January 1 marked the beginning of a new year, and possibly a new beginning for game developer Fumito Ueda. An image appeared on genDESIGN’s website, an independent team formed by Ueda, potentially teasing the fourth game from the creator of ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian.
On the updated website, scrolling past four birds brings visitors to the image posted above. It depicts a long-haired, childlike figure sitting on a stone altar. To her right is a large fist or paw that belongs to a mostly obscured giant figure. Neither figure is immediately recognizable from any of Ueda’s previous games, leading some to speculate that this is from his studio’s next project. According to ResetEra user Rösti, the image’s source code reveals some interesting text. This text labels the image as “Beauty and the Beast 2018.”
Going further into speculation, the birds could be another hint that this is more than just a nice image capturing several themes that made Fumito Ueda famous. As VG 24/7 points out, birds and feathers are a motif that Ueda has used in all of his games. The number of birds in the image could be a clue towards a fourth game.
As a counterpoint to all this speculation, the childlike figure bears a striking resemblance to one of the silhouettes in the genDESIGN logo. Rather than a teaser image, this could very well be more of an expressive image about the studio.
Whether this is a new game or not, history tells us that fans likely won’t see a new game release anytime soon. The Last Guardian took almost 10 years to be released, with many believing it to be canceled throughout development. Fumito Ueda even left Sony in 2011 after the game was delayed, forming genDESIGN a few years later with some of his core members from Team ICO. In the same year, genDESIGN took over the development of The Last Guardian, working with Sony on a contract basis.
For now, fans have plenty of opportunities to visit Ueda’s past projects. The Last Guardian can be finished in a few gaming sessions as long as players are patient when controlling a wild animal. A complete remake of Shadow of the Colossus also releases next month, giving newcomers the best opportunity to play a classic.