Fumito Ueda

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Fumito Ueda
Ueda in 2016
Native name 上田 文人
Born (1970-04-19) April 19, 1970 (age 47)
Tatsuno, Hy・go, Japan
Occupation Game director, game designer
Years active 1996・present
Notable work Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian

Fumito Ueda (上田 文人?, Ueda Fumito, born April 19, 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).[1]

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 often been described by some as a video game "auteur."[1]


Early times[edit]

Born in Tatsuno on April 19, 1970, Ueda graduated from the Osaka University of Arts in 1993.[1] In 1995, after trying to make a living as an artist, Ueda decided to pursue a career in the video game industry.[1] 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.

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.[3] 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.[4] Ueda later confirmed The Last Guardian to be related to the two previous installments.[5]

2010s: genDESIGN[edit]

He left Sony in December 2011, although remained under contract to finish works on The Last Guardian.[6] After years of development hell, 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.[7]

In an interview, Ueda also stated he would like to create a first person shooter after finishing The Last Guardian, citing Half-Life 2 as a source of interest.[8]

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."[9]

Ueda played a lot of Sega Mega Drive games, which influenced his work.[10] He is also known to be a user of the Amiga computer in the early 1990s, which was rare in Japan at the time.[11] Games that influenced his work include The Legend of Zelda,[12] Virtua Fighter, and Prince of Persia.[13]

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".[14]



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