Sunday, July 31, 2011

Unused/Beta Colossi

The game's creator Fumito Ueda originally had 48 colossi in the back of his mind when planning the game, but quickly realised that this was too many and cut the number in half to 24 - the 16 we are familiar with and 8 more that are revealed in the art book. The art book states that the designers '[We] started out by creating the colossi arenas, then figuring out where in the expansive field they would be placed. Since we started out with 24 Colossi, it was pretty huge. The number of Colossi was ultimately reduced to 16, however, and the field was reduced a bit to its present form'.

Shrine of Worship with 24 idols from the NICO dvd (all identical 1st colossus)

24 statues are copies of #1 (Valus)

There is still proof that there were once 24 colossi in the game, but you have to hack the game to see it... at the Entrance temple there are 12 columns on the west side yet only 4 columns on the east side (which represent the 16 colossi we see in the game today), that is on either side of the central entrance that Wander and Agro pass through in the opening cut scene. You can't see this part of the temple in the game, this model only loads during the opening cut scene. It was WWWArea who first worked out how to freeze the cut scene, from there we were able to explore these lands for the first time.

There are 9 standing columns plus 3 fallen columns on the west side of the temple (makes 12). On the east side there are only 4 standing columns, but there is just enough room for 8 more columns - which would add up to 12 on either side (representing the original 24 colossi). It was also WWWArea who first noticed that there were 16 columns, and based on this I realized there was room for 8 more (see below).

9 standing columns on the west side of the Entrance temple

Plus 3 fallen columns (makes 12 on the west side)

But only 4 columns on the east side (makes 16)...

with room for 8 more columns (makes 24)

Art book image of the temple showing extra columns on the east side

So we can assume that some beta colossi arenas were designed and these should be evident on the world map. I think F0, H2, B3, D3, G7, possibly I7 and B2 (although B2 is very speculative) were likely candidates, so this gives us evidence for 7 of the discarded colossi, some were likely replaced (for instance the Phoenix with Basaran), the others were removed outright.

Likely beta colossi locations

The information about the colossi is sketchy and just a few images exist for each one so I've laid them out here in no particular order. Note: I've used text from the shadow of the colossus wiki, a post by Andrew FM on the Playstation 2 forums and GlitterBerri's English translation of the art book to compile this. Note: AndrewFM's post is based on a Team Ico Gamers blog post that has since been removed. Apparently it was based on a French gaming article's interview with Fumito Ueda. I have tried to track this down without success. 

It should be noted that Yamori_B did some research on the Shadow of the Colossus/Team Ico wikis and discovered that nearly all the information contained there is made up. Since then I've made contact with an admin of the Team Ico wiki (Kris Van Den Broek) and we have exchanged emails about this issue. The names of the unused colossi and other information is nothing but fiction posted by a user named Starkstone. But the names at least have now become part of the mythology around these unused colossi and fans like to give the colossi memorable names instead of using the developer names, so I will include them here for that reason. Note: The Team Ico wiki has been updated with the correct information (as we currently have it).

http://shadowofthecolossus.wikia.com/wiki/Unused_Colossi
http://community.us.playstation.com/thread/820316?start=0&tstart=0
http://www.glitterberri.com/shadow-of-the-colossus/

Phoenix
The SotC wiki claims it was named Adar Flam or 'The Flame Bird' after its glowing wings that were as if on fire, but as stated above this name is made up. But based on the images, we can assume it was around sixty feet tall with carved stone eyes. The battle was fought on a very large arena, the main challenge was to get close enough to the Colossus. The Colossus would constantly flap its enormous wings, sending you flying and stumbling backwards (this action was re-used in the battle with Avion in the final release). The art book says 'Its body was wreathed in flame. You defeated it by plunging it into a lake'. Although there's no evidence of fire in the images perhaps it burst into flame periodically and this was when you had to lure it into the lake?

It was scrapped for two reasons. One, the arena needed for this battle to be effective was much larger than what they wanted to use. Secondly, the Colossus was very overpowering, and they had a lot of trouble trying to make the battle balanced.


These trees remind me of the dead trees at the bridge leading into 9's area

No evidence of the lake in these images

An image not shown in the art book (source unknown)

I looked around to find a place that matched the Phoenix images. As I said the trees here reminded me of the trees at the bridge to #9's area and sure enough, I found that they matched nicely. There is a distinctive forked tree on an angle that appears to have been moved across the bridge, a small tree that matches the images and two bent trees that are still in the game next to the bridge (see images below).

Forked tree on an angle comparison

Small tree comparison

Two bent trees comparison

The trees don't match exactly but it's pretty close - looks like they added extra branches

Another thing to note is that in the Pre-release (Preview) version of the game there is water in Basaran's cave. It serves no purpose in the battle as Basaran can't hurt you when you are in the water. It's ranged attacks seem to charge up then abruptly stop... so all it does is its stomping attacks over and over. Remaining in the water also prevents Basaran from approaching the geysers so there is no way to end the battle from the cave lake. So it's very odd why there is water there at all, except perhaps that it is a leftover of the lake that once was used in the battle with the Phoenix. 

Note: In Dormin's introduction to this area the text has also changed, 'The land where trees nary grow... it sleeps at the bottom of the lake'. In the final version this was changed to 'it sleeps in a dry lake bed...' So here we see that even at this late stage, there was still mention of a lake at #9's area.

Basaran's lake - a leftover from the Phoenix?

Basaran's Lake video here:

Check out my beta colossi speculations video here: 

The Roc
The SotC wiki names this one Avus, but again a fictional name. It's actually another bird type colossus but with a head that resembled a frilled necked lizard. Originally, the battle took place on land, instead of over a lake. It was a battle that primarily focused on using Agro. You had to chase it, and try to shoot it down out of the sky using your bow. It was scrapped for two reasons; first, the development team felt that the battle was too similar to the battle against Phalanx, and second, they were having a lot of trouble with the collisions.

Tattered wings

Note: A myth has arisen about this colossus called 'The Black Bird'. It's mainly centered on Brazilian players who swear they have seen a huge winged shadow fly over Wander at certain areas in the game, mostly in the southern regions. But when they look up, nothing is there! Sadly, not a single image or video ever was produced to confirm this myth, and as we know from the SotC viewer, there are no extra colossi models in the game data. So I think they are mistaking hawks for this so called 'Black Bird'. Perhaps someone was just in the right place as the shadow of a hawk flew past, there a lots of hawks in the southern regions of the map, sometimes you can have as many as five or six hawks following Wander and Agro. From this the myth gained strength until it got out of control.

You can read more about this myth here:

Fought over a dry lakebed


Starts out like Avion perched on its tower

H4 comparisons between versions

It seems the Roc was another flying colossus that was included in the game along with the Bird (which later evolved into Avion) and Phalanx. So it appears at one time there were three flying colossi instead of two. When the map was reduced they scrapped those colossi that were proving troublesome, and sadly the Roc was one of these.

E4 mountain matches art book image

I went looking for a mountain that matched the one in the above image, I thought I would find it around #9's area as it has some triangular shaped mountains there but none of them matched... also it wouldn't make any sense that the Roc lived in the same area as the Phoenix, so I kept searching until I did find one that was close but not an exact match. It's in E4 right above the cave you enter to approach the forest from the north. You can see in the image above the mountains look similar but not identical in any way, it's probably just a coincidence as it seems clear that the entire arena that the Roc existed in was deleted.

Another mountain I found also was a close match, but still not exact. At C4 there is a mountain that seemed to match the shape of the mountain quite well and even the ground level matched the Roc image.

Mountain at C4

Mountain is a close match to the Roc's mountain

Map showing a possible connection to the Roc's lair at C4

The blue line shows the edge of the cliffs, below this is the plain where the Roc was found perched on its pedestal. The purple line shows the path Wander and Agro would have taken to enter the area. The problem with this area is it's up on a mountain that there is no access to. But in the pre-release (Preview) version there are bright green paths of grass here which makes me think this was once a playable area.

C4 map square looking South

Green path winds around the cliffs

Note: In the NTSC/PAL versions this green path is subdued and looks more like a dark mossy texture instead of a definitive path. The mountain has also lost most of its detail, being smoothed out and rounded off.

 C4 path in the NTSC/PAL version

But Riccardo Sonnino seems to have found a more appropriate location for the Roc, and from what I can see it matches what we see in the art book image quite well. If you recall from my 'More map mysteries' video I found a previously unseen map square (at B3) hidden away in the OPM demo program code. It is the only one of its kind across all the versions of the game we can access, and being the earliest build of the game we know of it appears to show an early colossus lair that was removed from the game (see video here):

I had always wondered if this was a discarded colossi lair but never had any proof, but thanks to Riccardo it seems to match the Roc's area quite well. Of course, all we have is this one low res map square to base any evidence on, but if we are looking for a wide flat plain with low profile hills surrounding it and a mountain in the distance, it fits.

'slow_b3_mip' map square from the OPM demo code

B3 map matches the art book image

Above we can see the mountain (outlined in red) and the low profile hills (blue) surrounding a large flat plain. In the center is the Roc's pedestal (just a small black dot). Wander's path in shown in purple. I've had to rotate the map to match the art book image as perspective can be a tricky thing, but from what we see here it matches quite well.

The other thing to note is the soft hued mountains in the background of the art book image, these appear as a washed out green colour, and beyond these are clear skies. The area surrounding the B3 map square is empty, so this is consistent with the art book image. There appears to be only one entrance to B3 (marked in purple) as with most of the colossi we see today, but this path would lead to the flat plain instead of the low profile hills surrounding it. But we can surmise that there was a path leading up to these hills that would have provided a wide view of the plain. So in the final analysis, I am confident that B3 is the best candidate for the Roc's lair. 

Note: This is the only unused colossi that we have any video footage of, just a few precious seconds that was released by Kikizo.com. I wish I could find out where they got this footage as it's not on their website any more. Perhaps if we could find out who originally posted it we could track down some others? 

Early 'Alpha' version of the Bird

In the above image we see an early version of Avion. Notice how the tail is much shorter than the final version of Avion, this is discussed in the art book, 'You were supposed to climb up using its tail, so that’s why it’s so long'. In the final version you use an arrow to gain the attention of Avion, but it seems they played around with other ideas, so the long tail is an unused remnant of an earlier Avion. 

It's not clear when the water was added to Avion's arena, perhaps Wander had to swim to the colossus perched on its column in order to grab hold of its tail? If not, and the area was devoid of water (see H4 map comparisons above), Wander could ride Agro towards the colossus then leap off to grab onto its tail? From the Demo/Preview maps it seems at one point there was no water here.

Check out my NICO development builds video here: 

Sirius
Apart from fighting it while riding on Agro not much is known about this colossus. The art books gives little information except that It was scrapped because it didn't work very well in execution, 'the way to defeat it just wasn't turning out'. But it was obviously a fast moving colossus and if you look carefully there is a clue in the art book about how you fought it.

Rocks meant to be used in the fight with Sirius

This picture shows the Stonehenge type rocks we see at G7 in the game but with different surroundings. The caption under it reads 'Rocks meant to be used in the fight with Sirius', so perhaps you had it chase you between the rocks, Agro & Wander make it through the tight space but Sirius gets stuck! You dismount and attack it's weak point (wherever that is?) This also raises the question did Sirius exist at G7 where the Stonehenge rocks now stand? Or were they in some other location? There's no way to be sure, but at least the Stonehenge rocks are still in the game, recycled from a beta colossus ; )

Stonehenge monument at G7 in the game

Sirius stuck between Stonehenge rocks (montage)

Sirius at Stonehenge (montage)

Wander being chased by Sirius (montage)

Here you can see these other stacked rocks next to the stonehenge structure

Here they are again (images from the NICO dvd)

So I went looking for them and found these similar rocks as D5

A screenshot created as a mock-up

Above we see an image that is shown right next to the G7 rock formation shot in the art book. It looks similar to the G7 rocks image, perhaps this is Wander resting against them with Agro standing attentive nearby? So the questions is: did Sirius exist at G7 where we see the stonehenge structure in the game today, or did it exist as D5 where we see some similar stacked stones? There's no way to tell but my guess is that G7 is the more likely location.

Resembles an armored pig

In hot pursuit of Wander
Sketches of Sirius from the art book

nto/sz_hn_sirius_hifu07_f.nto

And here's an actual texture from Sirius! Team Ico didn't completely delete Sirius from the code it seems, there are a few animations left and this one texture (found by HyperSNES). If the model still existed I could watch those animations, but sadly it's doesn't. 

Update: I used another colossus model (Celosia #11) to view the animations, but all it did was walk backward three steps. So at least we know for sure that at one time Sirius walked backwards, perhaps it was afraid of something or this was how it removed itself from the Stonehenge rocks?

See my updated 'Beta colossi ~ recap & update' video here: 
https://youtu.be/5Do_0aWpYeo

The Spider
The SotC wiki names this one Aberth which is Welsh for 'Sacrifice' (another made up name). The only images we have of this colossus are three found in the art book. It had 6 legs (so not technically a spider which has 8 legs), each with a vulnerable point which was like a metal blade, its main weak spot was on its body high above you. You had to ride around on Agro and swipe at each leg with your sword. Once each leg was hit, it would fall to the ground giving you access to its weak spot. You then ran up to its body and jumped into its mouth, which was slack jawed at the time. Presumably you would get a couple of sword stabs in before it got back up again, so you would have to mount Agro and start the process again (Note: this swiping action is still present in the OPM and PSU demos, you can swipe sideways while sitting or standing on Agro). It is also stated that it could kill Wander in one hit, presumably with one enormous stamp of its legs, this can happen today if you accidentally run under the foot of a colossus! For instance Valus or Phaedra.

It was removed from the game as it turned out to be too difficult to hit the legs from the horse, so Wander would have to dismount and hit each leg from the ground. According to the art book, 'it was defeated by leading it from water to land', so it must have lived near the ocean or a lake. 

Lived near the bridge but where was the water?


'Attacking it's legs destroyed its posture'

The cliffs in this shot look a lot like the beta cliffs found in the Preview version of the game at G0. They appear to be on the coast so my idea is that this is where the Spider lived. It's right next to the bridge and would have been on the coast, a sandy beach leading up to the cliffs. However, you will notice in the above image that the bridge support is facing South, in the final version the bridge supports always have the 'curved' edge facing North. This means the Spider was stomping around on the 'West' side of the bridge but the G0 cliffs in the Preview version are found at the East side of the bridge.

Spider lived on the West side of the bridge

Above we can see where the Spider lived as shown in the art book image (red X). The southern cliffs were once textured like the inset image and the Entrance temple was not present at this point. You can see how weird the Entrance temple looks, floating above the bridge like this! I made this image using the final version of the game (via the SotC viewer). It seems clear to me that the Entrance temple was added later (after the Spider colossus was removed), leaving the low res bridge as a remnant of what once existed there.This is confirmed by the early game maps which don't show the Entrance temple.

G0 beta cliffs from the Preview version with Spider arena cliffs (inset)

Here we can see the similarity of the G0 beta cliffs to the Spider's arena. A bridge support can be seen in the background so the cliffs were much closer to the bridge, however, the model has been cut along the red line so there was more of it at one time and it would have extended further west towards and beyond the bridge. It's like this part of the model was chopped out leaving what we see in the Preview version of the game. But as mentioned above, the bridge support is facing South, so the Spider obviously lived on the 'West' side of the beach (which has now been removed). Why they left the East side of the beach in the Preview version is a mystery, among many other mysteries that only the developers at Team Ico can answer.

Main bridge behind the entrance at F0 with textures turned off

In the game the main bridge extends beyond the entrance, no other model does this, so if a structure goes into a mountain it will only extend beyond it a couple of feet, for example, the front gate at Avion's arena extends just a couple of feet beyond the cliff wall, I have moved Wander behind the cliffs to make sure, but here it extends way out into the next quadrant. So I have surmised that this extension is a left over from the Spider battle. Perhaps once there was an ocean or lake here on the shores of the sandy beach where the Spider lived.

'The top of the Spider's head'

'Wander's garments were originally light blue'


Here's another image of the Spider (source unknown). It's a different design to the art book images as it has sharp spikes around its feet and giant feelers reaching out for Wander. There's also no evidence of its horned mouth on the underside of it's body, however this may be obscured in shadow.

According to Ueda, 'At the first public debut of Shadow of the Colossus, several Colossi were displayed in material distributed to the press. The bird-type Colossus and spider-type Colossus were nearly completed. The Spider was meant to be defeated by slashing it with your sword while riding Agro, but that would have required us to put in a special motion just to battle that Colossus, so I didn’t think it was very elegant. However, the idea for defeating that one was resurrected in the Turtle (the 9th Colossus).

The problem with Ueda's statement above 'but that would have required us to put in a special motion just to battle that Colossus' is that they 'did' put this special motion into the game! The sword swiping animation still exists in the OPM and PSU demos and serves no purpose when fighting the first colossus (the only colossus you can fight in the demos). I have even taken Agro up into the 1st colossi's arena in the OPM demo to see if anything happens by using the 'sword swipe' motion but it had no effect.

Here's my rendition of what the Spider may have looked like


This early image from the art book shows the Entrance temple with columns on either side of the central passage, but it also features an early health and grip HUD which suggests that this was once a playable area. Although the weapons icon is missing here? Only the grip and health parts of the HUD are visible... so what does this mean? Wander would have had to climb up the temple, then makes his way along the vast length of the stone bridge until he arrived at the the Entrance temple. From there he could pass through the Entrance temple and move on to the F0 quadrant.

Is this Wander standing behind the tree in this image?

Retouched montage of the art book image


I have speculated that the strong gust of wind that prevents Wander from leaving the the game at the Entrance temple we see today was added later when they decided to removed the Spider colossus. It was a 'quick fix' that sealed off the F0 quadrant, they deleted the lands and the Spider leaving only a low res version of the stone bridge as a remnant of what once existed.

Fixed and no-fixed clouds intersect above G0

When a colossi dies a beam of light shoots up into the sky dispersing the clouds above its arena. So by examining the clouds that appear on the world map we can see where the discarded colossi might have lived. The green clouds are the 'fixed' clouds we see in the final versions of the game (the NTSC & PAL versions). The red clouds are from the demo games and the pre-release (preview) world maps. When I overlay both sets of clouds onto the world map we can see where they intersect, which indicates where there might have been unused colossi lairs. Above we see the clouds intersect above G0, so this might be part of the Spider's lair?

See 'Maps & Clouds' video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_y5B0HtXac

The problem with this idea is that the three Spider images we see in the art book show the  Spider on the west side of the bridge (in F0) and it seems unlikely that the Spider could have crossed through the bridge into G0. So this is another mystery. Did the Spider live in F0 or G0? Or perhaps in another location? All we know is that it lived on the west side of the bridge somewhere. It may have been out beyond the Entrance temple, or perhaps further south in the forbidden lands. 

Or perhaps it was in another location that was deleted from the map. In a recent interview with Fumito Udea by Daniel Robson for Edge Online Magazine Ueda stated 'The map in the game is designed to house 16 colossi. In other words, because the placement of those 16 colossi determined the shape of the map, it would be a completely different map if we'd included all 24. The intention was to choose the 16 best colossi and focus on making those ones even better. I think we were halfway through production when we decided to reduce their number'

And as stated above at the start of this post we have more evidence of the reduced map, 'We started out by creating the colossi arenas, then figuring out where in the expansive field they would be placed. Since we started out with 24 Colossi, it was pretty huge. The number of Colossi was ultimately reduced to 16, however, and the field was reduced a bit to its present form'.

I think the quote 'The field was reduced a bit' is an understatement! They say 'it was pretty huge' so we can imagine a much larger map than what we see today, perhaps containing more than 16 colossi, maybe not 24 (as some were replaced with others), but definitely a larger, more comprehensive map than we see today. Note: As far as we can tell from the evidence there was never a 'different' map, it was the same map we see in the game today, just with more map squares used to house colossi.

The Worm
The SotC/Team Ico wiki names this one Dionin and says that it was the 'only Colossus ever to be triggered by defeating another Colossus in the same location' this is complete fiction! A user named Stakestone made all this up, including the name. He even went so far as to write Dormin's introduction to the Worm: 'Thy should search for the nightmares of mortals, the darkness knows no mercy or regret, the writhing horror waits to devour thy soul in the hellish dark'.

The Colossus was removed from the game for being too powerful for the player and requiring a huge arena to be able to dodge its attacks (note: even this sentence is unconfirmed - from what I can gather it was originally posted on the Team Ico Gamers blog, but until I have solid confirmation of this we must consider this as speculation). Its weak spot was inside the bulb of its head.

B2 map square extending into C2

If the Worm's arena was once much larger, we can imagine it extending over two map squares as in the above image. We know that in the final version each colossus only ever occupies 1 map square, but perhaps in development some needed more space? This also appears to be the case with the Devil and the Phoenix. If you visit B2 in the Preview version you can see it's not very big, in fact it looks like just the end of an arena, the rest has been chopped off leaving a clean line and nothing to the East. So perhaps this was another reason why these colossi were deleted, they required too much space and the devs ended up settling for the 1 colossi = 1 map square rule.

The best evidence I have at this time is B2, based on the beach like cliffs which match the art book image of the Worm and the fact that B2 is right next to Cenobia's arena (C2) which was the last colossus to be added to the game. We can confidently say this as in all early maps found in the various versions (including the demos) C2 (#14's lair) is always missing, but all the other 15 colossi are still present.

Early maps show an empty C2 square

B2 map square showing a sandy beach like area with cliffs

Speculation: We can imagine Wander arriving at the desert arena. Wander would ride Agro across the desert until suddenly the Worm would make its appearance. It would rise out of the sand and make its way towards Wander, perhaps at a good speed as Dirge (#10) does today. If it caught up to you, you would be thrown off the horse and injured, just like with Dirge. It would then dive down into the sand and disappear. Wander would have to use his sword to pinpoint its location (the way we do today when Phalanx is under the sand). As soon as it reappeared Wander would charge to its position on Agro, leap off and grab on! Climb up its fur covered, snake like body, then jump into its mouth (from the below image this may have required a backwards jump). Once inside its mouth, you would only have a short time to stab its weak spot (sigil) before being unceremoniously spat out onto the sand (the same way you are kicked off Phalanx when it dives head first into the sand). Rinse and repeat a couple of times and the Worm would die in a dramatic cut scene!

Note: the cliffs look to be far away in the distance

'The flower bulb-like section was its weak point'

Photoshop montage of the Worm attacking Wander at B2

And below is the statue texture of the Worm that is still in the game code today. You can get a sense of what it looked like from this poor quality image which reveals its circular mouth and seven mandibles. The three worm/snake type statues in the Shrine of Worship look like this, just with different heads.

hn_sz_stone_worm_snake_04f.nto

boss_worm.nto

load_boss_worm.nto

Above are two textures of the Worm that are still in the game code, one which seems to be for the Worm itself and the other which appears to be a loading screen for the Worm, or perhaps part of the cut scene which introduces the Worm? Again, it's hard to piece together any coherent details about how these textures were used as we have so little to work with. What might be more likely is that the 'boss_worm' texture relates to the black streamers that pass through Wander's body each time he slays a colossus, as they are 'worm' like and the texture appears to resemble the black streamers or tendrils? This also may be true for the 'load_boss_worm' textures as it has that same colour pallet i.e. dark with a lighter outer edge. So they may have nothing to do with the discarded colossus but rather they are textures for the black tendrils instead.

These textures are mentioned in a Game Trailers Pop Fiction video, 'Is there a 17th Colossus?' Video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wjd1_sM3ULs

Note: Micheal Damiani from Gametrailers contacted me before creating this video, we exchanged lengthy emails about the detailed lore of the game, I provided him with all I knew about the myths of a supposed '17th colossus' and much more. Michael informed me about the problems faced when trying to gather information from Japanese game developers: Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to get Japanese developers on the record about anything regarding unused in their games or even the specifics of the game’s development. 

The fact that Ueda shared as much as he did is pretty cool. However, from the EDGE interview, it’s apparent he does not want people combing through the code for his “work of art” in order to get more insight. Many Japanese developers have an adversity to the use of hacking/cheat codes to probe the game’s inner workings, and always shy away from discussing findings made in that fashion. 

I’ve encountered it all too often. So sadly, I feel that Ueda will not speak further on the matter, and his team (and former colleagues) probably have strict instruction to not divulge details without Ueda’s consent. I encountered this with the Sonic 3 stuff I was digging into, as well as anything related to any Nintendo or Square Enix game we’ve covered on the show. 

Square Enix outright has a policy to decline interview requests regarding retro titles (interviews now can only be setup on the basis that it’s for a current or upcoming product). Nintendo routinely declines to comment on anything that isn’t related to a current or upcoming product, too. 

With anything Team ICO, it’s hard to get access now especially after all the fuss regarding The Last Guardian. EDGE is probably one of a handful of places that could score such an interview, so that’s great they got access to Ueda. Sadly, Western developers are more open to discussing the inner workings of their games, especially about mysteries, glitches, and unused content.

Worm at B2 - the best evidence we have for the Worm's location

The Monkey
This Colossus is fought inside a cave environment that has stalactites. It can grab them and climb around the ceiling. In some depictions (from the art book images), the Colossus is able to grab them with all four limbs, others only two. The Colossus would attack by dropping on top of you from the ceiling when you walked below it (Note: This is not mentioned in the art book so I have doubts about the way it attacked Wander). All we know for sure is 'It hung from the ceiling, and you'd defeat it by dropping it to the floor'. 

Speculation: We can imagine Wander entering the cave, the cut scene would play out and the Monkey would dart around the ceiling from stalactite to stalactite like a colossal Tarzan! You would have to shoot its arms (or its legs) with your arrows (much like we do with #8 today) until it fell to the cave floor. 

Once you reach its unconscious bulk, you would climb up and stab at its weak point, perhaps there was more than one? It would then awaken and throw you off and you would have to repeat the process. I think it must have been a fast colossus as it would have to catch up to Wander easily in order to fall down on him. Alternatively, it may have had a ranged attack (as #8 does) and this would knock Wander down temporarily, allowing the Monkey to fall onto Wander. We can only assume that being hit by the Monkey would injure Wander and not kill him, so he would have time to recover and escape its clutches.

Note: Could this be the colossus that lived at i3 behind the Dam? From the beta map it looks like a closed cavern with entrances on three sides, see map below.

Map of I3 showing possible entrances to the Monkey's lair

For further proof of the Monkey being at i3, I used the co-ordinates shown on the image below. You can see the X, Y, Z values on this image from the art book which features 'A test shot of Wander holding onto the Monkey'. The co-ordinates are: X +0.22, Y -58.66 and Z +94.82. Note: From the translation, the co-ordinates refer to Agro (horse_A), so they reveal a definitive location for Agro during the Monkey battle. So I overlaid a grid onto the i3 map square and marked the position of the co-ordinates (see below), and it seems to match the cave like structure shown on the map quite well.

Monkey position co-ordinates at i3 (300m x 300m)

However, the co-ordinates fit much better when overlaid on #10's cave at B4 (almost in the centre), so perhaps the Monkey was planned to exist at B4? The problem with this is the Z value (the elevation). At i2 (the Dam) the elevation is very close to the the co-ordinates revealed in the art book image (+92.82), Dirge's cave is at an elevation of -8, way too low to be from the art book image.

Position works equally well at B4, #10's cave (apart from the elevation)

Test shot of the Monkey - translated by Glitterberri (cleaned up in Photshop)

You can see above that this colossus is huge! I mean look at how small Wander is compared to its colossal bulk. I would compare its size to that of Quadratus (#2) and Wander seems to be climbing just above its central waistline. It seems hard to imagine how Wander could survive this massive creature falling down on top of him, he would be crushed in an instant, so perhaps you only had one chance to take out this colossus? If it fell on you, you were dead and would have to start over. If only we could see more images or videos of these discarded colossi!

Update (Jan 2015): Riccardo Sonnino recently made me think again about the i3 map square (you can see his comments at the bottom of this post). His idea is that the area contains a dry lake bed instead of a cave. So instead of a 'raised' cave, what you are seeing is an 'indented' dry lake bed. Also, the features I thought to be 'skylights' in the roof of the cave don't match up with what we see in the game.

Skylights or some other feature?

The problem here is that no other colossi lair has more than one skylight, just one big central hole as you can see at #6, #10 and #8's anti-chamber, although technically this isn't a colossus lair. So if they are not skylights (holes in the cave roof) what are these features?

Only single, large skylights are seen in the game

Comparisons between D3 and i3

Above we can compare these two map squares which both lay on the 3rd row of the map. D3 is #9's lair (Basaran) and it looks very similar to i3 in my opinion. Both have those strange circular features that we know are geysers at D3, but whether there were geysers at i3 is unknown. But it's clear these features are not skylights. So it seems i3 was a flat plain and not a cave after all, what I perceived as a 'raised' cave was in fact a depression.

I once created a height map of the i3 map square using 'World machine'. You can do this in 3D Studio Max and other software packages. It uses the darker areas of the greyscale image to represent the lower areas and the lighter shades to map the higher areas of the image. But it came out looking how I had expected, with a raised cave like shape.

Height map created with World Machine

The only image we have of this enigmatic colossus

Note how it has two strange circular stone circles were its nipples would be xD. Are these the eyes of the colossus or its stone nipples? It may have had other stone circles surrounding its torso that aided Wander in his ascent. Again, we have so little information to go on, only this one low res image (about the size of a postage stamp in the art book).
Other designs of the Monkey from the art book

Montage of what I once thought the Monkey's lair might have looked like (at i3)

Photoshop montage of the Monkey at Dirge's cave (B4)

Update March 2015: As i3 looks like D3 we can imagine it as a desolate flat plain, much like Basaran's lair is today, but with WWWArea's help I managed to find a texture in the game code  'sz_kame_koura_i3', this is the only texture with 'i3' as part of the title and the texture belongs to Basaran (#9). So this seems to suggest that the Turtle colossus once lived at i3, which makes sense when you examine the early builds of the Turtle, it lived on a lifeless, grey flat plain.

Early build of the Turtle colossus (which evolved into Basaran)

So it makes sense that when the removed the Phoenix from D3 they replaced it with the Turtle, changing its location from i3 to D3. So where does that leave the Monkey? There doesn't appear to be any map square that suits this colossus, it may have never passed the testing stage which might explain why the only two images we have of the Monkey in the art book show it on a black background. 

Check out my old beta Monkey speculations here:

Monkey Size
In my latest video (uploaded 29th April 2015) I have estimated the size of the Monkey based on Wander's height.

Monkey size compared to Valus (#1) and Wander

The Griffin
The SotC wiki names this one Kyos (a fictional name), the battle was fought in a similar way to how you fight Dirge. It's a battle that focuses around riding Agro, and using him to get onto the Colossus. However, it took a while to finally get onto the Colossus, and apparently it was pretty easy to fall off. For this reason, it got frustrating and quickly tedious, as you had to keep repeating a long procedure to get back on the Colossus after falling off, that's why it was scrapped.


The area in this shot is similar to an area of the beta mountains at i7 on the map



Wall like structure at i7 matches the art book image

You can see from the illustrations below that Wander was supposed to strike the structures on its back with his sword (the same as #12 Pelagia), perhaps this changed its direction as it seems like Wander is riding the colossus. The art book says 'You could defeat it by making use if its weakness, fire'. So it seems this idea was recycled and later used with Celosia (#11) but where and how you lit the fire is not stated, but perhaps there was a brazier nearby that you could use to light a torch.


The wings are for decoration


There are no clouds above the i7 quadrant, only a section to the north, so it seems unlikely that a colossus lived here. I based my evidence about the Griffin being at i7 from the strange wall like texture on the east side of i7 as it resembled the wall we see in the art book image. But for all we know, the entire area that the Griffin occupied was removed from the game early in development, so there's no way to really know. It's just pure speculation at this point. See my i7 speculation video here:

Update (Feb 2015): With WWWArea's help I believe I have more evidence the Griffin did indeed live at i7! In fact it was WWWArea who found the evidence a long time ago but just never mentioned it ; ) When you search the hex code for the i7 models you find textures associated with the area. There were three textures linked to i7, these are labelled: lb_dry_ground, sk_sea_dammy and lb_iwahada.

i7 textures revealed in the code

lb_iwahada texture matches the walls of the Griffin's enclosure

So this I think strengthens the argument for the Griffin at i7, of course we still don't know for sure but it's all we have to go on right now. This raises the question, how did you reach the Griffin's lair? Since There only seems to have been one path that would lead there starting East from H6, then over the beach at i5, following the rocky coast around into J5 then South to J6 and J7. From J7 you move West into i7. Seems like a long circuitous route and there's no evidence this was even possible as the cliffs at J6 and J7 are much higher up than the low lying area seen at i7, so how you could even get down there is unknown. 

So it seems more likely that the Griffin was also a test area, explaining why it is out at the edges of the world map. Like the Monkey, these discarded colossi seemed to be in the process of development, not yet fully conceived, but workable in the sense that they could move around in their environments being fully animated.

The Devil
The SotC wiki names this one Pholux (again fictional). It resembles a winged gargoyle and lived in some ruins by the edge of a cliff. It had long arms which it used to climb the stone pillars around the arena, a head with several small projections which fire plasma bolts (like those of #8, #9 and #12), and finally it sports two tiny wings which are unable to lift it off the ground, but are capable of producing strong gusts of wind (again as we see in the battle with Avion in the final release version).

The art book says 'It was an extremely small colossus.You'd defeat it by menacing it with your bow, then drawing closer while hiding in the grass and attacking from behind. I imagined the battle with the Devil to be fierce. You'd hide in the grass and jump on its back'The primary goal of this battle was stealth and deception (re-used in the battle with Phaedra #4). The Colossus had a weak spot on it's back. You had to hide in the various patches of grass and try to attack that weak spot with your bow and arrow.

Lived in an area surrounded by stone columns

Notice these orange coloured structures? Do they look familiar?

Seems to be some steps leading up to a platform behind the Devil

Notice how Wander looks much like he does in the final (retail) version, this tells us that it was quite late in development when they decided to remove the Devil. Ueda has stated that they were about half way through development when they decided to reduce the number of colossi, so we can speculate that at this time Wander was already fully developed.
Art book sketches of the Devil

Update: Riccardo Sonnino has a new theory about where this colossus lived and although there are problems with his idea, there is enough evidence, I think, to pin this one down at H2. He based his theory on the image above which show those orange coloured columns. There's also a small flat stone in the image which appears to match up with what we see today at the orange bricked arch at I2, to the northwest of the Dam.

Orange brick structures found at I2 - northwest of the Dam

The arch

Stone steps lead to the arch

Comparison of the structures found at I2 with the Devil image

You can see in the above image how the stone steps can be seen in both images and I think they match the art book image quite well. The problem is that the orange brick columns in the Devil image have larger bricks and are much shorter than the arch we see today, but if you look closely, you can see a thin sliver of stone connecting the two columns, like a doorway, so this ties in with the arch we see in the game today.

We can guess that at this stage in development the arch bricked structure was also very different, and later was modified to its current form, but I think this is the best evidence so far as to where the Devil lived.

I2/H2/H1 map showing the extended green field

The H2 quadrant was deleted leaving only part of it in I2

If you look carefully at the beta map you can see an outline leading from the northwest corner of i2 into H2 and H1, but here we have a new concern, all the other colossi exist within a single map square, never do we see their arenas spilling out into other squares... so this presents a problem. You can see above that at the west edge of i2 (where the orange brick arch is today) it's just a thin area that is chopped off at its west side where it joined with H2.

Map showing possible location of ruins

In H2 you can see a ridge of mountains to the south of the green field which would be a barrier preventing you from traveling further, so it seems the Devil lived in the Northeast corner of H2, this would be where the ruins, columns and Devil would have existed.

Note: Riccardo Sonnino (Morlun91) and I have been in deep discussions about the cut colossi for months now with over 120 pages of email text between us! We argued back and forth about this or that until we finally settled on the above information as being as close as we can get for now (until some new evidence appears). I put all this new info into a video (in outline) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Do_0aWpYeo

Other Early Colossi Designs
Apart from the 8 discarded colossi, the art book and the NICO dvd reveal how some of the current colossi looked in their early stage of development. For instance the so called 'Turtle Colossus' was very different to what it evolved into (Basaran #9). You can also see how Phalanx evolved from a simple snake like model with appendages into its current form.

 A clinging test shot

The sky effects once differed from today's

 An early shot of the humanoid colossus

A trample attack test shot

An attack motion test shot

Test shot of a colossus peaking into a building

From the above image in the art book we can see that at one time Wander hid under the temple and Valus had to crouch down to search for him, just as we see at #6's arena in the final version (with Barba). So I recreated the image to show what it might have looked like. This proves that at one time the enigmatic temple at #1's area had a purpose after all.

I recreated the image in Photoshop

'Blue vest' version showing the colossus icon


In the above image we can see Agro was part of the battle with Valus. This ties in with some box cover art which also shows Wander riding Agro. The temple in the background is also more defined, or else its textures were lighter. It seems to me that this was the version where Wander had to hide under the temple in order to scale the colossus (probably via jumping onto its hand).

Is it just me or does the temple seem to be in the wrong place here?

NICO dvd image of the first ever colossus! - which it seems Quadratus was based on

Early, crude version of Quadratus from the NICO dvd

A differently patterned model for colossus 8

An early screenshot of Gecko A

Turtle colossus evolved into Basaran (#9)

Turtle colossus shoots bolts of energy - as Basaran does today

Wander losing his balance on the back of the Turtle

Wander climbing the Turtle's tail

It seems at this early stage it was a simple matter for Wander to just jump onto the Turtle's tail and climb up along its grass like back. Presumably, you still had to stab its weak spot located on its head as we do with Basaran in the retail version. So the idea of geysers tipping the colossus over must have come later. Note: If you are very skilled, you can still climb Basaran's tail and get launched up onto its back. You can jump onto the tip of its tail easily enough, but it's the timing that counts. If Wander jumps at just the right time and the tail is lifted up it's possible to be thrown onto Basaran's back. I have never managed to do this, but from a Games F&Q forum post it seems to be possible.
Art book sketches of Celosia (#11)

In the above art book image it reads 'A sketch of a small sized colossus. Due to a lack of density and the tricks to its defeat overlapping with the methods used on other colossi, it was cut in the end'. But from the above image it's clearly Celosia (#11), so how was this colossus cut? Was there yet a third fast moving, bull type colossus that was cut from the game? Perhaps Celosia that was cut, but as the deadline approached and time was running out they decided as the last minute to include it. This would explain why the introduction from Dormin mentions 'An altar overlooks the lake' where no lake exists?

Very early shot of Phalanx - no more than a snake like shape with appendages

Phalanx has red symbols on its wings

Another art book image of the 13th colossus



Later images of Phalanx - this version had a colossi icon in the lower left corner

 An early screenshot of Colossus 16

Another early screenshot of Colossus 16

An early screenshot of Dormin

Above we see a test shot of Dormin, if you look carefully you can also see Wander to the bottom left and Emon and a couple of soldiers in the lower centre. To the lower right is a save stone. There a strange red and white striped box behind Wander and some large white squares floating in the sky above. Note: These white squares are identical to the 'null' void map squares (such as i3) that have nothing in them. When you view these textures using the 'SotC viewer' you see just a flat white square. When you actually visit these places in the game you find one of those weird white cubes in the very center of the map square. Note: There is also something else between the soldiers and the save stone - what could it be? A white tailed lizard perhaps?

Early Build Locations
These images are from the NICO dvd and can give us a sense of what the landscape looked like in the early development of the game.

4 stone towers at south entrance to what is now #10's lair (Dirge)

Low res stone towers at B2

Above we see that a remnant of the towers still exists in the OPM and PSU demos. It was WWWArea who found these just recently, they had been there all along! I have used code to zoom in here so you can see them more clearly although only three of the towers exist in the demos but originally it seemed there were four.

Closeup of the low res B4 tower

I later found another code which let me, for the first time, explore the map 'outside' the 9 demo map squares! This was the first time I had ever seen these areas, usually when I tried move Wander beyond the 9 central (demo) map squares the game would either crash (black screen) or the lands outside would disappear. So it was a great privilege to actually get up close to these deleted towers, even if they were only low res versions!

See video 'Mysteries in the OPM demo (update) here:


Colossal tree is alive and healthy

You can also get a nice view of the colossal tree as it once may have looked in the game. Perhaps in an earlier build it was alive and thriving instead of the spooky dead tree we see in the game today. Yamori_B has speculated that its leaves were burnt off by the Phoenix leaving the burnt husk we see today ; )

See my video of this area here:
















Update: 24-11-13
In the latest edition of Edge magazine (issue #261), there is a new interview with Fumito Ueda by Daniel Robson. I was in contact with Daniel before the interview so I asked him to sneak in a few questions... Daniel allowed me to ask three questions which were:

1) Where were the arenas of the 8 discarded colossi located on the world map?
2) What was the purpose of the Dam like structure at i2 on the world map?
3) Was it once possible to climb to the very top of the Shrine of Worship?

But Daniel only ended up asking one question and this was Ueda's reply.

On the topic of Shadow of the Colossus, where on its map had you planned to place the eight colossi that were cut from the game?
The map in the game is designed to house 16 colossi. In other words, because the placement of those 16 colossi determined the shape of the map, it would be a completely different map if we'd included all 24. The intention was to choose the 16 best colossi and focus on making those ones even better. I think we were halfway through production when we decided to reduce their number. Oh, there's certainly leftover test data and half-edited areas, but it's a bit like the Minus World in Super Mario Bros: I think it holds more romantic appeal if you don't know the specifics.

So in other words, Ueda prefers not to say much about this topic and would rather leave it up to the players to decide what the world map once looked like 'it holds more romantic appeal if you don't know the specifics'. So we may never know where the 8 discarded colossi were originally planned to be, as those areas of the map don't exist in the game anymore, or if they do we can only speculate on where they are.

Daniel also asked Ueda about the Dam (off the record) that is it didn't appear in the article, he asked how he felt about fans being so passionate that they hack the game to find stuff like that, but he simply replied, "That comes from an illegal source, so no comment". In other words it's clear Ueda doesn't like the idea of players hacking into his beloved creation... this bodes badly for any future answers to these sort of questions.

41 comments:

  1. SO GOOD POOOOOST!! I LOVE YOUR BLOG NOMAD!!

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  2. Great blog. I think that you, and anyone else who loves SotC, should think about playing Panzer Dragoon Zwei. It has a tremendously strong influence on SotC. The language used in SotC is taken from Zwei, but that's just the beginning. The art direction and feeling evoked by the games is very similar.

    I mention it here because that monkey strongly puts me in mind of one of the bosses from Zwei. All of Zwei's bosses are gigantic of course. Go to the end of this video for a look at it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbNqRC

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  3. I would apreciate to battle with Dionin,it is powerful,and impressive.

    Hamish:I saw 10 seconds of this game and got interested,now I'm downloading the entire saga XD

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    1. Yeah i would love to fight Dionin a.k.a worm because he looks epic and he is HUGE best colossi ever in my opinion number 1 throphy goes to worm

      Delete
  4. It's just me,or the fact of the remains of a beta stage laying there to anyone see is exciting? xD
    Well,I still believe that Sirius would be a pretty good challenge in the game,and I would certainly replace Celosia with it,if I could.

    Seeing the G0 cliffs and the spider picture now,yeah,those cliffs may be just an area created for tests =/

    You can play the animations using Celosia's model,and it's model will not look so bad by playing another colossus's animation.(I guess their skeletons were similar,just like Celosia and Cenobia)

    dormin leo_A.nmo sirius_A_back_start.anb sirius_A_back.anb sirius_A_back_end.anb

    Just three [very]short and simple animations.
    Well,it's better than nothing I think.

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  5. I would like to fight Adam Flam, it apears to be very strong :D

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    Replies
    1. yeah he seems to be a cool colossi i would be cool too get him in a lake and climb on him and it would be a perfect boss

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  6. Incredible post! I never new about half of these unused colossi. But now I'm wondering how and where you got the complete picture of the dam that you use as a background here. I've never seen it in this much detail.

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  7. Thanks ; ) Yeah, I made that background image using screen captures from the game - so it's just an imaginative montage I came up with...

    I made a video showing all the layers involved:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA7Bl2AjjFU&list=PLD2FBF0A8D65D4E9B&index=14&feature=plpp_video

    I wish there was more info about the beta colossus, but all we have are a few notes from the art book that Glitterberri translated.

    http://www.glitterberri.com/shadow-of-the-colossus/

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    Replies
    1. hmm I wonder if you could convince team ICO to make a stand alone expansion with the deleted colossi now since ps4 and xbox one is out

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. The 12th image used in the Early Build Locations section is a normal (final version)place as far as i know.
    Isn't it?
    5e...

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  10. Replies
    1. I am glad to see I am not the only fan : )

      Delete
  11. Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the insign you bring to the topic, awesome stuff!



    Flame cut steel

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  12. Very Impressive. Great Images and Very Promising Proofs. I think Monkey, Phoenix, Spider, and Devil would make a good challenge even for the greatest of gamers.

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  13. The game would only be beaster if the Phonenix and the Spider (maybe the Monkey) were on it :(

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  14. Seeing all these screenshots shows that they actually had a finished build of the game, or were at least close to finishing it, makes me wonder if there's still a copy of it floating around the Sony Computer Entertainment HQ that the employees could/would play for fun.
    But if there isn't a copy, I really wonder what everyone on the Dev team were thinking when Fumito Ueda made them delete it all, haha

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  15. Nomad or any one ask Team ICO if they can make a stand alone expansion with the unused colossi.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Also i know you guys love spider and Pheonex and devil were still here but i would like to see worm in the game and also maybe monkey or Sirius i also think mabey Griffin could be ok but i would probably get killed.

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  17. nomad you are a good man keep up the good work god bless you

    ReplyDelete
  18. i hate Ueda WE ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS NOT RIDDLES THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE WHAT SO EVER!!! UGH DOES HE UNDERSTAND THAT HES MAKING PEOPLE MAD AND SOON HE WILL LOOSE MONEY AND FANS AND FOLLOWERS AND HIS COMPANY WILL BE NOTHING BUT A MEMORY IN THE FUTURE HE IS ALREADY HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE LAST GUARDIAN IF HE WANTS TO BE FAMOUS THAN HE NEEDS TO ANSWER!!!!!!

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  19. I consider the stuff about Monkey your main theory. It's a shame I3 is void when I2 has the dam and it's so close... Anyway if we consider that space a cave your theory is solid, you even found a path from the dam's cave to that! But what if it isn't?

    Talking about your post I don't know if the height coordinates are a proof since the background of the screenshot is black and they might have been testing the colossus simply in the thin air above the ground and not inside his lair.
    Also let's remember that is an unfinished area as you know
    (http://imageshack.com/f/30/mapcomparison.gif) and it doesn't resemble the other examples of caves from above (Dirge and Barba where the light holes are very clear), but it reminds me more of a depression, like Basaran's bedlake or demo map Avion's empty lake (look at it!).
    Now notice the dam is useless without a lake, so could that be another, yet to fill, bedlake? With the path beside which leads to the Dam and maybe Devil's cliff (wild speculation here) ?
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cY9u-_jpR2s/Ti61_6RBmTI/AAAAAAAAAIc/xEga7faAsv0/s640/Dam+map2.jpg

    I don't know but the feeling that Monkey's situation is the same as Phoenix and Worm is still strong in me. He either lost his arena to Dirge or he never had one in the first place (which would explain the black background and the impressive height 92 metres, too much for the roof of a cave in the game, too far away from the player).

    I don't know but maybe the last experiment would be if you discover how they made the map.
    I mean starting from the 3d model which filters did they use to make it look like a painting? This way you could finally discover, with a bit of comparisons, how did it look like as a 3d model.

    I'd love to know your opinion on this.

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  20. You're right of course - I have no proof about anything, all I have is the map and the official artbook to go on. I agree I3 does look a bit like #9's area, almost the same, perhaps this was also a place with geysers or something similar? Perhaps it is lake, it would make more sense to have a lake next to a dam rather than a cave. It's weird but when I look at I3 it looks like it's sticking up above ground, but at the same time I also see a depression...

    As to the Monkey test shot perhaps the background is black because it's dark inside the cave? The artbook says it lived in a cave with stalactites, you'll notice in the top right corner, part of a white circle (could this be a hole in the cave?) I do think Dirge's cave is a likely candidate for the Monkey at once point as it still has what look like stalactites, even if they are rounded off now. If it wasn't for the altitude I would be convinced.

    Remember Udea said if they had included all 24 colossi it would have been a completely different map, so there's no way to know which colossus went where beforehand... all we have is speculation.

    I once used 'World Machine' to try and render I3 as a 3D object and this is how it came out:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nomadcolossus/16151962962/

    Again, it doesn't really prove anything as World Machine just uses light and dark areas to create a height map, but it looks more like a cave in this case ; ) I just wish we had more to go on, I've never had any luck in contacting anyone from Team Ico and I think they would forbid any info being released to some random fan like me. We will just have to keep digging and try to work it out ourselves.

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    Replies
    1. PART 1:
      I get you. Ueda is really all about the poetry and the art, people don't even realize how much.

      To the point he is a bit crazy: one of the biggest worlds on ps2 and NO secrets; highest technical achievement and only the colossi to try it out. He was against the life bar and he is mad at people hacking in his work of art! They probably had to tie him to include the time-attack mode, the hard-mode and the bonuses.

      The only real criticisim to this game in my opinion is that you could actually add something more without breaking the charm. It's one of the very few pure adventure games and it must not become a gdr, but Ueda was even scared for it to become too much of a videogame; you know with quests and collectibles.
      The lore is mostly speculation even when we talk about Dormin and Emon but it doesn't exist at all about the forbidden land. Temples and stuff are there to give you a feeling of what is that place but there are also no clues of when someone ever lived in the FL, IF humans actually lived there. It would have been nice to at least give us a lore. But all he wanted was emotion, feeling and experience, not a vg.

      Sorry for the rant but I have a point and there it is.
      Reading about Ueda made me realize we have to change our way of thinking in the research.
      He says the map would have been much different with the 24 colossi and they discarded 8 of them halfway through.

      The examples of Worm and Phoenix (as I wrote on the youtube comment) made me think the areas for the extra colossi never existed. Sirius was probably the last one to be erased and he lived in an still existing area, while Griffin never made it out the beta arena over the sea.
      Roc and Devil seems to stay in completed zones and since the beta areas you found are all low res they probably also lived inside the existing map, but this changed so much you can't find their liar anymore. Maybe you found Roc's mountain and they only made it more realistic looking during the development while also erasing the rest of Roc's arena.


      The unused colossi don't even look greenish/turquoise like the early versions of the used colossi, so Imho they were developed soon enough, lost their place to the others or were scrapped out before they had an arena and the development kept going on a long way without them in mind, that's why I7 is the only and closest thing you found to a beta arena.

      It's sad but it connects to my second point: beta mountains are mostly not related to the previous existing larger worldmap.

      CONTINUE...

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    2. I really liked your comment. Your probably right about the team having to tie Ueda to include the time attack mode and extras! Jajaja
      But seriously I think he's not that crazy, he has a very artistic vision of what videogames should be and reading your comment made me realize that what he was trying to do with this game (and did accomplish) was to create not a game but rather an experience... A minimalistic experience. If you look at it that way you can see why health bars, time attack modes and all the extras would make the game look more like a videogame!
      I'd wish more game developers where like Mr. Ueda or Hideo Kojima. Is not about the game. It's about the player's experience :)

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  21. PART 2:
    You never pointed out how the beta areas don't represent at all the no-cloud map; instead it's always the same stuff: random cliffs, low res mountains and blue triangles.
    It's more like those were the areas they declared as ultimate borders and then started to work inside of it. I think it makes sense, it would explain why there is no water in Spider's arena even if the description states so, because it was randomly placed there in a spot where they were yet to create the entrance and there were only the standard border-of-the-world cliffs!

    I mean it's strange there is no sign of an extended part of the world compatible with the map, are you sure the areas covered by clouds are not just a mere work of art but they represent old areas? I mean they really erased them until the smallest polygon but they forgot about miles of low res mountains and Griffin's testing area??! o.O

    Let's notice that if the playable area of SotC was bordered by the sea on all sides except for the entrance it would have looked like a rectangular peninsula, an hallway to Malus. But by adding the mountains and cloud covered areas as a decoration we know it's the most southern corner of a bigger continent. There is no proof those areas ever existed or, if they existed because they took a pic, had any use in the gameplay... It's also noticeable there is no visible path to the west in the drawn map.

    On the other hand there is the Dam... (which in fact is only visible in the other world, am I wrong? The opening sequence world). The dam, and a few mountains at north-east, are the only scrapped out area which lines up with the drawing and are proof of a bigger map, correct me if I'm wrong. It raises more question than anything else... like maybe it was a reference to Ico, given the red brick structures on the cliff, and maybe it was kept out of the game because they didn't like the idea...

    ANYWAY my point is it seems like they always used this world to work on stuff (as proven by Griffin and other colossi) and the beta cliffs and mountains are meaningless. If there ever was an extended map it is that east area, but I'm thinking more of Roc and Devil here than Monkey. The big question is why they cleaned that up so accurately, except for the dam, while there are miles of low res and blue land?

    I'm sorry if I'm bothering you but I wanna see if we go somewhere with a bit of reasoning :)

    P.S.: About Monkey's altitude notice that in the cloudless drawn map Dirge's cave has no rooftop ;) It's also compatible in the timeline of development because in that map there is no entrance and Spider's was tested out before the entrance was made and roughly around the same time of the other colossi. Monkey included.

    P.P.S.: Why do you think there is another world map which appears during the opening sequence? Wasn't it easier just to put a file video as the intro to save memory? Isn't that a waste of resources? The same goes for Emon's cutscene. It's pure gold for us because it's the closest thing to the cloudless map but (it even misses G2 forest and has the old Phaedra location!) but it's dumb it is there, isn't it?

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  22. I'm not sure what you mean about 'low res mountains'? All the beta mountains (as we call them) are high res, and exist out in the H and J columns of the world map.

    Check out these two videos as they show these lands in more detail:

    Beta mountains landscapes part 1:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYuWtDvBCxI

    Beta mountains landscapes part 2:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSq9XWTpjXQ

    These lands match up exactly with the world map once the clouds are removed, which you can only see in the demos and the Pre-release (Preview) versions of the game (not in the final NTSC and PAL versions) which have clouds covering these Eastern areas.

    But you're right, there is no visible path to these Eastern lands, but the H8 square still has collision detection (Wander can run around there) and this joins to the start of the Eastern lands (at I8). So who knows? Perhaps H8 once had a path that led from the current 'playable' lands that led out East to these beta mountains (via H8).

    Note: There is also a solid square at D8 which may have also led somewhere, otherwise why is it still solid? In D8 is an invisible mountain that you can still climb, the collisions are still there but the textures have been deleted. So this proves there was once a solid island there. It may have been an island or it may be a leftover from an expanded peninsula (when the lands were much larger).

    As to the opening cut scene map, it's virtually identical to the game map except for a few differences. They probably made the cut scene quite early in development. Note: You can't actually see a map in the cut scene, I have just used what's in the code to assemble the maps in Photoshop. These map squares are leftovers from earlier development and differ to the current 'game' world map. But unless you took the time (like I did) to actually search through the code and create these maps, no one would ever have seen them.

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    1. Oh it's that since those mountains and cliffs have a copy&paste of the same small square of mountain textures on I considered them low res.
      Yes, I noticed that beta mountains on the north-east and east still lines up to the old drawn map, so they erased with a passion from I1 to I6 but left stuff at I0 and I7-8 and the whole J line...
      Anyway on the western side the beta cliffs are very different from how the drawn map looks like or am I wrong?

      "These lands match up exactly with the world map once the clouds are removed, WHICH you can only see in the demos and the Pre-release (Preview) versions of the game"
      Are you referring to the drawn map or the mountains?


      Your work seems extremely complex and I thank you for your dedication!

      The logical explanation is that the eastern lands were dropped so early they only worked on a part of it and the paths were yet to be made. The dam remains the bigger mystery, it seems almost ready to use. I can't remember in which world the dam appears. Demos? Opening?
      Also do you think all those shots on the NICO dvd can give us any hint about how the eastern map looked like before it was erased? Because they seem from such an old version they are not of any help.

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  23. All the leftover lands to the East, North and West are high res but have no collision detection. They all match the drawn map exactly. See this map I made:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nomadcolossus/12432462125/

    This is a montage using the retail versions and the Preview version. The Preview version had extra beta lands than the retail versions, such as I6 and G0 for example. But apart from the Dam (I2), G0, B1 and B2 they all have the same texture which is what the models looked like before they added refinements, like lighting, shadows and other textures.

    Here's proof:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nomadcolossus/15553575273/

    You can see on the left a snapshot taken from an early version of the intro cut scene, the cliff wall still has that greenish white texture we see at the beta mountains, but on the right is the current version with the cliffs in their finished state. This tells me that all the lands were once this greenish white texture, it's like a base texture that the game developers build upon to create the lands.

    And yes, Ueda said they were about half way through production when they decided to reduce the map, so they may have removed areas and done a lot of remodelling, but these lands were left were they were unfinished.

    The Dam is in all versions of the game (except the demos). It's always at I2 exactly the same in all versions, be it Preview, NTSC, PAL etc. I'm sure it's in the PS3 version as well, there's just no way to get to it.

    Sadly, the NICO dvd doesn't show any areas outside the regular playable game area. There are early sketches of some arenas but only for the final 16 colossi. Only the official art book mentions the discarded colossi, and there is nothing about the discarded lands (anywhere). Only fan speculation.

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    1. I see now. That's so cool.
      So it's safe to say the most "juicy" parts, the areas which were cut away when the game was shrunk, were H and I columns and the dam is the only surviving part. Of course you already know this stuff, this is just me trying to build an imaginary map on how they created the game. A dev diary would be useful to see what they did step by step but t's the kind of things they are super tight about...
      I hope that after The Last Guardian, when Ueda will leave Sony definitely, Team Ico would leak something to the fans... vague hopes...

      About the greenish texture; those are the reason I think the mountain you found may been Roc's mountain... but they might have reused the model. On the other hand it makes probable I7 being Griffin's test area, having now a slightly better texture than the one you see in the artbook.
      I had hoped Nico DVD was about very old stuff but probably they cut out the part which are in the game no more.

      Anyway thanks for your patience in answering me, it's always so much fun to search for stuff in this game and to elaborate theories. Talking about that, whenever you have time please tell me what do you think about what I wrote under the previous wanderers post ;)

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  24. Note: I updated this blog post with your ideas on I3. I'm still more convinced of a cave at I3, but you've raised enough doubt in my mind to talk about both ideas ; ) So I thank you, perhaps you are right? Sadly we will never be able to say for certain until some one from the development team actually breaks their silence.

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    1. It's awesome you are saying that because actually thanks to all your posts, videos and your answer I came up with a detailed theory about how those eastern lands might have looked like.
      It will take me some time to put everything down but if you wanna hear about it I'll be on it pretty soon.

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  26. I think you might be wrong about the spider's position on the map, as being on the west side of the bridge would not prevent its columns from curving back towards the camera and viewer. Meaning, Wander has to instead be looking towards the temple instead for them to curve away from it, with another large cliff formation somewhere in between.

    As all we know, there aren't any cliffs that close to the bridge on that side in the final version, and then there's a drop and some bridges around there with a few rock formations. My opinion is that perhaps the columns faced a different direction in the build the spider existed. Either that or it existed somewhere else near the bridge.

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    1. Yes, I see but it's the only possible position for the colossus to be if the bridge is facing this way. The cliffs you mention are the back side of the Entrance temple cliffs when Wander is facing towards the Shrine of Worship, but there were other cliffs in the area as well (the beach type cliffs).

      I made a diagram to explain this better:
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/nomadcolossus/15849351583/

      Since there is nothing behind the Entrance today we have to assume that the back of the Entrance temple cliffs were made of the same beach like cliffs and as it says in the art book 'it was defeated by leading it from water to land' we can also assume there was water here somewhere, a lake or the shore of the sea? But how Wander reached this area is a mystery as the Entrance temple is high above... perhaps there was a path leading through the cliffs that was removed?

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  27. I've just been replaying SotC after reading your post and I had a thought regarding the myth about people thinking they saw Roc/Avus, especially in the south.

    When I was travelling around the south and also when approaching the small forest at E5, several times I've thought I saw a large shadow, possibly Colossus shaped, pass by. On further analysis and runs through the areas it became apparent it was simply a glitch in the render distance causing a shadow like shape which appears to move as the game renders.

    This also happened a few times out in the open areas after using the sword to get directions. Upon releasing Circle what appeared to be a dark shadow would pass overhead which in reality again turned out to be the graphics just lagging slightly as readjusting the lighting and causing a dark area briefly.

    Probably not of any consequence at this date but I thought it might explain it none-the-less. I found the idea of the hawks being responsible for the mistaken myth problematic as I've never seen them cast a big enough shadow or visible mark, even when many are congregating above, to mistake them for a Colossus.

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    1. Cool! That could be the answer to the mystery! Do you have any videos or pictures?

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