Fumito Ueda

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Fumito Ueda
Ueda in 2016
Native name上田 文人
Born1970 (age 47–48)
Tatsuno, Hyōgo, Japan
OccupationGame director, screenwriter, game designer
Years active1996–present
Notable work

Fumito Ueda (上田 文人, Ueda Fumito, 1970) is a Japanese video game designer. Ueda is best known as the director and lead designer of Ico (2001), Shadow of the Colossus (2005), and The Last Guardian (2016). His games have achieved cult status and are distinguished by their economy of plot and scenario, use of overexposed, desaturated light, fictional languages, and minimal dialogue. He has been described by some as a video game auteur.


Early times[edit]

Born in Tatsuno, Ueda graduated from the Osaka University of Arts in 1993. In 1995, after trying to make a living as an artist, Ueda decided to pursue a career in the video game industry. He joined video game developer WARP and worked as an animator on the game Enemy Zero for the Sega Saturn under video game director Kenji Eno.[1] He described his time there as "arduous",[2] as the game was behind schedule and everyone on the project had to work more than normal to meet the release deadline. Eno, who also owned the company, did not think he was that great a CG artist, but handpicked Ueda because of his talent with concepts and design.[3] Ueda worked at the developer for a year and a half.[4]

2000s: Sony[edit]

In 1997, Ueda successfully joined Sony Computer Entertainment as a first-party developer.[1] In Sony Computer Entertainment's SIE Japan Studio, he began work on Ico. After Ico, Ueda and his small team, better known as Team Ico started working on a game originally titled NICO, but later retitled as Shadow of the Colossus.[1]

In February 2007, Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu reported that Ueda and his team were working on a new game for the PlayStation 3. No details about the unnamed title were revealed. In 2008, in the August edition of PlayStation Magazine, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida described the game as "really, really good". Yoshida also commented that both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus took 4 years to develop as a hint that the game is under production, but is not close to release.[5] E3 2009 revealed the game as The Last Guardian, the trailer for which suggests a saga involving elements of both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus wherein a young boy resembling Ico partners up with a colossus-sized companion to complete puzzles.[6] Ueda later confirmed The Last Guardian to be related to the two previous installments.[7]

In an interview with G4tv.com in 2009 he expressed admiration for the method of cut-scene storytelling in Valve's Half-Life 2, and when questioned directly expressed an interest in making a first person game.[8][9]

2010s: genDESIGN[edit]

He left Sony in December 2011, although remained under contract to finish works on The Last Guardian.[10] The Last Guardian, was announced for release on October 25, 2016 during Sony’s presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 in June, but then later delayed to December 6, 2016.[11]

In an interview with Japanese video game magazine Famitsu in Sep 2018 Ueda revealed that the studio was at the prototyping stage of design of a new game, supported with funding from Kowloon Knights.[12]

Influences and style[edit]

He described himself as a very inquisitive child saying "I enjoyed catching and keeping living things, such as fish or birds. Other than that, I liked both watching and making animation. Basically, I seemed to be interested in things that moved." Among his favorite subjects in school was art: a discipline which still plays an active role in Ueda’s life, and which under different circumstances could have led to an alternate choice of occupation. "If I was not in the games industry, I would want to become a classical artist. Though I regard not only games but also anything that expresses something – be it films, novels or manga – as forms of art."[13]

Ueda played a lot of Sega Mega Drive games, which influenced his work.[14] He is also known to have been a fan of the Amiga computer platformer games Flashback, and Another World during his teenage years.[15] Games that influenced his work include The Legend of Zelda,[16] Virtua Fighter, and Prince of Persia.[17]

Ueda’s games are considered to have a very distinctive style, which Ueda himself describes as "design by subtraction", with sparse landscapes, oversaturated lighting and minimalist story to give his games a personal and distinctive feel.[1] Ueda also admitted that, in video games, ideas for a gameplay mechanic should be made first, then complemented by a game’s story.[1]

In 2008, IGN, included Ueda in Top 100 Game Creators of All Time, saying "Ueda’s knack for creating atmospheric puzzle playgrounds with mute or near-mute characters instills a sense of isolation, yet provides an endearing feeling of hope as the protagonists seek simply to find an exodus or redemption from their weather-worn, ornate prisons".[18]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Fumito Ueda". Giant Bomb. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "Fumito Ueda at Game For Future 2007". 2007. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008.
  3. ^ Bettenhausen, Shane; Mielke, James, "Japan's Wayward Son [transcript reprinted from Electronic Gaming Monthly (Sep 2008)]", www.1up.com, p. 7 of 10, archived from the original on 24 June 2012, 1UP: One of your animators on Enemy Zero was a young guy named Fumito Ueda, who most people know as being the creator of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Did you see his potential, you know, for the future when you worked with him on Enemy Zero? KE: At the very beginning, he didn't pass the application process at Warp. But I still remember the work that he submitted; it was about a dog running in the rain. His technology as an animator, as a CG artist, wasn't that great, but his ideas and his concepts really struck me, so even though he originally wasn't on the hiring list, I handpicked him because I saw his potential. Not potential as a graphic artist, but his design and concepts struck me, so that's why I picked him out. However, people ask me a lot about Ueda, but he didn't stay at Warp for a long time. It's not like I groomed him or anything; he already had the talent when he came to work, and he's a talented person, so he went to whatever future he was supposed to go to. That's how I see Ueda.
  4. ^ 上田文人 (@fumito_ueda) (21 Feb 2013), "僕が初めてビデオゲームの世界に入ったのが飯野賢治さん率いる(株)WARPという会社でした。1年半ほどの短い時間でしたがそこで濃密な時間を過ごさせてもらったことが今の自分に繋がってると思います。ちゃんとお礼を伝えられなかったのが悔やまれます。心からご冥福をお祈り申し上げます。" [My first experience in the world of video games was at a company WARP, led by Kenji Iino. It was a short time of about one and a half years ..], twitter.com (in Japanese) (304575060109303809)
  5. ^ Gibson, Ellie (August 4, 2008). "Sony boss praises Ico team's new game". Eurogamer. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  6. ^ "From Ico to The Last Guardian (Page 2 Of 2)". IGN. July 3, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Last Guardian sera bien lié à Ico et Shadow of the Colossus" (in French). 24 September 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  8. ^ Razak, Matthew (3 Oct 2009), "Ueda wants to make an FPS, loves Half-Life 2", www.destructoid.com
  9. ^ "Fumito Ueda's A Big Half-Life 2 Fan Interested In Making A First Person Game", g4tv.com, archived from the original on 7 Oct 2009, [via a Translator] ".. the way they [Half-Life 2 developer Valve] implemented constraints was something different that I enjoyed, compared to other games." [...] Q. Given his appreciation for Valve's brand of storytelling and appreciation of what's possible from that vantage point, does that mean he'd consider making a move into the first-person in the future? "I have an interest in making first-person games," he said.
  10. ^ Curtis, Tom (December 12, 2011). "Confirmed: Ico Creator Fumito Ueda Leaves Sony". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  11. ^ Bohn, Dieter (13 June 2016). "The Last Guardian is coming to PlayStation 4 on October 25th". The Verge. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  12. ^ Romano, Sal (12 Sep 2018), "Fumito Ueda's next project underway, rivals the scale of previous titles", gematsu.com
  13. ^ Barder, Ollie (August 18, 2005). "A break from the norm". The Guardian. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  14. ^ "ICO – 2002 Developer Interview". Shmuplations. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  15. ^ "The Last Guardian creator: 'I can't face playing my own game'". The Guardian. June 28, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  16. ^ "shadow of the colossus". October 25, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  17. ^ "Watch The Last Guardian's spectacular new CG trailer". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  18. ^ "46. Fumito Ueda". IGN. 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  19. ^ "The Story of Fumito Ueda". shmuplations.com. Retrieved 28 April 2016.

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