You can add Naughty Dog president Evan Wells to the list of game-makers who idolize the 2001 PS2 game, Ico.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was a pretty amazing game by all accounts. It won numerous Game of the Year awards in 2009 and netted Amy Hennig a Writer’s Guild Award for Best Videogame Writing for her work on the game. Uncharted 2 was also recently voted as the “Best PlayStation Game” in a poll conducted by Official PlayStation Magazine. Despite all of that fanfare for the PlayStation exclusive starring Noloan North as Nathan Drake, the president and CEO of Naughty Dog thinks that the action-adventure from Fumito Ueda, Ico, as well as Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 3, was more influential than either Uncharted.
“They’re pretty different games, but they’ve both influenced the industry tremendously,” said Evan Wells. “[Ico is] the kind of game – that linear, narrative-driven experience – that we’re focused on making right now.”
“Everyone in the office has been influenced by it greatly; it’s just a fantastic game.”
Wells was glad that Uncharted 2 received all of the attention that it did, and he believes the awards give him the chance to create similarly excellent games. “[Story-driven games] are very difficult and costly, but I hope people are now realizing how story can really elevate the gaming experience,” he said.
From Wells’ words, it’s clear that Fumito Ueda’s game Ico still has a profound effect on the videogame industry. Last week, Peter Molyneux praised it by saying, “If I made something like Ico, I’d be very happy to die.” The fact that the game generally poorly, especially in the United States, is especially interesting.
Brian Eno famously said, “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.” I wonder if, years from now, Ico will thought of the same way.