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Sony considered cancelling the PlayStation-exclusive The Last Guardian. However, president of SCE Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida said in a new interview that fans saved the project.
Yoshida told EDGE that Sony considered killing the project while the team was porting it from PS3 to PS4 - a process he described as "really, really tough." However, gamers' interest in the project gave it a stay of execution:
The game was still early in development, so we had to have a really strong desire to continue the project and rebuild on PS4. And of course we believed in the vision of Ueda-san, and Ueda-san and the core teams really wanted to see this realised, and so did I. Having so many people asking us about the game was great encouragement for us to continue the development
He then said that they "probably would have" cancelled the game altogether if there weren't so many fans clamoring for it.
The Last Guardian was first announced for PS3 back in 2009. There was a huge amount of interest because it was being developed by Team Ico, the studio behind cult classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. However, after that initial reveal, the game all but vanished. It missed its initial 2011 launch date and was then pushed back multiple times.
The lack of information was bad but they were soon joined by other ominous signs that usually mean cancellation. Sony let the game's copyright expire. Fumito Ueda announced he was retiring from Team Ico, though he later clarified that he was still working freelance on the project. Two years ago, the game seemed all but lost when Sony announced they were shelving it.
"We've got so many projects out there from so many great teams, projects never ultimately go away," Jack Tretton, then Sony Computer Entertainment of America's CEO and President, said at the time. "So The Last Guardian is certainly not going away, but it's on hiatus right now."
Sony then shocked everyone by re-announcing it as a PS4 game at E3 2015. It was one of several surprise resurrections during the press conference along with Shenmue 3 and Final Fantasy 7's HD remake. It seemed fitting that all three were announced at the same event. Each was a project that should've been released or cancelled years ago but were kept alive in part because there was a core of fans constantly demanding it.
There's plenty of eye-rolling at fan petitions and other grassroots activities but The Last Guardian shows that there's value in being noisy about things you want. There's no guarantee that a petition's going to stop a publisher from cancelling a game or that some Reddit campaign will force a console maker to change a feature but there are plenty of examples of those actions working.