Holding The Fort

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Whilst the rest of the industry gets itself into a flap over E3, I'll be holding the fort over here in London. Once again it falls on me to ask the bigger questions and ponder the deeper riddles facing the gaming community today. Like, is there going to be an Ico 2?

Rumors have been circulating and I have to say my interest has been piqued. Word on the street (well, okay, the forums, so not quite street, more like bedrooms, but they're on streets right!?) is that movements in Japan could signal the development of Ico 2.

It all started with Japanese games mag, Famitsu. Last July, the creators of Ico placed an ad in the magazine, looking for help on their next project. Nothing remarkable in that, we all shrug. Ah, hah! But my dear playmates, the crucial twist to this story is, that said ad featured a new piece of artwork depicting a sweeping landscape from the unmistakable Ico world. Could this be damning evidence of plans to create a sequel?

With news like this, my heart both leaped for joy and sank with a feeling of impending dread. Ico is one of the most beautifully realised games of our time and every moment of playing gave me the kind of gaming pleasure that comes along about as often as Halley's Comet. Here was a game that could actually reduce a grown man to tears, as it played tug of war with your heartstrings. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a sissy girl who blubs at the end of Pretty Woman. I can't actually remember the end of Pretty Woman, but Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in one movie is enough to make me blub.

Ico is like a really good book because when you get to the end, all you want to do is go back and start it all over again. There's no relief or feeling of "thank God, I've finally finished that, phew!" No, it's more a feeling of "Oh, it's over, I don't want it to be over""

So, you see, the merest glimmering possibility of a sequel is a very exciting prospect. I do want to return to that world and I want to know why Ico's got horns and why his village sent him off to the castle and, and"are there other boys with horns, or even girls with horns and, where did Yorda come from and stuff"?

But then there's the flip side of the coin. What if it's rubbish? Can you really repeat a glorious gaming experience like Ico? I don't want a shonky sequel muscling in and ruining my recollections of one of my favorite games of all time. Suddenly, mentions of Ico would be tarnished by its sub-standard sequel and gamers everywhere would shake their heads, sadly, wishing it had never happened.

The sad truth is, money rules and that means ‘bring on the sequels' is the business strategy of most developers, publishers, or whoever you want to lay the blame on. Hopefully the fact that Ico wasn't exactly a runaway smash hit will save it from death by sequel.

This snippet of news has thrown me into a gaming quandary. I would love to play a sequel to Ico and immerse myself in its mysterious, beautiful world again. But surely part of Ico's appeal is that you don't know who he is, or what his village looks like and who the guys on the horses are. And it has to be said, the artwork on the advert has got me excited. It features a sweeping, dramatic landscape with three figures on horses in the foreground. And guess what"they've ALL got horns!! See"the Ico-boy-with-horns plot thickens.

I'm not just mad and obsessed! Don't try and tell me you're not interested because I know you are.

Ultimately, it would have to be one hell of a sequel to match up to Ico and I just don't have faith in the powers that be to come up with the goods. It's hard to say, but I really hope there isn't an Ico 2 {sigh}.

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