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[Rumor] Team Ico Head Fumito Ueda Reportedly Has Left Sony

Today may end up being a day of mourning in the PlayStation nation as famed game developer Fumito Ueda has reportedly left Sony. Best known as the creator of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito was the head of Team Ico which for the last few years have been hard at work on The Last Guardian.  Eurogamer is reporting that Fumito has departed Team Ico and SCEJ and will be wrapping up his duties on The Last Guardian in a freelance capacity i.e. he’s gone once the game ships.

The news of Fumito’s supposed departure is a bit troubling and I find it somewhat hard to believe.  It certainly has been distressing not to see The Last Guardian at recent industry events such as E3 or TGS, but with Fumito leaving SCEJ it may be a sign that the development on the game hasn’t gone smoothly and such a thing may have ultimately taken its toll on Fumito.  

Team Ico is a relatively small team, they have fewer than 100 members, and most of the staffers have worked on all of the games the team has developed so far.  Ico and Shadow of the Colossus didn’t exactly have the best development cycles (Ico was a PS1 game before it was bumped to the PS2) but something just seemed to have been amiss with The Last Guardian.  Sony may have been pushing a Western emphasis on their 1st party efforts this generation (Killzone, Infamous, LBP) but not seeing The Last Guardian for an entire year was odd considering it’s not only the flagship game of SCEJ but also shows the artistic capabilities Sony is capable of offering as a developer.

The major parties involved in The Last Guardian (SCEJ, SCE Studio Head Shuhei Yoshida), have yet to comment if Fumito’s departure is in fact real of if someone merely has their wires crossed.  If Fumito has indeed left Sony I doubt it was over a creative difference as SCE has always been accommodating of Team Ico, hence why they let them develop a game for 4 years+ without causing a fuss.  

If The Last Guardian is the last major game from Fumito Ueda it’ll be a bittersweet occasion as the man is talented and it’ll be a shame to potentially lose him for good in the game biz.  Fumito’s departure may not be a massive blow to SCE, but it could spell disaster for the creative aspects of SCEJ, which has mostly floundered this generation on the PS3.

Sony has yet to offer an official comment concerning this rumor but once something substantial comes to light I’ll be sure to update y’all even if it’s bad news.