DGC Ep 045: Ico/Colossus (part one)

Welcome to the first episode in our series examining the first two works of Fumito Ueda: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. We situate it in time a bit, and then turn to the opening few rooms and the design, technical, and narrative departures already visible. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the windmill

TTAJ: ??!

Podcast breakdown:
0:38     Segment 1: Ico
59:33   Break 1
59:58   Segment 2: Themes for next time, feedback

Issues covered: situating Ico's release in 2001, other games focusing on character control and repetition, passion for or against, focusing on different elements, feeling like a young boy, introduction to the game, the spice shop of little boys, economical storytelling, recognizability, space occupied by the character, environment as character, lack of player agency in the camera, showing the player the environment, what does the camera want me to know, camera as drama/emotion rather than mechanic, spiraling up and down, dream sequence, greasy oily shadows, language barrier between them and to the user, usability issues, lack of instruction on the controls, contextual R1, press and hold, tenderness and humaneness, mechanical connection, assuming responsibility, inverse kinematics, animating the character to IK to solve problems, balancing fidelity and responsiveness, impact of the game on game developers, giving permission to try different things, game dev economics, separating Yorda from the inanimate, press R1 to feel emotion, set dressing plausibility and mystery, non-interactable stuff, passive interactions, consistency in interactability, overtelling and lore, moral questions, trophy hunting, soaking it in, robot testing, various automated tests in AAA dev, that one time* we blew it, why we blew it, breakout success of Myst.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussedMafia III, The Last Guardian, Fumito Ueda, Shadow of the Colossus, Devil May Cry, Halo, Silent Hill 2, Metal Gear Solid 2, MGS 4, Pikmin, Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance, Luigi's Mansion, Hideki Kamiya, Platinum Games, Capcom, Konami, Max Payne, Hitman 2, System Shock 2, King Kong, Jessica Lange, The Arrival, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy IX, Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider series, Journey, Velvet Underground, Prince of Persia, Sony, Jesse Harlin, Don DeLillo, Zero K, @TheHanna, TIE Fighter, Reed Knight, Darren Johnson, Bethesda Game Studios, Starfighter, Microsoft, Noel Llopis, Cameron Hass, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Myst series, Riven, Uru, Obduction, LucasArts, Sierra, The 7th Guest, Curse of Monkey Island**, The Room, The Witness, Cthulhu.

Noel Llopis, Monkey Testing

Next time:
Finish Ico!

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

* not one time
** I said Monkey 4, but this is the game I actually meant.