Hands clutched to hearts and eyes moistened earlier today when it was reported that The Last Guardian disappeared from GameStop's system, rendering all ability to pre-order it null and, even more worryingly, suggesting that the game was not going to come out. Okay, it possibly wasn't all that dramatic, but the very idea that the latest game from Fumito Ueda, who has recently left Sony but is working on TLG as a freelancer, would not see an actual release is a realistic one in a lot of minds and that alone makes it a possibility to be feared. Just the fact that Ueda left under the circumstances he did suggests that there has been some sort of strife internally, which only leads credence to the idea that the game has been scrapped. And from what I've seen, it was a few long, miserable hours at least before any real clarification against the gigantic rumor mill that is the internet and games journalism came out to relax and assuage our fears.
First came a statement from Patrick Seybold, SCEA's Senior Director of Corporate Communications stating simply that the rumors of The Last Guardian's cancellation were, simply, "not true". Mind that this is different if only because he didn't spout the normal company line of "Sony doesn't comment on rumors or speculations", which....sort of implies that they do. Sometimes. When an issue is clearly pants-on-head stupid to consider, as the cancellation of The Last Guardian is. Still, that wasn't enough for some people and it certainly didn't help that the only people who picked it up at first seemed to be Kotaku and IGN (withholding links; IGN gets enough from me using their Screenshots and Kotaku.....urgh.), but eventually a statement from GameStop itself (yes, apparently Joystiq thinks it was a GameStop store or the entity of GameStop that issued a statement, since they couldn't list whoever issued the statement) that really sorts everything up.
"The Last Guardian has not been cancelled by Sony as we incorrectly stated in an automated call to reservation customers. Because the game did not have a specific release date, GameStop made the decision to remove the game from our system. The Last Guardian will be reinstated for pre-order when a firm launch date is known."
So, basically, GameStop unlisted the game because it hasn't had a firm release date in the entirety of its stay within their database which isn't entirely unreasonable at face value. Of course, again this is The Last Guardian and it's going to come out, but it's also going to take a hell of a long time. That's just how it is, and you gotta be ready to ride that out. Common logic dictates that if the game had been in the system for as long as it's been, the best thing would be to just....y'know, put it back in now, rather than waiting for a release date, but I guess it's not an issue. I just don't think it's likely taking up that much space. But at the very least, GameStop did come out and say "our bad" since it was, indeed, their bad.
Perhaps I'm able to be passive about the entire situation since it had clarified by itself by the time I came around to find out about it, but I imagine I would've been highly speculative of it anyway. After all, GameStop's system hasn't been all that accurate on Pricing and Release Dates in the past, and there are numerous examples of that. Still, I'm sure there were plenty out there that believed this at face value, either by seeing the different outcroppings of 'news' stating that it was 'definitely' cancelled, or by speaking to people who had seen things and made it all seem worse than it was. Any other company, and I'd almost expect them to capitalize on this to send out a new trailer or something but with Ueda/Team Ico....
Well, they'll just keep on truckin'. And you can't help but like them for that at least, if not for the feelings you'll have when you finally play The Last Guardian. Because trust me, there will be feelings. Plenty of them.