UEDA Fumito was involved in leading PlayStation2® games such as ICO (2001) and Wander and the Colossus (05), and has ardent fans in Japan and abroad. He directed and designed this adventure game. The player manipulates a boy who is the main character to solve various puzzles of forgotten massive relics while communicating with a giant bird-like creature called Trico. The player coaxes Trico out with food, has the creature take him to random places, and pets him to calm the creature when an antagonist appears and agitates him. An approach to a presence beyond direct manipulation creates the distinctive game quality of this production. Design of the Trico character began in the initial production stage and depicts a one-of-a-kind winged creature with the face of a dog or cat, rather than a standard fantasy creature such as a dragon or dinosaur. In addition, not only is advanced graphic technology employed to craft Trico’s every architectural stroke and movement, but on-board AI enables Trico to recognize surrounding conditions, such as complex spaces, the main character, and the barrels it loves, and take action based on its own judgments. As a companion that together navigates the folktale-like world evoked through beautiful background art, the realistically drawn Trico becomes an invaluable, adorable partner.
This artwork aims for a game experience unlike any game structure to date—the formation of an emotional bond with a fictional animal. To that end, ample AI technology is embedded so the player instinctively feels as if Trico is an animal. The architecture and motion modeled after familiar, real-life animals undermine the recognition that it is nothing more than a computer graphic, and this allows the player to experience Trico as a presence and build a trusting relationship. Also, though the mechanics of the game are action adventure, camera work that naturally brings upcoming developments into view offers a quality narrative (story) that more than offsets any sacrifice to user friendliness. Furthermore, although slow-motion rendering used in important scenes sometimes fails due to the timing or spacing of action, this failure produces an even more impressive narrative. This is a new game style that can only be created in Japan. (ENDO Masanobu)