PlayStation 2 classic Ico has turned 20 years old.
In the 2001 adventure game, developed by Japan Studio and Team Ico and directed by Fumito Ueda, you play a young boy born with horns who encounters a princess called Yorda. The pair work to escape a castle, while Ico helps Yorda evade shadowy creatures.
The hook – apart from Ico’s gorgeous, minimalist visuals and design – is the player controls Ico while assisting Yorda. Digital Foundry revisited Ico in the video, below:
Eurogamer has published some wonderful writing about Ico over the years. In a piece about save points, Christian Donlan wrote of the way Ico handles it: “Beautifully, you save using the same device you’re probably sitting on while you play. You save on a sofa, albeit a ghostly sofa that only you can see. Still, a soft, familiar, domestic item dropped into this strange, distant game. A lovely touch. And a warm one.”
Occasional Eurogamer freelance wordsmith Ewan Wilson discussed Ico when writing about the impossible architecture of video games.
Edwin also mentioned Ico in his piece, In praise of bad game design.
Eurogamer’s Ian Higton and Aofie Wilson played Ico in 2018 as part of our Late to the Party series. Video below:
Ico was met with critical acclaim, and its development team went on to make 2005 masterpiece Shadow of the Colossus, and, eventually, 2016’s The Last Guardian. Ueda left Sony in 2011, five years before The Last Guardian came out, although he stuck around to help as a contractor. Bluepoint’s brilliant Shadow of the Colossus remake came out on PlayStation 4 in 2018. Meanwhile, The Last Guardian at 60fps is a joy on PlayStation 5.
Perhaps Ico will get a PS5 remake one day. Until then, you can play Ico in original form on PS2 and via Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection HD for PlayStation 3.