (Soylent Green LOL!)

But what I don’t understand is: What is “The Master of the Valley’s” purpose? (An A.I. gone mad?! Self-sustaining?)

An AI or virtual intelligence for what? To control what? To do what? Just to keep the Griffons fed and to sustain itself? Maybe because the true caretakers of the technology are gone, it has to keep “itself” running?

What was the point of everything inside the plateau? (The downfall of an ancient civilization?)

Sure I see ruins, but my only guess is this: There was a civilization of humans there once. The technology behind the Master of the Valley was used as a weapon to protect the human civilization there and to defend it from outsiders. But in the end, the creation of the Master of the Valley ensured the human’s downfall, and ultimate extinction. Sort of like how the Mayans did humans sacrifices in our world. And later, their civilization went into disarray, being almost completely wiped out; the only remnant being the boy’s village.

What do you all think?

Also, take note of how the Mirror Shield aside from being a weapon, was like a key of sorts, to manipulate the technology inside of the white tower (manipulating the elevator that leads up to the Master of the Valley) The white tower housing the Master of the Valley also seems to need to be kept extremely cold, like a server, or computer room.(alluding to the presence of some kind of technology)

It seems this (Shield) or for lack of a better term, piece of technology, allowed access into the Master’s chamber (or server room). This would also imply that someone has to hold the shield (like a human) since it has a handle.

This is where I theorize that inside the valley there was once a human civilization cut off from the rest of the word, sort of like Atlantis. Human beings built the tower containing the Master (CPU). But as it is with many weapons, it ultimately lead to their destruction.

With no remaining humans to maintain the Master of the Valley, it had to keep “itself” running; a sort of self-sustaining mode. It’s also a possibility it created the suits of armor to act as caretakers, but who knows, they also might have been there along with the ancient civilization of humans.

Also about the ending: A short time after Trico returns to the valley; I believe it dies, but not before having a baby.

At the end, one of the villagers says, Trico doesn’t have much time left; as he is heavily injured when bringing the boy back to the village.

After the credits you can hear what sounds like a baby whelping. Insinuating Trico did indeed have a baby. In the darkness you can see two sets of eyes. One set of eyes are smaller and lower than the other, indicating one animal is taller than the other; hence the baby. But, it is implied that Trico died and only the Male (the one you’d been fighting the entire game) survived along with the baby.

Unfortunately, I think Trico did indeed make it back to the nest; but only stayed alive for a short time to mate, have the baby and nurse it. Seeing how there are no more barrels left with the mysterious blue liquid I don’t see how it could have healed its injuries.

During the ending as Trico was flying you saw the male griffon (The one you were fighting the entire game). Surprisingly, it seemed to be in fine health standing up and roaring at Trico. Without being able to heal its injuries, unfortunately I think Trico died (I really want to think otherwise, but my intuition knows better).

And that villager at the end Said: (exact quote) “I doubt it has long to live”. This is a very implied, and strong insinuation that Trico does indeed die and is not present with the baby. If this line was not said during the ending I would have thought otherwise.

Other evidence to back this up is: All the other Griffons died as the Master of the Valley was destroyed; except for Trico and the Male Griffon you’d been fighting (probably because its mask broke off, causing it to lose it’s link between the Master of the Valley A.I system) And at the end you only see “One” adult Griffin; again implying that one of them is absent, most likely dead.

What made you think the black trico was male? (I’m assuming the beasts are called tricos rather than being a specific name for the one you’re with based on how the loading screens have pictures of various animals with their names written out.)

I interpreted the ending a bit differently. If I remember right, it was the boy himself who was saying “I doubt it has long to live.” I assumed he might have some idea on how long the lifetime of the beasts might be, and based on the injuries it sustained it might be reaching the end around the time he was telling the tale. I believe Trico survived until that point and the two pairs of eyes at the end were just Trico and the black trico (smaller eyes because distance of course).

Watch the ending again. The elder of the village (far left) says: “I doubt it has long to live”


You also see his mouth moving.

Also, the only thing that heals Tricos wounds are the barrels. There are none left after the destruction of the white tower. Apparently only the Male survived later on because it only had very minor superficial injures. It’s sad to except, but looking at all the circumstances and evidence the game insinuates and provides. I think Trico died…

Well, I’m not 100% sure about the male female thing, but I don’t see a (you know what hanging down on Trico…ahem)

at 33:00

You can hear whelping as if form a pup or baby (it sounds lower and weaker too). And the lower height of the eyes gives more credence to this theory as well.

Fumito Ueda doesn’t like to explicitly state the obvious. Within the fine details of all of these events gamers who are assuming Trico survived are overlooking these details:

-The village elder to the left specifically says it didn’t have long to live.
-Even though the boy and Trico had such a strong bond, they never made contact ever again…
Trico never tried to visit the boy again.,.
-The game went out of the way to show another Trico survived.
-Why would Ueda have the villager say it isn’t going to live long when he notoriously uses as little dialogue as possible? Also it’s of more significance because it’s the only line not spoken by the narrator.
-Why would that Trico want to not only return to not only the place it was just escaping, but to the very cave it was imprisoned in?
-Why would they show another Trico, yet not show a 3rd along with the baby?

Also, It took Trico about five barrels to regenerate after the fight with the other Trico. Its heart was also pulsing erratically; in a near death state. It probably wouldn’t have made a normal recovery without those barrels. I would say with all those spears sticking out of it and no more barrels to help it regenerate and heal its injuries, things don’t look too good…

Also, if Trico survived why did we not see three sets of eyes (Trco, the other Griffon and the baby) at the end, as one of those sets of eyes is obviously a baby. So, one is missing, implying death…
And I’d have to assume from Trico’s physical state, it only lived for a short time back in the valley, probably dying shortly after it gave birth. Although this makes me think, it could be possible the Griffons are assexual…

Also, this might be why only two Griffons survived at the end of the game:

Trico only survived because it’s just that: He got struck by lightning and fell, and later had his mask removed. So did the one you where fighting (his mask was removed as well).

All of the others where inextricably linked to the Master of the Valley and the signal it was giving out or radiating from that tower/dish thing. When the Master of the Valley was destroyed it was sort of like a kill switch. All of the other Griffons still wearing a mask and still linked to the signal were killed or “deactivated” as it were, like a non functioning piece of machinery.

Trico, and the other Griffon lost their masks or their bond, so they were spared the “Kill-switch”.

So, I was talking about an ancient civilization that once inhabited the valley; there might be evidence for this. And, its the very place you get the mirror shield. It seems the mirror shield is set in or laying on a giant sarcophagus!

So maybe this ancient civilization in the valley consisted of giants!

Now I’m thinking about the purpose of the sacrifices to the Master of the Valley:

Maybe the kids are used up like batteries when they go down the shoot. Then the Griffons get a reward. They could be providing power for the Master of the Valley. Sort of like in the Matrix (the humans were batteries for the machines!). It’s probably similar to how the Queen in ICO kept the children in magic stone chambers, drawing off their energy…

But still, the boys are surrounded by that bluish-green goo (in a near death state, if not dead). So, can we be completely sure their bodies aren’t then completely dissolved and put into a reservoir of green liquid; later being stored inside the barrels. The barrel could have come up very fast because the Master of the Valley already had a large supply…

Did you notice how butterflies are always surrounding the barrels. Aren’t butterflies a symbol of metamorphosis, the soul, life, resurrection? The boys bodies are dissolved and changed into the liquid.

Or, the barrels could be a reward and that bluish-green goo could be what the Master of the Valley uses as a coolant solution. Keeping it’s technology from overheating!

Ueda said that the ending was open to interpretation, so I think it’s really up to us to decide if Trico survived. Trico was badly wounded, but I like to think that the wounds weren’t fatal.

Did you guys find the transparent green spheres in one of the rooms (the room containing the chain with the barrel on it)? I wondered if these were eggs left behind by Trico’s kind. Another theory I had is that the butterflies we see everywhere are baby Tricos, of which only a few would survive and grow into adults. They are attracted the barrels the same way that Trico is. We don’t see much other life in the valley so why would only the butterflies continue to exist in such great numbers?

Warning, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus spoilers follow…

There are a lot of thematic similarities between this game and Ico/Shadow of the Colossus. Particularly the use of light and dark. I am wondering if the stories are connected. We know that Shadow of the Colossus is prequel to Ico. If The Last Guardian is part of the same continuity, when would it take place? After Ico? Before Shadow? We do not have much to go on.

At first I thought that Trico might be a colossus since they come in all shapes and sizes, but the appearance of the colossi all have a distinct features that unite them that are missing from Trico. So I’m thinking that Trico’s kind could be a kind of a colossus-like being, but one that was based on an original creature, whereas I had assumed (but perhaps wrongly) that the colossi were created for the particular purpose of housing Dormin’s soul. But whether Trico’s kind are colossi or colossus-like, it’s in their use that they are similar: someone has used the body of another creature for their own purposes. The master of the valley consisted of a similar dark energy to Dormin and the Queen from Ico and the master uses the bodies of others (Trico’s kind and the humans brought into the valley) as a ‘life’ source. I love the contrast here: your relationship with Trico is the very opposite of the relationship between the master and his minions, one that exists in spite of a lack direct control, and it’s awesome that this contrast is communicated directly through gameplay. We don’t know much about the master of the valley who is more of a lifeless antagonist than the other two, perhaps again to directly contrast with Trico who is full of life. Even the suits of armour appear to be empty, furthering the theme of lifeless control. Perhaps the master is simply representing the amassing of this dark, lifeless energy in a single location, rather than being an autonomous being. The master might simply be a literal manifestation of death who feeds on life to survive.

Another question. What does the name The Last Guardian mean anyway? I get that the ‘guardian’ part is referring to Trico being a guardian of the boy. But why the last? I’m wondering if this could be a reference to the series as a whole. The colossi were guardians of the seal of Dormin. Once this is broken, Wander becomes a colossus and he dies, but part of him passes on to the baby with horns, who is assumed to be an ancestor of Ico. Then, Ico becomes the guardian of Yorda. Finally, it’s not clear how it is connected, but we have Trico, who bears a similar name and the horns of Ico, who is the last guardian. I am not sure that there is a physical link here, but it seems that there is at least a thematic one. The last guardian in a line of guardians? The last guardian in a trilogy? I list Trico here, where Ico and Wander were the original two. Although the boy is the playable character of The Last Guardian, I see Trico as the true hero of the story; the roles from Ico have been swapped around. Interestingly the boy in The Last Guardian was originally going to be a girl, which would bring the parallel with Yorda as the one to be guarded, but I’m glad they changed him to be a boy to avoid damsel in distress and beauty and the beast type cliches. Anyway, it may be that the last guardian title has no direct story link with the previous games… or it could mean that Trico inherited the role from the boys with horns directly, perhaps by eating one of them while under the control of the master. :anjou_embarrassed:

It does seem that the valley was constructed for a particular purpose, and that there’s more to the valley than simply being a control centre for the master. Why would the master keep the shield in the valley, including pedestals that directly interact with it? Everything about it is contrary to the dark energy of the master. By guess is that an ancient civilisation created the walled valley to keep the master in, similar to how the forbidden land and the colossi were cut off from the rest of the world to keep Dormin safely away and likewise the castle in Ico appeared to keep the Queen in (she says that Yorda can never leave, since she is her daughter, so it seems she couldn’t leave). In keeping with these themes, perhaps someone like Lord Emon the shaman from Shadow of the Colossus created the valley stronghold to keep the master in. Shamans often carried a shield to defend against evil spirits, and the master could surely be considered one. After the shamans were long gone, Trico’s kind then migrated into the valley naturally and were caught by the master’s armoured guards. We see near the end that the white wall slots where the suits of armour come from are lit up by using the shield. It appears that the entrance way to the master (through the ceiling) required the use of light to ensure that no dark forces could break the master out.

I’ll post more thoughts as they come to me. It’s all very interesting and thought provoking material, and I’m sure that there’s a lot that we’ve missed.

After much debate over at the Gamefaqs forum, I’ve decided there isn’t enough 100%, definitive, evidence to say Trico lived or died, either way. It’s all up to the player and left ambiguous. I’d like to think he lived but again, it’s not 100% set in stone.

I was thinking “The Last Guardian” was the Master of the Valley, but maybe not…Maybe it is in fact Trico. Trico is freed from tMotV control and is sort of like a guardian or protector of the boy. And in the end, he protects, guards, and eventually brings the boy home. So, “The Last Guardian” has to be either tMotV, Trico, or the boy.

DId you notice you got a trophy called something along the lines of “When Nature Calls”. Trico pooped those green spheres out, lol! I got the trophy right when it happened!

I was also wondering too, though, if they could be eggs…Sort of like what an amphibian lays…

At times Trico’s A.I. can be frustrating. But, most times it’s because people aren’t using the commands properly.

-R1 by itself will call Trico to wherever your location is

-R1 and a direction with the analog, will make the boy point to where you want Trico to go.

-R1+Triangle will make Trico jump

-R1+ X will scold Trico (important; if Trico isn’t listening use this and he will eventually stop and sit or listen to your other commands)

-R1+Square will make trico swipe at enemies or stomp on things

-R1+Circle (This will show praise towards Trico) Although I found no use for this command gameplay-wise…

-Circle will allow the boy to pet Trico; calming him down

Another bit of useful information is such.: If Trico isn’t listening to you or stuck in a corner, jump off of him and call him to the spot of interest you want him to interact with. It’s also a good idea to back him up a bit. This sort of resets his behavior.

It seems 3 key members of Team ICO and about half the team, left during the development of The Last Guardian:

Kenji Kaido, (producer Ico and Shadow of the Colossus)

Yoshifusa Hayama (producer of TLG)

Fumito Ueda (You know who this is, obviously)

Sadly, I was wondering where the Team ICO logo was when starting up the game. Here is why I didn’t see it…

From WIkipedia:

"Development was also hampered by Ueda’s departure from Sony in December 2011. With Sony’s decision to delay the release of the game early that year, Ueda and other Sony and Team Ico employees opted to leave Sony. Ueda stated in 2013 interview that his departure from Sony was due to feeling “a sense of crisis within myself about a lot of things” on news of the delay.[32]

Some of those that departed Sony went on to other projects. For example, executive producer Yoshifusa Hayama joined Bossa Studios to work on social/mobile games,[44] while two Team Ico artists joined an indie startup studio Friends & Foes to develop their first title, Vane, which has been compared visually to The Last Guardian.[45] Ueda and other former Team Ico members, including Jinji Horagai, the lead programmer from Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, created a new studio, genDESIGN.[34][46]

In founding the studio, they were faced with a choice, according to Ueda: “Do we try to create something new, or do we keep going, providing support on The Last Guardian?”[29] genDESIGN opted to commit themselves to helping Sony complete The Last Guardian through contract and working alongside Sony’s internal studio, Japan Studio.[47][48]

Under this arrangement, genDESIGN are developing the creative content for the game, such as character design and animation and level design, which is then being put into place via Japan Studio, with Ueda maintaining oversight on the completed project"

Do you think the game may have suffered in some aspects (gameplay-wise) because of their departure?

And, do you think maybe the TLG suffered from a different team (Japan Studio) having to stitch together the original teams ideas?

Okay, I’m 99.9% (always a hint of doubt) certain there are only 2 Griffons left by the end of the credits, one adult and one baby. I say this because when the tower was destroyed and the Master of the Valley defeated, all Griffons still wearing a mask were deactivated. The link was broken, and the trauma of that moment was sort of like a “kill-switch” to them all. Also, it seems they are half organic, half inorganic, part magical. In some ways similar to the colossi (the diff colored eyes are not natural, must be magical or technological in some way). So if they are a bit similar to technology in some way and or part magical; what happens to your computer when your main CPU dies. Your computer stops working!

Going back to the video they all fell to their death and two of them can clearly be seen committing suicide:


Again with no barrels left to heal it’s wounds Trico likely didn’t survive long. It doesn’t mean he died immediately though. But he probably wasn’t alive during the end credit scene. He probably lived for at least 15 to 20 years, maybe.

I’ve started to think of the meaning of the title as such:

it is “heavily” implied that all the other Griffons died.

And Fumito Ueda is presenting this as one of the important points in the ending. He wanted to emphasize the destruction of the A.I. as well as the genocide of Trico’s species, Hence “THe Last Guardian”. Everything shown was shown for a reason and was shown for a purpose.

Ueda didn’t show any other Griffons surviving other than the one you fought with the broken mask (This has meaning, emphasis, and was done a a theme or purpose, to show the last of the species)

So, maybe in the end, the baby Trico was in fact going to be “The Last Guardian”.

Also, over at Gamefaqs, we may have found the link that bridges TLG together with all of the other games!

What do you all think about this theory?

Nev over at Gamfaqs posted…

Given the blue goo’s property of promoting horn growth in the Tricos, and the effect that exposure to the blue goo in our Trico’s gut has on boy, making him develop skin markings, I wonder if any side effects are passed down to the boy’s children and their children. Maybe the boy is an ancestor to characters who had the trait of growing horns, Ico and Wander?

Is this alluding to the origin of the horns and the horned boys? The boy in TLG has the genetic marker now and will seemingly pass this “curse” on for later generations to inherent.

Edit: I forgot though, that baby Wander in SOTC had horns. So he was the start of the horned boys…Oh well…

I don’t think it necessarily suffered from having a different team working on it. Ueda and others from Team Ico oversaw the entire project. But maybe extra time could have been spent on resolving some of the technical issues, and switching team members can slow down a project, as can a change of platform. But the game would have come out earlier in that case, and running the game on the PS3 hardware would have come with it’s own host of problems.

Maybe. But do we have reason to believe Trico’s kind were all guardians? They were mostly slaves of the master of the valley, with Trico (and later the rival Trico and the boy defeated) being notable exceptions. If they were guardians, guardians of what I wonder?

Yes, I think Shadow of the Colossus is already an adequate “origin story” for the horned boys; two origin stories wouldn’t make sense. I think it’s more likely that The Last Guardian takes place after Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, if indeed it is set in the same continuity, although we don’t have much to go on. The word last in the title implies that there have been guardians for a while. If my theory is correct that the colossi and Ico are what we should consider previous guardians (they each protected something), this would fit in nicely with Trico being the last guardian, the last horned being who protects something.

Even if I’m wrong about the continuity, for fans of the series, Trico could represent that last guardian that we will interact with. This is assuming that The Last Guardian is the last of the series, which seems likely given The Last Guardian’s troubled development and the fact that Ueda has left Sony now.

I think Trico’s kind resided in the valley for a long time, perhaps from before the master arrived/took control. We have this statue as evidence that Trico’s kind belonged to the valley:

Could Trico’s kind have been the guardians of the seal around the master, similar to the colossi? Then later, the master found a way of enslaving them, reversing their origin purpose. This would explain how they can interact with light energy/objects, such as the shield. Perhaps they were purposely created for this purpose. As with the colossi, the story of their origin is left up to player’s imagination.