Saturday, April 14, 2012

OPM Demo

The 'Official Playstation Magazine' demo disc was released with issue 97 in October 2005. It contained several demo games along with Shadow of the Colossus, but this is the earliest version of the game released to the public and features many differences from the later demos and final releases. In fact the NICO data file was created on the 22nd June 2005 (the NTSC date is 14th September 2005).

The first thing you notice about the OPM demo is the barren landscape. It's devoid of the grass that exists in the final version and looks more like a blasted landscape that you might see at a nuclear test site. Much of the the land between the Shrine of Worship and the first colossi's lair is like this and seems much more 'forbidden' than the later version.

There are also some differences to the final version which I will go into, unfinished areas that were finalised later in development. You can only fight the first colossus after which a trailer is featured before the game restarts. You can't save the game at save shrines and when you bring up the map there's no zoom function. If you wait long enough without doing anything the game will restart automatically.

The demo only uses the nine centre squares of the world map, beyond this are low res textures of the surrounding lands and when you approach the edge of the map the game crashes (black screen) or restarts.

Most areas are blocked by large boulders or broken bridges, on the map above the black squares denote the broken bridges, the black circles the large boulders. The boulders block access to colossi areas 4, 5, 8 and the Autumn forest (E5) but one bridge remains open in G4 (shown by the arrow). In the PSU demo this bridge is also broken but here for some reason they left it intact.

I've also shown the save shrines, most of which are low res models that melt away as you approach them, but others (E4 and E5) remain solid. The Half Moon Canyon save shrine (at G3) melts away but strangely the save stone itself remains solid. There's also an extra save shrine in the OPM demo which appears in no other version (red save shrine on the map). It seems as if they put this here so there would be a save shrine near 4's area as the save stone at the Shrine of Worship is missing in the demo, so they were probably going to use this but decided to move it to the Shrine of Worship instead. I have called it the 'Temple Plain' save shrine but whether it ever had a name is unknown. The Cliff Path save shrine at G4 is solid but can't be accessed as it's beyond a boulder.

Broken bridge at F3 - you can Agro launch from here and make it to the beach below

Other broken bridge at F3 - below is the culvert waterfall structure

Massive boulder blocking the way to the Autumn forest at E5

Boulder blocking way to 8's area and beyond

Boulder blocking way to 4's area - each is covered with moss, plants and even small trees

Boulder blocking way to 5's area - I tried Agro launching past it but couldn't make it (legitmately)

The only intact bridge at G4

OPM demo map covered in clouds

OPM demo map with clouds removed

Using a code I can remove the clouds from the game map, but I didn't expect to see this! Half of the colossi icons are in the wrong place with Avion's icon (#5) being used twice and Basaran's icon (#9) missing from the map. This is the only time I had ever seen the colossi in different map locations, in every other build we have (including demos) the colossi icons are always in the same map squares, but in this early demo the rules seemed to have been changed for some unknown reason.

OPM demo map with numbered colossi in the wrong locations

So you have to wonder, did Team Ico do this on purpose? Why would they move the colossi icons around like this? The point is, you are never able to see these icons legitimately, the map is always covered in clouds. But we're still left with the question of why half of the icons are in the wrong place... could this have been an earlier incarnation of the layout of the colossi? No, that doesn't make any sense as you would have (for example) Hydrus swimming around at Phaedra's green hill like a fish out of water, or Gaius stomping around in Barba's underground chamber, as we have always seen the Knight on its unique plateau above the lake. 

So we are left with yet another mystery, one that defies explanation, I can't even come up with a theory that fits this map, except that the 'bird' icon is used at D3 where it is believed the unused Phoenix colossus once existed, this would explain the bird icon but as to the other misplaced icons I have no clue.
I made a video about this anomaly here:

Update February 2019
I am so stupid! These locations were not where the colossi 'lived', but rather the order of which colossi would be fought,  i.e. first, second, third etc. Note: It was Wisi who explained this to me just a few days ago after checking the 'BossStatus' sheet data of the OPM demo compared to the Preview version. I slapped my head in frustration as I had never considered this simple solution before! I mean it's so obvious. I made a chart to showcase this order of the colossi in the OPM demo.

Order of the colossi in the OPM demo

So what the OPM demo colossi icons reveal is an older permutation of the colossi order. As the game was worked on and progressed, the order of the colossi also changed, like pieces on a chess board. This is proven as even in the OPM and PSU demos, the Bird (Avion) and Kirin (Phaedra) are swapped, i.e. Avion is the 4th colossus and Phaedra is the 5th. So even at this late stage, Team Ico and Udea were still shifting the colossi positions. So we can assume that Team Ico and Ueda played around with many different permutations of the colossi order until they reached that balance of difficulty and emotional tension that best suited the game. Perhaps input from game testers also helped in their decision making process?

Different temple floor design from an early build

The image above may well come from the Pre E3 demo, or perhaps it was the full game? What we do know is that Wander fights more than just the first colossus, as in the video this image came from he wakes up with a single shadow entity standing over him. This means he has already defeated the first colossus. The camera then pans up to the next colossus he has to fight (Quadratus), but next to it is something unfamiliar.

Basaran statue next to Quadratus!

So this is more proof that the order of the colossi was different in the OPM demo and the builds before it. If we could fight all the colossi instead of just the first one we would have seen this unfamiliar order in the game (see chart above).

Same image from the NTSC (US) version

From comparing both images above, we can see that the distance to the columns above the stairs is different. That is the Quadratus statue seems to be a lot closer to the stairs than in the retail version image. Wisi has suggested that this could mean there were 24 colossi in this early build, as 12 statues on either side would take up a lot more room. If so, then this early build would contain, the different temple floor design, the different order of the colossi (as shown in the chart above), and all 24 colossi to fight against! This would be the most epic version that was ever created! 

However, as much as we would love this to be true, there is no real evidence that all 24 colossi were ever playable in a single version of the game. This is due to the lack of evidence for the other 8 discarded colossi, some of which (it seems) never made it past the development stage. But it would have been easy to add 12 statues on either side in the main hall as is seen in some early videos. They just copied and pasted the first one over and over.

Heavenly light pours down from Dormin's occulus

Another piece of evidence of this earlier orientation of the colossi proves this idea beyond any doubt! In the code there are images of the text Dormin uses in the game, such as the hints it gives you when fighting a colossus or the description of the next colossus when you wake up in the temple. 'Thy next foe is...'

By extracting these images using the SotC viewer you can see the colossi descriptions are placed in the same early order we see above in the map I made. 

Colossi 1 to 8

Colossi 9 to 16

I always wondered why the order of  'Dormin's descriptions' of the colossi were  out of place? But now I see why. It was a lack of imagination on my part that I didn't discover this back in 2009. It was Wisi's insight that made the penny drop 'so to speak'. So here is the original order in which you see the colossi descriptions in the code. They match the weird 'out of order' positions of the OPM demo and earlier builds of the game. Amazing as this revelation was only made in February this year - the colossi descriptions only yesterday (5th April, 2019) - 14 years after the game's release! It seems there are still some amazing discoveries to be made in this game ; )

Comparisons to the Final Version
I used the final NTSC (US) version to make my comparisons here but the PAL version is virtually identical. You can see below just how rudimentary the OPM demo is compared to the retail release, with textures, lighting and extra content added. However, in some places I prefer the demo over the final version, such as above the E5 cave (see below). 

Shrine of Worship decoration & pillar is missing

No. 1's gate - you can see they added a lot more detail here

The fallen pillar you roll under is missing

The ledge you climb to get to 1's area is higher in the final version

You can see the difference in the lighting effects here

The pool area looks like a crude rock cut chamber compared to the final version

E5 forest towers are missing

This is the only version of the game we have that has the forest towers missing. The next demo to come after was the PSU (Playstation Universe) demo, and here they have been added. It shows just how unfinished the game was when this demo was made, as the towers are one of the most impressive and mysterious land marks we see early in the game. They are also one of my favourite places in the game and I spent many hours trying (and eventually succeeding) to reach them with Wander ; )

Above cave at E5 (when you leave the forest and head west towards 13's area)

You can get here legitimately in both the OPM and NTSC versions by Agro launching from the west side cliffs but only the OPM demo has this green topped cave with bushes, no other versions have this including the PSU and PAL demos, the others are just barren rock. 

Above pools of water at E5 - these thorny black bushes only appear in the OPM demo

OPM demo E5 forest save shrine faces the other way compared to the final version

Final version E5 forest save shrine
Save Shrines
There are seven save shrines in the OPM demo, five are accessible but the remaining two are off limits. The Cliff Path save shrine (G4) is hidden behind one of those boulders that block access, the other save shrine (at F4) is a ghost and melts away as you approach it, but this one didn't make it into the final version. You can't save at any of these save shrines as it will crash the game, and some are only made up of low res textures, when you get close the shrines melt away leaving only the glowing save stone behind.

Extra save shrine at F4 - this is as close as you can get before it melts away

I used a code to get much closer to it and even made a video here:
Stone Bridge Cliff save shrine at E4 - is floating above the ground!

Half Moon Canyon save shrine is low res but has a solid save stone

When you get closer only the save stone is visible

Ravine Entrance save shrine at E3 has a fruit tree next to it, unlike other versions

Inaccessible Cliff Path save shrine at G4 - is also floating above the ground slightly

Missing Fruit Trees
Most of the fruit trees we see in the demo are still present in the final version, but here they are only made up of low res textures and disappear when you get too close. Others were removed or put in a different location later on. Using codes I can move up right next to them but there's not much to see as they are low res and will melt away when too close. 

Fruit trees at F4 are low res only and melt away when you approach

Fruit tree at E5 (north side) is missing

Fruit tree at E5 (South side) is missing -  white tailed lizard is still there

This is the most obvious of the fruit trees missing from the demo, and if you compare it to the final versions you see how the cliff face was extended to accommodate the placement of the fruit tree (see above). They must have had a reason to extend the cliff and add a fruit tree here, perhaps it was purely aesthetic, or perhaps there was another reason? I noticed when I was sitting on Agro at the end of the cliff a glitch would occur causing all the surrounding lands to disappear, maybe they had trouble resolving this issue and decided instead to prevent Agro from reaching this spot by putting a fruit tree there?

E5 forest ledge glitch

Both fruit trees at E5 (south side) missing - although the white tailed lizard is still there

 Missing fruit trees at G4 - although you can't get here legitimately
All lizard tails in the OPM demo give you health and grip points. In the final version you start with 100 health and grip points and receive only 1 grip point per white tail harvested but no health. This is gained by eating fruit, but in the OPM demo you get 5 health and 5 grip points for white 'and' black tails. The lizards also respawn so all you need do is leave the area and return and the lizards will be there to harvest over again. 

On this bridge (above image) that leads to the Autumn forest is a lounge of lizards that are easy to kill as the lizards move a lot more slowly in this demo. I increased my health and grip to 600 in just 15 minutes or so, but since you can't save the game there's no real point to it beyond the novelty.

White tailed lizard at E5 Autumn Forest save shrine
Edge of the Map
Only the nine centre squares of the game map are accessible in the demo, when you venture too far to the edge the game crashes or sometimes resets. Using the emulator seems to bypass this problem and I can walk right up to the edge without any problems. I also found a way to explore out beyond the nine centre squares although the surrounding lands are only the low res type. Still it was fun to explore and, as usual, I made a video about it ; )

 Map ends at F5, just north of 13's ruins - you can see 6's temple in the distance

Edge of the map at F3 - another step and you fall into the void!

 Edge of the map at E3 - ugly low res pieces of 3's platform can be seen

 Edge of the map at G4 - Avion's temple is visible but just out of reach

Bridge leading to 12's area is cut off at the north edge of G3

Doves at G3 bridge
4th Colossus Area - Phaedra
Although you can't legitimately get to Phaedra's area in the demo it does exist and is virtually identical to the final version apart from some slight design differences. 

Top of boulder at G4 - Temple Plain save shrine is clearly visible from this vantage point

Tunnel entrance design differences between the demo and final version

Early design of Phaedra's platform

The only other difference I noticed was the sound of the waterfall you can hear in the final version is absent, but apart from these few changes it's basically the same area.

Secret Garden & Unfinished Shrine of Worship
You can climb all the way to the secret garden in the demos using the 'diagonal jump glitch' which was revealed in the OPM magazine as a hint to players (see below). Even though you only have a small amount of grip, when you jump diagonally it only uses a tiny fraction of what it does when you jump vertically so if you are careful you can make it all the way up the side of the temple. Of course in this version you could also increase your grip level by harvesting lizard tails.

The article is entitled Top of the Word, Ma! and says: 'We probably shouldn't be telling you this, but there's an interesting little quirk in the demo. If you jump at an angle while hanging from a ledge, vines, or whatever, you don't expend any of your grip strength. This would make it possible to climb an infinitely tall climbable surface. Not that we're saying any such surface exists. But it it did, you could climb it. And if you saw, you know, a ledge or something nearby, you could probably jump to it. And if you were really good at platforming and were willing to take a couple of leaps of faith, you might even be able to get up to a very secret, obviously unfinished location. Too bad such a location does not exist'. So the secret to getting to the garden was given away for free before a single player had even loaded their demo disc into the console! 

There is a rest spot in the OPM demo in this alcove

Wander can regain his grip strength here

When you reach the top path you will notice this large, arched doorway and to its left the unique flower symbol that we see at the south side of the temple in the final version. When I first saw images of this doorway (very early on) I thought there may be a way of opening it, perhaps by touching the symbol, but even though there is a ledge below the symbol you can't get to it by jumping... it's just out of reach!

Another view of the Temple Plains save shrine

The temple door is missing in this version

You can go down the stairwell and look at the inside shell of the Shrine of Worship. Once the secret garden model loads the lower temple area unloads, but beware as you won't be able to go back! The temple door collisions only work from inside so once you enter the stairwell you are stuck there. All you can do is jump down into the temple and die or restart the game.

End of the stairwell looking back

If you look down from here you can see something below...

So I went down for a closer look

It's the stone door that seals off the pool room

In the PSU demo this stone door denies you access to the pool room at the back of the temple, but in the OPM demo you can enter the pool room? This is strange as the OPM demo was created earlier so you would expect it to be here as well. In fact it is there, only it doesn't load when Wander is in the lower temple level. It only loads when the secret garden model loads, so you can only see it from above in the stairwell. When I jumped down and landed on the lower temple floor the door loaded normally for a brief time then disappeared.

I can load the temple door by hacking through it from the pool room side

In front of the garden entrance - the floor collision is offset

Just to the left of the garden entrance you can walk behind the wall textures

The most famous feature of the OPM demo is the headless statue of Mono in the secret garden. The most likely explanation as to why it is here is that the developers were still working on the end cut scene (where Mono and Agro arrive at the garden) and by some oversight it was left here. It's clear they didn't expect anyone to reach this area so they must not have been aware of the diagonal jump glitch which allows players to scale the temple, but why her head is missing is a mystery.

The Mono statue has no substance and is much taller than Wander

The garden is pretty much identical to the final version except the waterfalls are missing and there is no forbidden fruit on the trees. The blocks at the back of the garden are stacked right up to the higher (inaccessible) platform but there's no way to grab onto them, which suggests they were planning at one stage to give access to this enigmatic area.

Inaccessible platform above the garden leads nowhere

Some of the trees have no substance so Wander can walk right through them!

Unfinished water flow textures

Wander's legs are invisible below the water's surface...

and from below his body is invisible

Hidden stairs under the garden!

A set of stairs was recently discovered by Eternalclaw (7 years after the game's release)! If you go to the back of the garden and up the ramp you will notice a crack in the wall there. You can walk through this crack (being careful not to fall) and from there you can see the hidden stairs below. There's no way to reach the stairs but they are solid. He also found another opening that gives you access to Dormin's hole but you can only do this in the OPM and PSU demos.

Unfinished temple showing areas that remained to be textured

WWWArea first discovered that the temple in the PSU demo was solid by using the jump hack and later Pikol tested the OPM demo and found these strange blank areas. But this gave us hope that the temple in the final version was also solid, but sadly for some unknown reason it wasn't, only a few small areas were left that you could walk on. Of course it's all academic as there's no legitimate way to scale the higher parts of the temple in the first place, but fans were still curious and wanted to know if Team Ico had ever planned for a way to get up there. 

When the Preview version was revealed it proved you could climb up to the higher platform in the secret garden, but there was still no way to reach the higher parts of the temple, even though in this version it was completely solid with every ledge grippable.

Top of the temple - the ultimate goal of every Shadow of the Colossus fan!

Shrine of Worship Statues
There's a couple of statues worth mentioning here. One is that statue No. 4 is Avion instead of Phaedra (just like in the Preview version), so it seems that Avion was planned to be colossus number 4 until quite late in development and then for some reason was changed to number 5 as we see in the final version.

The last statue is a duplicate of number #1, the Malus statue is missing and in its place is a copy of #1 (Valus). Why they did this is unknown, perhaps they wanted to keep the final colossus a secret or they just hadn't finished the last statue model at the time of the OPM demo's release? Out of interest I checked the PSU (or stand alone) demo and found that Avion is still statue number 4, however the Malus statue exists in this demo.

Statue 4 is Avion instead of Phaedra (as in the Preview version)

Malus (#16) statue is missing - replaced by Valus (#1) statue


  1. Ah,I was writing a big coment here,but it just disappeared all of a time I will wait the page load completely.

    Nice post,well explained,well ilustrated.

  2. Hey, another excellent article.

    Wanted to let you know that the article I wrote with the use of your research went up about a week ago: hope you like it!

  3. I found out I pretty much appreciate you :) This is quite a well done post, I can say o/ And well, I remember playing the PS2 Gamepack version times before knowing what SotC is and I wandered around a bit and found the F4 shrine (the one closer to the SoW, right?). I also got close to it and pressed some buttons. Wander was ready to pray, but then the game glitched or restarted. The save rock was even there, I can say. I remember of looking after this specific shrine when I began the game a few weeks back (I only had the chance to play it by myself when my friend lend me his PS2) and thought it was strange not finding it. Now I know why shuahsuhasuhauhs Also, I'd like to show you my recent blog about SotC. I'm talking about theories on it, and maybe the secret, but not in a physical way. Hope you enjoy it :)

  4. I don't believe you saw a solid F4 save shrine, you must be mistaking it for another save shrine... or you played a completely different version on the OPM demo than the rest of us (which a very much doubt) - but I'll check out this 'Gamepack' version just to be sure.

  5. Hi Nomad, have you seen this? ... you can see it in the OPM demo. I haven't seen it in your posts or videos or anywhere, but i think it's highly interesting, especially this .. The Ico rings are not rings. Why do you think it has this shape? I think it might be to firm up the structure in the sand, otherwise it would fall (inside-game talking, obviously)

  6. Yes, I have seen this before. When you go to the edge of the map in the OPM demo you see the low resolution models of the rest of the lands. These are the low res versions of the rings we are seeing. But even so, as they only need the top part to be shown (in high res) there was no need to make the bottom half of the ring. But I can't say for sure they were not meant to be horseshoe shaped - you may be right, they may be there for another purpose.

    Remember, you are not supposed to see under the sands so the devs wanted to show a ringed structure I think. But it's just my own interpretation after all. In ICO you see the same rings and they are 'rings' not horseshoes so I just speculated that they were the same thing... but who knows for sure?

  7. But why would the devs make a bottom part for starting?.. It could be also for viewing the model from below (when making the game) that way is easier to know where the structures are (a similar concept on why ico has horns; to make it visible) I was just playing the final vesion and going through the bottom (in that area) you can see the horseshoe shape from the distance, but once you get close it dissapears and just the upper part is left. I can't take a snapshot because i'm always falling to the void. Is it hard to get the save stone plataform value? The only things I can find with the memorie editor are wander and agro values, and that's thanks to your camera hacks video, and the coordenates on the preview version.

  8. Like I said, it's all academic in the end as you are never meant to see below the sand. But from above they are clearly ring structures, that is what they are 'meant' to be in the game (the same rings we see in Ico).

    To get the save stone platform values just stand in front of a save stone and note Wander's up/down value in your memory editor. Then search for a 'range' that includes that value. For example if Wander's up/down value is 29.7543322 standing in front of a save stone you would search for a range between 27-31. Then add the search results and modify the values to 33 (in this example). I use MHS when searching for value. Start going through the codes and lock them until you see the save stone rise up into the air - then you have found it.

    Note: You can only move a save stone within the map square it occupies, if you try to move it outside that square it will unload or disappear.

  9. Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have tried that, but there are a LOT of numbers between 27 and 31 :P .. I thought there might have been another easier way but I think it's all try and error then.. But didn't you use a save stone in the beta dam? There is no save shrine in that area.. Just one more thing, and I wont bother you anymore.. I can disable the "rendering stuff" like the bloom in the final version, but in the preview and the demos it's a real pain. Would you please hint me on how to get that value? (excuse my english)

  10. Yes, there are a lot of values and it's hard to say where in the code the save stone values will be as they change from game to game. So you just have to put the time in and go through the codes - what is your Wander's up/down address? I might be able to narrow the search for you if you give me that value.

    Moving a save stone outside its quadrant is more difficult to explain and requires finding more than one code using a hex editor. You should be able to disable the bloom through the emulator's graphics plug-in, you don't have to search for codes to do that. Just play around with the settings and see what happens is all I can suggest, or read up about it on the PCSX2 forums.

  11. Thanks, if you can do that it would be great. In the Preview version the Wander Up/Down address I have is 21DD3B34. One question, the green values are static addresses, right? the save stone (and everything that doesn't move) would be green then?
    I never found anything that lowered the bloom on the emulator but I will try searching again.

  12. Yeah, ignore the green values, not sure what they do but I think you are right about them being static. So I did a few calculations and came up with 22336464, so I would search from 21000000 to 24000000 but you still may not find it as each save shrine exists in different parts of the memory depending on which quadrant is loaded. But they are usually offset from Wander's jump code by around 600000 give or take... like I said, you have to put the time in to find these things, I have spent hours looking for obscure codes in the past.

    If you find the up/down code for the save stone you can rotate it and scale it as well. Here are some of mine you can use to work out your save stone values:

    21FCA334 - Save stone ud
    21FCA330 - Save stone ew
    21FCA338 - Save stone ns

    21FCA374 - Save stone rotate

    21FCA3B4 - Save stone scale ud
    21FCA3B0 - Save stone scale ew
    21FCA3B9 - Save stone scale ns

    You can see the save stone ends in 34, rotate is 74 and scale is B4 (each separated by 4 bytes)- it's easy once you know what to do ; )

  13. Wow, thank you!
    You are talking about the save stone in the save shrine right? Each stone has different up/down values I suppose. Depending on the height.
    How did you get to 22336464? you mean 2.2336464 in 'float'? (I don't know much about hacking :P )
    The address I give you is from the preview version . In front of the save stone Wander up/down value is 3.4 - In the final version it's 2.6
    Let me see if I get it.
    (In the PV)
    Wander value: 3.37
    I take out 0.06 = 3.31
    or I add it = 3.43
    Then I would search a value between 3.2 - 3.5 or something like that.
    I'm still confused about how you get from 21DD3B34 to 22336464. Did you convert the letters to numbers in some way?
    Thank you, I wouldn't have done much if I didn't rotate the save stone :P . I just discovered the 7(0-4-8) works for Wander also :D

    1. Sorry, I misunderstood something. 21000000 and 24000000 are addresses, right? I thought they were values.

  14. Yes, I mean the save stone at a save shrine and yes, each save stone has a different up/down value, but the number I gave you was a memory address in hexidecimal. So I meant to search around that area in the search results. It's hard to explain in text messages, be easier if you just go through all the results until you find it, that's what I do when searching for codes.

    So first search for a range from 3 to 4 then add the results to the right column in your memory editor (MHS) and modify the results to 4 or 5. When you lock the right code you will see the save stone move up into the air. It takes time and patience to find it, there are no real shortcuts here.

  15. I mean 'save stone in the shrine of worship' my bad :P . But it doesn't matter I think I just understand what you said. Well, thank you very much! I will be trying that.

    1. I've found it! :D

  16. Good stuff, now you can use it as an elevator to explore the Shrine of Worship. Note: It's best to be sitting on Agro when you move the stone around as Agro is immune to it's effects. If Wander is standing on the stone he will stumble and roll around when you move it.

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  18. Nomad in this post from my blog I have an image that shows a statue of gaius in 6th place