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The Last Guardian, released in Japan as Hitokui no Ōwashi Trico (人喰いの大鷲トリコ, Hitokui no Ōwashi Toriko, literally "The Great Man-Eating Eagle Toriko") is the third game created and developed by TeamICO, although released under its daughter studio, GenDESIGN. The Last Guardian features elements from both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus—Team Ico's past two games—though it is unclear whether the events of The Last Guardian are chronologically related to either one. The game was released on December 6th, 2016, exclusively for the PlayStation 4 and its subsequent versions.

Click here to view full credits for The Last Guardian.


The Last Guardian is a third-person perspective game that combines elements from both the action-adventure and puzzle gaming-genres. The player takes control of the Boy who, being unarmed himself, utilizes objects within his environment to move undetected or assault the game's enemies, the Armored Soldiers. Although the guards are slower-moving than the Boy, they are still capable of capturing him and, if the player is unable to free the Boy in time, the player is defeated and the game ends. To escape these adversaries the Boy can run, jump, climb, and perform other various actions quite similar, in fact, to the gameplay featured in both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

The player's movements are augmented by interaction with Trico, a large mythological beast whom the Boy can climb upon and ride as a mount. As stated by the game's creator Fumito Ueda, Trico is driven by its own instincts, and the player must figure out how to harness these to complete the game's puzzles. For example, if the player must have access to a high ledge, they can coax Trico into approaching said location via what looks like a game of Simon Says or by the placement of "treat"-filled barrels scattered strategically around the playing area. These barrels are of high interest to Trico, and the beast will go wherever they are put, giving the Boy quite the asset in traversing the game's impressive terrain.

Speaking of Trico moving where the player will, the animal's tendencies to keep on the move are so strong that attempting to keep the creature still is a great challenge, as players will often utilize Trico's head and back as a platform to access high places. Similarly, the creature will try to move ahead of the player's current progress, and calling the great beast back is another challenge to overcome.

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Despite these gameplay hindrances, Trico provides the Boy with a very powerful tool: summoning lightning strikes from the creature's tail. Early on in the game the Boy comes across a mirror-like shield, which, when introduced to his feathered friend, results in the shocking removal of several tons of rock from a caved-in doorway. This keeps gameplay fresh while still requiring the player to work through properly communicating with Trico, as the lightning can only be summoned if Trico is nearby.

The player will be able to discern an idea of what Trico's current mood is not only by its general body language but by the color of its eyes, ranging from a cautious whitish-yellow to a resentful and even violent purple-red. It is essential that the player understands these moods as the creature's response to stimuli in its surroundings will vary depending on what instincts are overriding its thought processes.

The player will also have to care for the creature, either by feeding it or removing spears and arrows that are lodged in its feathered hide. This is coupled with learning how to communicate effectively with the creature, creating a trial-and-error bonding experience between Trico and the Boy that Ueda considered equivalent to training a pet. Initially, Trico will choose to wander off as it finds the chained cauldron more interesting than a little boy shouting at it. Similarly, Trico will refuse to eat food it thinks smells badly, or it will go to sleep when the Boy needs it most. Later in the game, the player discovers ways to communicate their wishes more efficiently to the beast, and the player will then acquire much better, albeit never perfect results. This is because Trico is a very realistic specimen of A.I. (artificial intelligence) and Ueda stated as much: "Each player will have a different Trico to work with depending on how he or she chooses to interact with him."

However, the player may still want to take advantage of the creature's natural habits; the game includes sections where by letting Trico roam free, new areas for exploration may open up.



The game's story is framed as a flashback narrative; an older man is recounting the experiences he had with a giant, griffin-like creature while still a young boy.

It opens with a brief prologue, showcasing a shimmering, disk-like object half-buried in dirt. The open ambiance of a peaceful village is interrupted by the giggling of many playing children; their shadows pass over the shield before a third, much taller shadow approaches.

A young boy wakes up from a dark dream to find himself in a strange cave, just feet away from the unconscious body of a large, man-eating beast known as Trico. A chain binds its neck to the floor, its wings, horns and armor are damaged, and several spears protrude from its back and shoulder. The Boy stands and examines himself, finding intricate marks covering his entire body; how, why or when these markings appeared he does not know, but they are strange to him and he does not understand their meaning.

The wounded creature soon wakes and is initially hostile towards the Boy; on trying to remove the spears, Trico dashes the Boy against the wall, knocking him unconscious each time. However, as the Boy successfully removes each of the remaining spears and provides the injured beast with barrels of food, Trico begins to trust him.

Removing the chain and shattered armor, the two set out through the tunnels to find their way out. Along the way, the Boy finds a mirror, and upon directing its light, discovers he can use it to summon lightning from Trico’s tail, thus providing a means of eliminating obstacles. Not all obstacles, however, could be approached by both the Boy and Trico both; strange, eyespot-like talismans are scattered throughout the landscape, each with the mysterious power to put Trico into a fearful trance. Only the Boy can break these.

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Finally finding a way into the open air, the Boy attempts to leave Trico behind in search of his home village. But, the beast has bonded to him and so refuses to stop following. Together they then navigate both open and closed spaces, such as tunnels, clearings, cliffs, and caves, throughout which the Boy continually entices Trico to advance with barrels of food or by simply being separated, which will prompt separation anxiety in Trico. However, upon nearing a peculiar room with strange apparatus on the walls, Trico will advance no further; something is dreadfully wrong and only Trico, evidently, can sense it. A magic response suddenly triggers with the beast's first steps into the cage, and Trico enters a ballistic trance, attacking the Boy and swallowing him whole. While unconscious, the Boy remembers flashes of what happened before coming to the cave, although nothing is clear. He wakes up sooner or later, having been regurgitated by Trico; the beast is fast asleep and cannot be roused from slumber. Additionally, the mirror-shield is nowhere to be seen, and the Boy must now go on without it.

While making a second attempt at escape, the Boy is attacked by seemingly living suits of armor who attempt to seize him. Fortunately for the Boy, Trico suddenly wakes up and defeats them, showing that both its affection for and recognition of the Boy have returned since being enchanted. As the pair progress, they defeat more soldiers that try to subdue Trico with talisman shields and spears, which the Boy must remove after each attack in addition to calming it down via petting.

Trico and the Boy encounter more dangerous terrain in the form of rickety wooden bridges over massive chasms, crumbling castles, and increasing numbers of soldiers, and the two often barely escape death. In attempting to escape a falling tower, Trico and the Boy briefly encounter another Trico-like beast in full armor, who violently knocks Trico off a cliff. Despite the fall, the two survive and enter a set of flooded tunnels. Here the Boy nearly drowns and subsequently becomes separated from Trico.

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In the Boy's search for Trico, he once again encounters the armored beast. This time, however, he does not have his giant friend with him and must face the beast alone, trapped within the confines of an iron cage. Just as death is certain, the beast is called away by unknown means, and the Boy is left to wait "for what seemed like an eternity". Nonetheless, Trico comes in search of the Boy and happily finds him, breaking open the cage.

Now together again, the pair take up their quest to escape the valley, hoping the remainder of the journey won't be so difficult. Their hopes, however, crumble; stumbling upon yet another room with a magical apparatus, Trico turns violent and again swallows the Boy as if he never knew the human child.

In a flashback, Trico--with majestic wings, complete horns, and full armor--arrives at the Boy's village in the dark of the night. From the silence of its approach, all are oblivious to the danger of the situation, giving Trico just enough time to enter its head into a room full of children. There, asleep, lies the Boy in a frightening dream; he wakes only to be put into a stupor by the beast above him. At this point the villagers discover what had just come into their community, and they surround Trico inside the building and out with brandished spears and torches. Trico swallows the stunned boy and takes flight.

Flying in the stormy skies, Trico attempts to make the final approach to "The Nest", a massive valley surrounded by towering, unscalable cliff-faces. But its landing is cut short; a lightning bolt strikes Trico, knocking him unconscious, and he falls into the valley below, breaking its wings by the many impacts. The animated suits of armor find the unconscious beast and chain it up in the same cave where the game began. The Boy is regurgitated, now suddenly covered in the tattoo-like markings.

Back in the present, Trico and the Boy wake up. To the Boy's surprise and delight, Trico regurgitates the mirror-shield, returning the Boy's ability of the power of lightning. The Boy realizes now that the only way out of The Nest is by the air, but with Trico's wings not yet fully healed, they go in search of the highest place possible: the Sentinel Tower near the valley's edge. During their trek, they are ambushed by a large number of the suits of armor, and the Boy is paralyzed and seized. While initially stunned by the talismans, Trico overcomes its fear and rescues the Boy, using its partially-healed wings to glide to safety.

Finding another way into the tall tower, the Armored Trico attacks again. It ignores Trico until it steps in and defends the Boy, at which point the armored beast quickly gains the upper hand. Strangely, their enemy is called away, just as when it attacked the Boy in the cage, and Trico just barely manages to keep its life.

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Trico and the Boy finally manage to gain entrance to the Sentinel Tower, defeating the horde of Soldiers guarding it. Inside, they discover the Master of the Valley, an evil being resembling an orb of both darkness and pale light, who controls the soldiers and the other Trico-beasts. It is revealed that the beasts are made to bring children to the Master, who consumes them to keep itself alive. Sensing a threat, the Master summons a large number of armored beasts to the Sentinel Tower, and the Boy is attacked. Valiantly standing up for its little friend, Trico moves in to turn away the other beasts, only to be savaged itself, and it loses the end of its tail in the process.

Temporarily ignored, the Boy watches as the severed tail falls into the Master’s chamber. Knowing what he must do, the Boy uses the mirror to destroy the Master, releasing control on the Trico-beasts forever. As the other beasts, horribly disoriented, fall from the sky and stumble backwards off the Sentinel Tower, a badly-wounded Trico stands over the unconscious boy and decides that it is time to return him to his home village. Weakened, but able to truly fly with fully-healed wings, Trico barely clears the valley walls, carrying the Boy home.

Crash-landing in the village, Trico gives the Boy back to the elders as the warriors surround it with spears in-hand. Knowing Trico will be killed if it stays, the Boy, before passing out again, orders it to leave. Trico flies away, and the Boy, narrating as an older man, states he feared Trico would not live much longer, concluding the telling of their “extraordinary story”.

Some time later, several village children find the mirror in the dirt. The Boy, now a man, takes the mirror and summons its light. Zooming through the sky and clouds, the scene returns to the Nest and winds through now-familiar caves into the cave where the adventure began. In the shadows, two pairs of large, green eyes appear, one smaller than the other, and it is possible that one can hear the voice of a little Trico.


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The Boy Trico Armored Tricos
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Armored Knights Master of the Valley


Standard Release

The Last Guardian was released worldwide on December 6th, 2016 as an exclusive PlayStation title. Though originally developed for the PS3, it was released on the PS4 and the PS4 Pro. Both Original and Pro playthroughs are identical in content, visual design and gameplay, but the Pro version, by nature of the platform's improved hardware, handles better with fewer framerate drops and an overal smoother render of physics and demanding sequences. A software patch for the PS4 Pro subsequently enabled the use of High Dynamic Rendering, a feature originally indented to be available from the game's release.

VR Demo

The Playstation VR demo version of the game was released a year later on December 12th, 2017. The game was announced during PlayStation Experience 2017’s opening night event. The stand-alone VR version does not require the full PS4 release to play. The Last Guardian VR experience is also available for free and lasts around 10 minutes. The player can move around by selecting statues placed around the map, and one can also feed Trico with barrels, although the game is not the full version for use with headset.


The "chain" teaser screenshot.

The creation of The Last Guardian stemmed from the interaction between Wander and Agro in Shadow of the Colossus, though in Shadow of the Colossus, Agro's relationship with Wander was not an intentional focus of the storyline; Fumito Ueda chose to take it further in The Last Guardian, turning it--the relationship between man and beast--into the primary focus of the game. Hence, Ueda's designers spent a great amount of time on Trico's design. In it are elements of animals that people meet nearly everyday, such as cats, dogs, and birds. That being said, Trico as a mythical creation looks and acts uniquely while retaining realistic and familiar traits.

The team also wished to incorporate a thorough physics engine into the game. A few scenes in the trailer show the Boy throwing a barrel at Trico, who then bites down and eats it. The entire process is fully based on that physics engine, including the contact of the barrel with the creature's beak and the contents of the barrel as it goes down its throat. Each of the creature's feathers is a separate entity in the engine, creating a very realistic effect when they ripple in the wind or when Trico moves swiftly.


Main article: The Last Guardian Original Soundtrack

The game's soundtrack, entitled Hitokui no Oowashi Toriko, was composed by Takeshi Furukawa and was released in Japan on December 21st, 2016. It was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, Trinity Boys Choir, and London Voices in Lyndhurst Hall. There are currently three major versionsthe Composer's Choice, the Collector's Edition Soundtrack, and the Japanese Audio CDalthough others include the iam8bit Vinyl Soundtrack and the Mini Soundtrack. Furukawa began work on the score in 2011, just as The Last Guardian was being brought over to the PS4.

Press and Development Status


October 18th, 2005 - Team Ico releases their last original game, Shadow of the Colossus.


It is reported that Team Ico began to experiment with some new ideas during the time of the release of Shadow of the Colossus, such as deciding between a PSP and PS3 project. Fumito Ueda: "If we were to make our next game, it would, naturally, be on the PS3."


February 2007 - Team Ico suggests that its new game is in the early phases of design. May 18th, 2007 - Sony reveals that Team Ico is developing not one, but two games.


January 24th, 2008 - Team Ico releases a teaser image about their next big project, stating that it's heading to the PS3. August 4th, 2008 - Shuhei Yoshida: "Team Ico has something really, really good on the way."

August 6th, 2008 - Fumito Ueda says the new project has a long way to go before finishing development

August 28th, 2008 - Shuhei Yoshida: "The project isn't ready to show at TGS 2008."


March 25th, 2009 - Fumito Ueda says the essence of the new project will be similar to Ico. May 19th, 2009 - First footage of the game "Project Trico" leaks online.

June 2nd, 2009 - Sony reveals the above video in greater length at E3 2009, calling the game "The Last Guardian".

June 3rd, 2009 - Fumito Ueda talks about The Last Guardian's gameplay.

September 23rd, 2009 - The Last Guardian shows up at TGS 2009.


February 3rd, 2010 - Fumito Ueda says that we (the gamers) will learn more information about The Last Guardian soon. June 22nd, 2010 - The Last Guardian doesn't show up at E3 2010.

September 16th, 2010 - The Last Guardian shows up at TGS 2010 with a new trailer and a promise for a holiday 2011 release.

September 24th, 2010 - Fumito Ueda talks more about The Last Guardian.


March 2nd, 2011 - Team Ico planned on including a The Last Guardian demo in Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection; it was never released for inclusion in the game combo. March 2nd, 2011 - A demo of The Last Guardian was apparently shown to Sony employees/press internally.

April 20th, 2011 - Fumito Ueda delays the game from holiday 2011.

September 8th, 2011 - The Last Guardian is nowhere to be found at E3 2011 or TGS 2011; Sony states that the development team is hard at work to deliver "the very best gaming experience possible".

September 22nd, 2011 - The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection releases; a few staff members from Team Ico had overseen the project, but it was mainly developed by Bluepoint Games.

November 30th, 2011 - Reports surface that Fumito Ueda left Sony and had become an independent freelancer, although still working on the project.

December 12th, 2011 - Sony confirms the game is still in development; Sony verifies that Executive Producer/Director of the project Fumito Ueda had quit Sony but stayed attached to the project as a freelancer.


Development of The Last Guardian moved from the PlayStation®3 to the PlayStation®4.[1] February 10th, 2012 - Shuhei Yoshida states The Last Guardian is making "progress, but slow progress", and it's "tough", but "it's still a really important project" so "there's some scrapping and rebuilding - iteration in the process".

February 14th, 2012 - Fumito Ueda confirms that development for the game is challenging, but it will come out.

February 16th, 2012 - Sony states that Sony Santa Monica will help finish the game.

June 5-6th, 2012 - Nothing at E3, Yoshida blames "technical difficulties" as the reason, and Scott Rhode says The Last Guardian will release "when it's done".

August 9th, 2012 - Sony re-registers trademark, reconfirms game is in development.

August 15th, 2012 - Shuhei Yoshida: "They had to redo some of the work they had done."

November 7th, 2012 - Doesn't show up at TGS 2012. Shuhei Yoshida: "They're working hard on the project". Refuses to commit to a 2013 release


February 13th, 2013 - Rumors start to emerge that The Last Guardian has been shifted development to a PS4 title for a while now and that it has been restarted a number of times. February 13th, 2013 - Fumito Ueda confirms the game is still in development under his supervision.

February 22nd, 2013 - Shuhei Yoshida: "We're waiting for the right time to re-introduce TLG."

June 11th, 2013 - The game doesn't show up at E3 2013, and Jack Tretton states the game is "on hiatus" but "has not gone away", Shuhei Yoshida quickly rebuts that with "the game is in active development".

August 21st, 2013 - Fumito Ueda: "The Last Guardian is still in development, but other projects such as Puppeteer and Knack currently taking higher priority".

October 10th, 2013 - Doesn't show up at TGS 2013, Shuhei Yoshida: "A smaller team is re-engineering the game".

November 19th, 2013 - Fumito Ueda states that he is "terribly sorry" it has taken so long to finish The Last Guardian, and that "[his] creative work was mostly finished a long time ago", but "the details of when, where, and how it will be completed are beyond [his] control".


March 12th, 2014 - Scott Rhode: "We're not not going to announce what platform it’s coming on, who’s working on it, who’s involved. But that is still a title that’s absolutely in the mix at Worldwide Studios. That’s the most you’re gonna get.” He also adds that he "loves that people are still interested in it". June 8th, 2014 - IGN starts a rumor that The Last Guardian has been cancelled in an internal meeting the prior week, cites Sony Russia exec. as the source, Scott Rhode and Yoshida "laughed at this rumor over dinner" and reiterated on Twitter "TLG has NOT been cancelled".

June 9th, 2014 - The Last Guardian doesn't show up at E3 2014, and Shawn Layden says that, "on an occasion in the future", he will "talk more about what that progress looks like/what that route to market is going to look like" regarding the project.

June 12th, 2014 - Shuhei Yoshida: "It exists. The team is working hard on it. When we cancel a title and it is something we have announced already, we'll say so."


February 17th, 2015 - The Last Guardian trademark has been reissued by the original name holder, marked as the fourth time it's been re-protected. [1] June 15th, 2015 - The Last Guardian has finally been officially re-revealed during the Sony press conference at E3 as a PlayStation®4 exclusive with a 2016 release date. The re-reveal came in the shape of a gameplay trailer, showing off the interaction between the Trico and the player-controlled character. [2]

June 17, 2015 - Shuhei Yoshida told Kotaku[2] that development of The Last Guardian was changed from the PlayStation®3 to the PlayStation®4 because "the announcement trailer of 2009 wasn't representative of how the game actually performed - but was "'specced up'" for the occasion". In reality, "the game was running on a much lower frame rate".

In 2011, "Progress became very slow. There were a lot of technical issues. The game was not performing at speed. The game was running on a much lower frame rate. Some features were still missing".

"It was clear that the team had to make a compromise in terms of features, as the PlayStation®3 hardware struggled to cope with the game's vision.

“So it was clear that the team had to make a compromise in terms of features and number of characters so while they were taking time, the engineering team ported the code on the SPU [processors of the PS3] to improve the performance, but it was taking lots of time.

“But, in the meantime PS4 arrived, the development environment was available. So in 2012 it became apparent we should move it to PS4 to achieve the visual [ideal].”

In the same interview, Yoshida stated, “We have a certain level of confidence about the launch window, which is why we showed it”.

On the same day, Fumito Ueda announced he had formed a small game development studio in 2014 named genDesign located in Koto-ku, Tokyo. [3] This studio is comprised of people that worked with Ueda on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.[4]

2015 - Team Ico released a gameplay trailer, showing how the game works and new features. One including a strange tower that Trico does not dare go near. Judging by its hostility to the tower and its eyes briefly turning purple, it is implied that it is a tower that summons an invisible chain so that it can't go through and does damage to the animal.

Teasers and trailers

Pre-trailer media (2007-2009)

The project was first revealed in a full-page advertisement in Famitsu, a Japanese gaming magazine, on February 14th, 2007. The advert featured some rough concept sketches on note paper. The page also stated that it was recruiting members for both the technical and art departments. Shortly after, a single screenshot of a chain leading into a small hole (right) was released; it would be the only released media from the game for over two years.

Debut Trailer

Before the game's logo appears in the trailer, parts of the letters "L", "G", and "D" are highlighted to form the word Ico as a shoutout to that game's influence on The Last Guardian's style, focus and setting. (The brightness and contrast of this image was adjusted to make the letters easier to see.)

A trailer for the game was leaked by the PlayStation LifeStyle blog on May 19th, 2009. This trailer showed a boy being chased by the creature, which also dispatches an armored guard with a single swipe of its talons. It chases the boy to the edge of a chasm, but rescues him instead. The boy quickly climbs aboard, and the two set off exploring together.

The music used in the trailer was composed by Carter Burwell from the 1990 movie Miller’s Crossing [3].

On June 2nd, 2009, an updated and extended version of the trailer was shown at E3.


The Last Guardian received "generally favorable" reviews on Metacritic holding a metascore of 82/100 based on 110 critic reviews.[5]



E3 2015 re-reveal (PlayStation®4 in-game screenshots)

The Last Guardian genDESIGN

Promotional material as displayed on

The Last Guardian concept art

Concept art as displayed on

The first trailer (leaked) and final version


Project Trico - PlayStation Life Style Trailer

The early version of the trailer, leaked by PlayStation LifeStyle.


The Last Guardian - E3 Trailer

The final version of the trailer, shown at E3.

Pictures from the leaked trailer

The PlayStation Lifestyle also leaked a few images not found in the trailer.

External Links

The Game Shadow of the Colossus ( Demo  · Pal Release  · Shadow of the Colossus HD  · PS4)
Characters Wander  · Agro  · Mono  · Dormin  · Emon
The Colossi I  · II  · III  · IV  · V · VI  · VII  · VIII  · IX  · X  · XI  · XII  · XIII  · XIV  · XV  · XVI
Unused Colossi ( Devil  · Evis  · Griffin  · Phoenix  · Roc  · Saru  · Sirius  · Spider  · Worm  · Yamori A  · Buffalo  · Quetzalcoatl)
Magic Sigil  · Hard Mode
Colossus Arenas Temple  · Proto  · Arena  · Kirin's Hill  · Canyon · Canossa  · Lakeside  · Underground  · Geyser  · Gravewind  · Leo's Cave  · Poseidon's Lake  · Desert  · Ruins  · Parthenon  · Sanctuary
Unused Arenas ( Badlands  · Cave  · Crater  · Devil's Plain  · Dune  · Hillock  · I1  · Labyrinth  · Sluice  · Stonehenge  · Valley )
The Forbidden Lands Shadow creaturesSave shrinesFruit treesWhite-tailed lizards

The Shrine of Worship
Umbral GladeStone Arch GorgeDried MarshNorthern SpanDesert FortressMisty FallsRavine EntranceHalf-moon CanyonWestern PlainRound Stone HillLair to the WestStone Bridge CliffCliff PathLair on the MesaWestern CapeArch Bridge PlainBlasted LandsAutumn ForestEastern BluffValley PlainSouthwestern CapeSouthern PlainGreen CapeThe Broken Seal

Soundtrack Roar of the Earth
Walkthrough Time AttackGolden Coins
Other media Nico  · Official artbook/guidebook  · Collectible figurines  · Film adaptation
Giantology campaign
Hoaxes Jebal-Barez skeletonTamil Nadu tsunami giantSulu Sea eel statuePolarneft conspiracySayre family vacation
Characters Eric BelsonCasper ShillingEd GuylerArkady SimkinBoris AtlasovAndrew and Ellie Sayre
Media Giantology podcasts (FirstInterview with Arkady SimkinThirdFourth) • IPICP memo
TLGtemplatelogo.png Walkthrough
Characters The Boy  · Trico  · Armored Beasts  · Knights (Yori)  · Master of the Valley
Locations The Nest  · The White Tower
Items The Mirror  · Talismans  · Barrels  · Costumes
Gameplay Easter Egg
Media The Last Guardian (OST)  · Official Art and Guide Book
Releases PS3 development  · PS4 final release  · Credits