What may be the first-ever footage of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus creator Fumito Ueda's next game, the so-called Project TRICO, has leaked online.
Fumito Ueda's "TRICO" project has been shrouded in mystery for years now. Ueda's statements have been fiercely compiled and picked apart for hints, single images of concept art - a picture of a chain running through a stone floor - have proved ample sustenance for rampant fan speculation.
That speculation may finally culminate in something today, as a video has surfaced, leaked by PlayStation Lifestyle, that purports to be the first-ever footage of Project TRICO. It begins with the same image from the concept art - the chain in the stone floor. The chain stirs, a clawed foot appears, and suddenly, after all the crazy theories, it's obvious: something's attached to it, something alive.
Next we see a boy, wearing a cloak not unlike the one worn by the heroes of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, running down a hallway - he runs into a clearing and slips off an overhang. Underneath there's a bottomless drop, and he's hanging onto the edge for life. Suddenly whatever was chained bursts through the clearing (after taking out a lowly guard along the way) and we see it for the first time: it's something like a cross between a puppy/rat/kitten and a gryphon, with cute feline ears and eyes, but eagle-like feathers and tiny wings.
The creature picks the boy up, the boy climbs onto its back, and we're treated to a nice montage of this boy and his gigantic friend exploring underwater caverns, moss-covered stone buildings and generally acting like a kid and his pet.
Is this for real? It does jive with what Ueda said about TRICO at GDC: that "the essence of the game is rather close to ICO." ICO had the boy and a princess as companions, this has a boy and his dog-cat-thing-with-wings. The fact that the "dog" is a gigantic beast, then, mirrors Shadow of the Colossus. Combine those two elements, and they seem to back up what Ueda said when he called TRICO a "middle ground" between ICO and SotC.
Nevertheless, it could be an elaborate fake, or maybe an old concept video that got tossed in the garbage can and picked up by some stalker fanboy. The visuals aren't entirely polished - the boy especially looks rather close to a PS2-era character model. Who knows. All I can say is: I want a griffon-dog for a pet.
UPDATE: Some folks have it on good word ("cast iron authority") that this is indeed real, though I think most of us figured it is by now. Furthermore, as many assumed, it's old footage - over a year old.
That's the good news. The bad news? Apparently the project might not be far enough along to show at E3. Unless Sony had been planning to show it for awhile now, it could be a no-show. If this leak prompts them to put something out there, then Team ICO doesn't have very much time to get ready.
Let's hope we haven't seen the last of gryphon-puppy-rat-cat-dragon for the time being.