The Last Guardian, Sony's perpetually mysterious follow-up to ICO and Shadow of the Colossus may finally be down for the count. Or not, as this isn't the first time Sony abandoned the beleaguered game's trademark. Either way, Sony has decided not to renew the title in the United States. This marks the latest event, or non-event really, in the vaporous game's interminable development cycle.

Besides these trademark issues the latest update we received on the game came from director Fumito Ueda in an interview with Dengeki PlayStation last year: "Talks with Sony Computer Entertainment on The Last Guardian have been ironed out, and we're making progress under completely new conditions."

There was never a release date for the game, or anything else concrete said about its progress besides similar vague claims like "It exists", a terse statement Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida made at E3 last year. Otherwise, these trademark gaffes are the few signposts we've seen and at best, they indicate that there could be a name change on the way or Sony simply forgot to do some paperwork. At worst, the game might finally be gone.

You can view The Last Guardian's trademark listing on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Sony abandoned the trademark once before in 2012. Then in August last year, Sony said that the game was still in the works. Now, in light of this new trademark abandonment, Sony France insists the game is still in the works according to an update on French site

Fumito Ueda's departure from Sony caused a similar stir several years ago. He still works on the game in a freelance capacity.

The most optimistic scenario is that The Last Guardian's "new conditions" moved development to modern consoles like PlayStation 4 much like what happened to the similarly belabored Final Fantasy XV, once known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. That title has also experienced something of a development hell. It was announced before The Last Guardian almost an entire decade ago back in 2006. However, Final Fantasy XV is on track to release with a playable demo out next month.

The Last Guardian, once known as "Project TRICO", is the third game from Fumito Ueda and presumably the third to take place in the same universe as PlayStation 2 games ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. Its initial E3 reveal in 2009 caused waves with an emotional trailer that featured a bond between a giant, cat-like griffon and a boy.

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