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Trivia / Shadow of the Colossus

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General trivia

  • From what is seen from early promotion videos of the game uncovered, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that Basaran (the turtle Colossus) and Quadratus (the mammoth) were the first Colossi to be programmed into the game. Of the Colossi shown in preview versions, these two were the only ones to have proper battle footage, while most others were mere cutscenes.
  • Additionally, thanks to the many leaked preview versions of the game that have been dug up, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that Cenobia was the last Colossi to be programmed into the game, as they are missing in every single version of it sans the final released version.
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  • Based on the 2005 beta-ending had the Roc's tail as part of Dormin's design and the fact that it is currently the only beta-Colossus to have actual gameplay footage, there's heavy evidence that the Roc's removal was a very late decision; likely the last of the beta-Colossi to be removed from the game.

Tropes

  • Colbert Bump: Had a bit of one when it was used for Reign Over Me. Adam Sandler was a fan of the game when it was demoed to him and requested it be put in the scene where his character plays video games to cope with the loss of his family, mirroring Colossus' plot. The scene where he and Don Cheadle played through it wasn't scripted, but footage of them playing the game naturally and being immersed into the experience.
  • Development Gag: The game selection screen for The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection has Shadow represented by the abstract artwork that was going to be the cover back when it was going to be called NICO.
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  • Development Hell: The film has been announced for some time now but doesn't seem to be coming out anytime soon. Nobody complains.
  • Doing It for the Art: Though all of Team Ico's oeuvre qualifies, this one really stands out for its blatant defiance of many conventional game mechanics. Minimal replay value? A string of sixteen boss battles with no action connecting them? An extremely minimalist set-up, with basically no game mechanics apart from a sword, a bow and a horse? A grand total of four characters with hardly any dialogue between? What was Team Ico thinking, exactly? Simple: they weren't out to make a blockbuster action game that could spawn tons of sequels, they were out to make an interactive art epic that could tell a story through its gameplay and its visuals. If the game's unanimous critical acclaim is any indication, they succeeded. And if the game's commercial success is anything to go by, yes people will pay money for these kind of games.
  • Dummied Out:
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    • The "dam". No one knows why it is there or what it would have been for. It does not even have collision data (meaning you cannot stand on it), and it is only accessible through hacking and a lot of patience. Someone did manage to add collision, giving a better idea of the sheer size of the area.
    • The entire east section of the map will always be covered by clouds. There is a bridge over the 12th Colossus area that could have been an access to it, but there is no way to get up there.
    • The original plan was to have a whopping 48 Colossi in the game, though this was cut down to 24. Another eight of these were then removed from the final product for pacing; they were either combined with the one or two of the remaining Colossi or just plain scrapped.
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  • In Memoriam: The 2018 remake is dedicated to Susan Benedict (Bluepoint Games's studio manager) who died three years before the game's release.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda:
    • The fabled 17th Colossus. Same for the upper levels of the temple, above the secret garden. However, hacking the game can lead to some very interesting finds.
    • As to just what the 17th Colossi is, there are a few interpretations. One says it's a boar like creaturenote  that was encounter in the secret garden after completing a certain event. Exactly what the event is varies, but supposedly, the way to beat it was to trick it into the hole that Dormin communicates to Wander through.
    • Another interpretation of a 17th Colossi was a giant sea serpent. It was supposedly encountered by swimming far off into the ocean around the Forbidden Lands in any direction. How it was beaten is unclear, but supposedly, either it would act as Border Patrol and auto-kill Wander or it was a legitimate battle, and/or it was supposedly larger than any of the other Colossi in the game.
    • Yet another popular interpretation is that the 17th Colossi is supposedly a dragon. Like a good portion of the 17th Colossi that couldn't possibly fit into the secret garden, it was supposedly above Pelagia's lair, across the bridge that extends high above it.note  Notably, this interpretation became far more popular after a really well put together fan animation tribute was posted to YouTube.
    • There were tons of supposed ways you could supposedly win the Hopeless Boss Fight against Emon and his men posted online, which would lead to an alternate ending to the game. Naturally, none of these were true. There were also rumors that if you successfully reached Mono during the Controllable Helplessness segment, it would lead to an alternate ending. While in the original PS2 version, it's possible to abuse a glitch/physics exploit to reach the altar, all Wander is presented with is an Invisible Wall just before the stairs, although it does reveal a funny oversight that was fixed in the later versions where Mono's body isn't loaded in during that scene.
  • What Could Have Been
    • The game was originally planned to be an MMO, but the developers considered it to be an unrealistic venture considering the team's size, skills, and experience at the time.
      • The original setting was to be a massive wasteland.
    • The Shrine of Worship that serves as the hub was, at some point, to have been fully scalable rather than the secret garden being the limit.
    • Fumito Ueda originally wanted 48 colossi to face in the game. After realizing it was technologically impossible, he cut it down to 24 colossi. During the development between the original MMO concept and the final product, 9 of the colossi were cut for various reasons, resulting in the final 16 colossi. This video goes indepth about these cut Colossi, as well as speculates as to where they would have been in the Forbidden Lands. For those who don't feel like clicking it, here's the list of the cut 9 colossi:
      • Spider, a colossus resembling a daddy long legs. It was supposed to be felled by having Wander slash at its legs with the sword while riding Agro. It was cut due to the devs finding it rather tacky for Wander to have a specific attack animation which would only be used for one specific battle. It was set to be fought near a body of water from which it would emerge, and its weak point was located in its mouth.
      • Phoenix, a colossus which had a long, ostrich-like neck, and whose body was wreathed in flames. There are two reasons for it being cut: dodging its attacks required an enormous arena which was far bigger than what the dev team wanted, and Wander would lose a significant amount of health each time the player fell off. It was supposed to be plunged into a body of water which would thereby extinguish the flames on its body, although how exactly one went about this process is unknown. Agro was to be used in this fight so as to avoid gusts of wind which the colossus would create with its wings in order to deflect Wander. According to leaked code, it may have been fought near a volcanic crater and was also able to fly.
      • Rocnote , a colossus rumored to have been cut due to the fight being too similar to the one with Phalanx and the devs having trouble programming the collisions. Modeled with a longer neck than Avion, a head resembling that of a frilled lizard, and bat-like wings. It was to have been fought in a desert area. Notably, this is the only Beta-Colossus to have actual in-game video (albeit brief) of it in action, implying it was removed late into development.
      • Worm, a serpentine colossus with a flower-like head. For years, it was rumored to have been a Sequential Boss to another unmentioned colossus that was fought in the same arena—likely Dirge, as a leaked preview version of the game has Dormin mention Dirge (another Sandworm like boss) "has a friend," although it was later discovered that this was a mistranslation of the phrase from the original Japanese: "shaking the earth with your friend", which was a hint that players needed Agro in order to defeat Dirge. Leaked meta data from the PS3 data-mine revealed that Worm had no movement data, likely pointing towards it being a Stationary Boss. This is backed by Ueda stating that: "the flower bulb-like section note  was it's weak point," as well as the fact that the only other stationary colossus—Malus, is also the only one in the final game to lack movement data.
      • Griffin, a colossus with withdrawn joints and decorative wings. It was weak to fire like Celosia, and was meant to be fought while riding Agro, since it was very fast-moving. It's said to have been cut due to the significantly lengthy amount of time it took to reach the weak point on its back, from which it was too easy for Wander to fall off.
      • Monkey, an orangutan-like colossus which hung from the ceiling via stalicates. It was supposed to be fought in a cave-like area and possibly needed to be shot down with the bow to access its weak point. The reason for it being cut is unknown.
      • Devil, a colossus resembling a winged gargoyle. It was incredibly small when compared to other colossi and the fight was considered to be fierce. It had to be baited with arrows and then jumped onto from behind while hiding in tall grass. The reason it was cut is unknown.
      • Sirius, a Boar colossus similar in size to both Celosia and Cenobia, who are roughly the same size as an adult African elephant. It was set to be fought in an earlier version of quadrant G7, the Green Cape, but was cut due to the means of defeating it "just not working out." Sirius was unarmored, and ergo very fast, and the only obstacle was getting on its back. A Stonehenge-like monument found at the Green Cape was to have been used for defeating Sirius, and it's speculated that Sirius was to be baited to run through and get stuck between the monument, thereby immobilizing it and allowing Wander to mount and attack its Sigil.
      • Yamori A, a Gecko colossus similar to Kuromori. The reason it was cut is unknown, but its strategy is speculated to have been a lot different from Kuromori, as its back was furry instead of its stomach.
    • At one point in development, there were going to be optional Colossi to fight within the world. Ultimately, it was decided that having optional Colossi clashed way too much with the games story and themes.
    • On the subject of beta-Colossi, in an interview for the HD re-release of the game, Fumito Ueda said they actually were considering adding some of the beta Colossi and other beta-elements back into the game, but were worried that "If we put just a few extras in, though, gamers would naturally expect more than what we could provide." As a result, they felt it best to stay faithful to the original build, though he did say if the game was remade again, they may end up "changing things quite a lot".
    • In early 2021, data-mining the PS3 remaster ended up revealing something huge; the meta-data for the unused Colossi! This ended up providing a lot more insight into where they were originally located. Perhaps the biggest discovery, however, was the revelation that there were ten other Colossi that were scrapped in addition to the ones listed above. These ones appeared to have been scrapped really early on or were variations of existing Colossi.
      • "Buffalo": the most "complete" of these Colossi. From what little is gathered from the data, it was intended to be a 'small' Colossus like Cenobia and Celosia.
      • "Snake 2": Only has one line of data in reference to its name. Theorized to be the original design for Dirge.
      • "Knight 2": Widely believed to either be an early version or a variation on Gaius.
      • "Saru 2": Widely believed to either be an early version of the Monkey Colossus or a variant on the Monkey Colossus.
      • "Tobiuo": ‘Tobiuo’ translates to flying fish. As such, it's believed it was another variant of Hydrus or an early version of Hydrus.
      • "Yeti": One of the few purely original Colossi from this data-mine. All that is known about it is the line of text referencing its name.
      • "Kubunaga/Kubinaga": Another one of the few purely original Colossi to be scrapped. Kubunaga’ translates to something like ‘stronghold dragon’, while ‘Kubinaga’ translates to ‘long neck’. As such, all that can really be gathered is that there was intended to be a dragon Colossus at one point.
      • "Snake A": Like Snake 2, it's theorized to be a variant/early version of one of the serpent-like Colossi.
      • "Snake B": Same as the above.
      • "Griffin B": Widely believed to be an early version of Celosia, as they both have the same texture referenced in their texseg.
    • When it comes to the Colossi in the game, several of them went through several different designs and battle setups before they finally became what they are in the game proper.
      • Originally, Valus, the first Colossi, was supposed to be fought along side Agro. The ruins located in the area also played a part in the battle, with Wander being able to lure Valus' head down like Barba's by hiding in them. Eventually, Agro was considered redundant because she didn't add anything to the battle, and the ability to lure the Colossi's head down was given to Barba, leaving us with the Valus we know today.
      • Quadratus was a lot more simplistic in the earliest stages of the game. In the early alpha builds, the player simply needed to ride Agro up to them and jump off and grab their fur and start scaling them.
      • Gaius' sword originally resembled an actual sword instead of a large sword-like club. Instead of stabbing it into the ground, it instead swept across the ground, and you were supposed to get onto it by timing your jumps. Once again, Agro was originally going to be accessible for this battle, likely to help get on to the sword easier. Presumably, a combination of wonky hitboxes and timing the jumps being difficult changed it into what it is today, and with the slower pacing of the battle, Agro was once again considered redundant.
      • Avion originally had a much smaller tail. In order to differentiate Avion from the Roc, it was given a longer tail, which was originally how you were supposed to get on it instead of tricking to down with arrows. After the Roc was scrapped and merged into Avion proper, this part of the battle was scrapped, with Avion's long tail being rendered The Artifact as a result.
      • Basaran went through several different changes before it became what it was proper. Originally, it was a lot more straight-forward. It would shoot at you with laser eyes, and you got onto it by grabbing onto its sweeping tail. After being considered too dull, it was, for better or worse, reworked into what it is now.
      • Malus was originally supposed to move his feet around in his battle, and his arena was going to be a giant circle with multiple ways to get to him, instead of the one static way in the game proper. However, time and RAM constraints forced Malus to stay static, and his battlefield to be cut down to what it is now. His original design was also more akin to a shaman tribesmen rather than a sorcerer. The artbook that shows off Malus' concept art also remakes quite a notable detail; Malus wasn't intended to be the final boss originally.
    • The Colossus HP bar in early builds was markedly different compared to how it is in the final game, with the entire body of the Colossus represented on screen. What it means is unsure but presumably, since the Colossus lacked sigils in this build of the game and the teal is in far more spots than sigils in the final version, it could be theorized that Wander simply needed to stab in the general area depicted on the Colossus rather than a specific area like in the final game.
    • There was originally supposed to be an alternate ending if the game detected a save file for ICO. Mono was to have woke up earlier and spooked away Lord Emon and his men before Dormin made itself known. The result was Mono being together with a still-adult Wander, who looked like humanoid shadow with horns protruding from his head.
    • Instead of the end credits showing the Colossus' "corpses", the original idea was to show flashbacks of your battles with the Colossus in the form of memories Mono saw through Agro so she'd realize what had happened. It might have been changed for not really making sense as Agro didn't witness every battle.
    • The mysterious Dummied Out Dam is a notable example. It's now only accessible through hacks and patience and nobody knows what purpose it served before it was cut out. The most common fan theory is that it was a way of accessing one of the Dummied Out Colossi.
    • Quite possibly one of the biggest things to come out of 2021 was the leaking of a 2005 E3 build of the game on the net, which has one of the biggest revelations since the beta-dam was discovered; the entire beta ending to the game! Most notable differences:
      • There is a cutscene that shows Agro being revived in a field.
      • Instead of Malus' lair, Wander is shown being teleported back in a wide-open field.
      • The scene that shows the Colossi corpses takes place when Mono meets Agro as opposed to late in the cutscene.
      • Most notably, Dormin's model is a lot buffer than in the game proper, seeming to incorporate some of the Colossi's designs, as their face looks to be in the shape of Malus', they have more pronounced spider-like legs on their back, and they have a large tail! They also have more ram-like than bull-like horns in this version!
      • Instead of dropping the sword into the pool to seal away Dormin, Emon drops a horn into the pool instead, pulling it out of his robes.
      • Wander's design when having absorbed all the Colossi was a lot more ragged. His face was absolutely covered in black veins and his skin appears to be chipping off or melting. His face also noticeably seems to sag more than his actual model does.
      • Some of the characters' acting is subtly different. The man who shoots Wander hesitates for longer, even looking back to Lord Emon; Emon's "hurry up and do it!" makes a bit more sense in this version than in the final. Emon never takes his mask off. Wander never glares up at the man about to stab him, and his eyes roll back visibly as he's dying.
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