Monday, November 27, 2017

PS4 version

If you're like me then you will be very excited about the upcoming rebuild of Shadow of the Colossus for the PS4. In June this year at the E3 gaming expo it came right out of left field and surprised us all! I for one had not expected any new games from Team Ico (aka GenDesign) for many years, and although technically this isn't their doing (Bluepoint games are doing the actual work), it's another incarnation of my favourite game that I can look forward to experiencing ; )

I've been keeping an eye open for any new announcements or video trailers and have discovered quite a lot of interesting stuff to share, so I thought I'd put together this new summary about the differences I have seen thus far. Note: This is the third Sony Playstation console to feature this game (PS2/PS3/PS4), which goes to show just how much of a fan favourite it has become ; )

Note: If you want to play the new PS4 version 'blind' and have not seen any of the various Youtube videos already available, I suggest you DO NOT read this blog post. This post will reveal a lot of new details about the PS4 version.

Heavenly light diffuses through the treetops in the Autumnal forest

As much as we've come to love the original PS2 version and later its amazing PS3 upgrade with HD textures, there are obvious visual advantages when running the game on the PS4 hardware. I made a short video showing the vast differences between the PS2 and PS4 versions here:

Texan developer Bluepoint games have rebuilt every model and texture from the ground up but have not changed the basic gameplay components, that is the game will play the same as it did on the PS2/PS3 with the original 16 colossi. According to their website, "The Bluepoint Engine (BPE) is a vertically integrated cross platform game engine and toolset for PC and consoles". I found out early on that there would be no extra colossi added, and as much as I had hoped to see some of the discarded colossi finally revealed, in my heart I knew this would never happen.

I had a small hope based on something Ueda said in the official Japanese artbook: "There were some grander ideas, such as changing Shadow's ending or adding some of the colossi that got cut from the original, and honestly having features like that would've been attractive from a business perspective. If we put just a few extras in, though, gamers would naturally expect more than what we could provide. Instead of just putting in a few half-baked things, I thought it'd be better to stick with the original concept of staying faithful to the base work. If I get another chance in the future to do a remake, I might wind up changing quite a lot more." But in spite of this, it seems Ueda hasn't wound up changing a lot more, however it was reported that he sent a list of proposals to Sony about content and tuning of the game, but is unsure if these changes will be implemented. I wonder what his list of proposals included? I guess we'll have to wait and see if anything comes of this.

New title screen design

As far as I can tell, the above is what the new title screen will look like. Sorry about the quality, it was captured from a video that was recorded from a television set, and as such is washed out. You can just make the out the menu at the top left of the screen. It appears to be a demo that lets you play three of the colossi as the menu reads Colossus1, Colossus3, Colossus13 and Settings. I would love to get me hands on this demo (for future purposes ; ) A similar demo surfaced for the PS2 where you could fight the first three colossi, but after years of searching it has eluded me.

Update February 2018: The PS2 three colossi demo has finally surfaced! Found at a flea market in New Jersey, we have called it 'The PSU Preview version' as it's identical to the PSU demo except the whole game map can be explored. Read all about it here:

Now, I know there will be PS2/PS3 original game purists who will turn their noses up at this new and improved version of their most beloved game, and I can understand their point of view as the original has its own unique and fascinating quality - the lighting, colour pallet and sound design etc. Part of the wonder of the PS2 version is encompassed in the year it was made, that is, the barren emptiness of the forbidden lands was in part due to the lack of resources the developers had at their disposal in 2005/2006. 

This new PS4 version in comparison is 43 times more powerful than the PS2 console (according to Sony), and as such Bluepoint have saturated every scene with tonnes of new assets, filling the screen with an abundance of detail we never saw in the original. So it's up to the individual player/fan whether this is a good or bad thing... for me it's a good thing, as much as I love the original, I'm really looking forward to exploring all the new detail in the remake.

Upgraded Intro Sequence
When I first saw this video (from the Paris Games Week conference), my jaw literally dropped! I mean 'Wow!' The detail was amazing, you can see every rock and fern in crystal clarity and the amount of added assets gives a new and deeper richness to the scenes compared to what we had seen previously. It was just breathtaking xD.

See video here:

 Canyons opening scene

The main noticeable difference here, apart from the upgraded assets, is the moon. It's huge in the sky compared to the earlier versions where it was hidden by clouds. Before there was just a white glow in the sky which we could assume was the moon.

PS2 version (Nomad hack) of the moon and Canyon path

PS4 view includes a new waterfall that the hawk flies behind

Agro on the Canyons path

Here we can see our first glimpse of PS4 Wander

Wander watches the hawk as it flies away towards the moon - wonderful!

PS2 closeup (hack) of the moon - still just a bright white globe

PS4 Canyons final scene

PS2 Canyons final scene - the moon is obscured by clouds

Already you can see the vast differences in the design of the opening cutscene, let alone the impressive upgraded graphics. There are so many added assets, jagged mountains that jut upwards into the sky, one range behind another that melt into the distance, clouds as sharp as any clear night sky and up close to the camera, detailed rock faces that brilliantly reflect the light of the huge moon in the sky.

Wander next travels into a dark, misty forest

It was hard to take good screen captures of this part of the video as they were so dark! I had to lighten them somewhat using Photoshop, but I think when we can actually play this game on the 6th of February 2018 (according to the Sony website), we will see much more detail than what I have captured here. Note: I have already preordered my copy ; )

PS2 forest

PS4 - the camera pans up through the treetops

PS2 version comparison

PS4 version lake

PS2 version lake

Here I could almost say that I prefer the PS2 version as it's still a wonderful scene from the intro... one of my favourite parts to explore! Even in 2005 they were able to make this landscape feel so mysterious and enticing, with the dark misty forest skirting the edge of a shimmering lake, and will-o'-the-wisp glowing balls of light to guide the way.

Note: I once made a video about the fireflies seen in the PS2 version along the edge of the lake, see here:

PS4 version lake also features the glowing fireflies

But here the fireflies are not restricted to the edge of the lake as we saw in the PS2 version, rather they are now are flying all over the place, scattered by the four winds! I once referred to these balls of light as the souls of previous adventurers who died along the road. They now guide new travellers in the right direction so they may find their way out of the vast foreboding forest.

PS2 version lake with fireflies

PS2 rain sequence

PS4 rain sequence

Rest spot scene from the PS4 intro

I call this area the 'rest spot' scene as Wander takes a moment to stop and take in the view as Agro bends her head down to take a much needed drink ; ) The road has been long and hard, Wander is driven to reach the 'ends of the world' as fast as he can to revive his beloved Mono. In the distance he can see the Entrance to the forbidden lands, a towering twin columned temple that is the gate that guards the sacred lands. Only by passing through this gate does he have any chance to bring life back to his beloved companion.

Rest spot scene from the PS2 intro

PS4 Wander on Agro

PS2 Wander on Agro

Rest stop PS2/PS4 comparison

PS4 closeup of the Entrance temple in the distance

PS4 green field scene of the opening cutscene

I was so awed when I first saw this scene I actually verbalised 'Ohhhawwww' out loud xD - SOL (Sigh Out Loud). It's like I'm seeing the game again for the first time and I'm just as excited as I was back in 2008 when I first played the PS2 version. I had a similar feeling when I first played the OPM demo as it was like another version of the retail game I had come to love, and although it was way less developed, there were parts that were different enough for me to really enjoy. But I'm so impressed by the new detail, the flowers in the foreground, the wetness of the stones in the rain and the majesty of the ancient, gnarled tree.  

PS2 green field scene of the opening cutscene

Now remember, I in no way want to disparage or denigrate the PS2 version as it's been a long time companion of mine over the years and has given me hours of wonderful discovery and enjoyment, however one cannot deny how barren the green field looks in the PS2 version compared to the richness in detail shown in the PS4 trailer. Of course I know it's all about the new hardware and software capabilities that are now available... in some ways we shouldn't even be comparing these two games at all as they are separated by a 12 year time gap no less!

PS2 to PS4 green field tree comparison

Above we can see the main tree in the PS2 green field is nothing more than a simple forked sapling with some umbrella like leaves sprouting from its branches. The PS4 version on the other hand is a patriarch among trees! It seems ancient, many hundreds of years old perhaps, and has been standing here for long ages in silent witness until one stormy day a young traveller on his horse passed it by.

PS4 Entrance temple scene

PS2 Entrance temple scene

PS4 Entrance temple - the gateway to the forbidden lands

PS2 Entrance temple

I once made a video of Wander exploring behind the Entrance temple in the PS2 version. It involves hacking the intro cutscene so that Wander can run around on a stretched out save stone.  
See here:

Later in October, 2015 I even managed to get Agro's animations working in the opening cutscene. This was a huge breakthrough for me as in the past, Agro was always frozen like a statue, while Wander could run around freely and explore. See here:

PS4 Entrance temple field

PS2 Entrance temple field

This was another 'OMG' moment for me xD. I mean, just look at it! The entrance temple field is completely transformed. All the vegetation and trees are overgrown compared to the PS2 version which looks a lot more barren in comparison; especially the grass, it's the main difference here. I also am loving the new detail on the stones and columns... can't wait to get a better look at them one day ; ) 

 PS4 closeup of columns

If you look closely, you can still see the the 16 columns representing the colossi, although now as they are textured with the same stone as the background temple, they are hard to make out. In the PS2 version, the columns were darker and stood out against the background (see below image).

PS2 Entrance temple columns stand out

PS4 tunnel that leads to the bridge

PS2 tunnel that leads to the bridge

PS4 bridge design

I like how they have added a little gutter to each side of the bridge span, instead of the blocks extending out to the edge. Makes the bridge feel a little safer to cross perhaps, like a low profile guard rail ; ) The four main block designs haven't changed as far as I can see, but now each four block slab is separated by a narrow (shim) stone - I like this new design.

PS2 bridge

PS4 bridge panned out

PS2 bridge panned out

Notice the difference in the above two images. The curved bridge supports are very different - in the PS2 version the last span curves into the cliff face about half way below the platform where Wander rides Agro, but in the PS4 version, the curved support is much shorter, curving in just under the platform. Was this intentional or just the way the new PS4 model worked out when it was placed into the environment?

PS4 Gameplay Additions
The following images come from various videos I have found of actual gameplay of the PS4 version and as such, the quality isn't so good (again, recorded off a tv screen). But the content seen within these videos is what matters to me, as we can see a lot of new ruins and broken masonry scattered around the plains that did not exist before. For me any new assets, be it a new tree, fern, bush or new ruins are very important. I want to explore each and every one in the new addition ; )

See video here:

Wander outside the temple

Wander aiming his bow

Fog obscuring the main stone bridge

Notice how the main bridge dissolves away into the distance? It's like a fog has rolled in and is now obscuring the rest of the bridge. I wonder if this was done intentionally? I mean there is no reason to mask the bridge as it's no longer a matter of programming memory as it was in 2005, and even then you could clearly see the bridge fade off into the distance. I guess it's just a creative design choice, perhaps this fog or mist is only there as it's above Quadratus' arena (Colossus #2). Perhaps this is condensation from the lake below?

Huge rock stopper prevents further access in the PAL demo

Or perhaps (most likely) Bluepoint have added this fog as a way to seal off the unattainable areas of the game, much like how Team Ico added those large moss covered boulders to seal off areas in the OPM, PSU and PAL demos. But here you would (presumably) enter the mist and be stopped by an invisible wall.

Update: Since this is only a demo version Bluepoint added this wall of fog to mask the off limits areas. In the PS2 version you could travel to the edge of the model which ended abruptly and you would just fall into the void if you moved beyond it. I assume in the PS4 version the bridges would have the same gaps as in the PS2 demo versions? Until I get can my hands on a PS4 demo I won't be sure.

 Pieces of the arched bridge are evident at its base now

Closeup of some of the ruins

Another shot of the broken bridge pieces

I find it hard to believe that Bluepoint games have just added these new assets without consulting Ueda or GenDesign. I mean, do they have complete creative freedom to add whatever they want? You would think not, as Ueda is very protective of his intellectual property and doesn't like anyone messing with his creations. Here we come to the crux of what this blog post is about - sure the game plays as it did before, there are only 16 colossi to fight etc. But the landscapes have been dramatically altered, by adding all these new ruins the game becomes something very different to the original. 

E5 Autumnal Forest
Here we are privileged to see a glimpse of the updated Autumnal (Autumn) forest at E3 on the world map. This was always a very mysterious and enchanting part of the game for me as you tried to navigate Agro through the maze of trees. The forest is dark as only a few beams of sunlight penetrate the thick canopy of leaves above you, but at these few solitary areas of the forest, Wander can raise his sword and locate the next colossus.

Below we see Wander asleep at the E3 save stone in the Autumnal forest in the PS4 version. The save stone seems to glow much more brilliantly than the previous versions, and indeed it seems to resemble the face of a colossus.

Watch video here:

PS4 save stone in the E5 forest

PS2 save stone in the E5 forest

If you look closely at the save stone here, you can still see the 'glowing eyes' we see in the PS4 version. But in the PS2 version they are hidden by the vines covering the save stone, whereas the PS4 version has none. However, some of the other PS2 save stones have eyes that can be seen (see below image).

PS2 Shine of Worship save stone 'eyes' - same as the PS4 version

Wander stands up

Wander's PS4 face

Note: In all the PS4 videos currently available, not one shows a close up of Wander's new face. But here, we can get a sense of what the PS4 Wander looks like. Sadly, the video I took this screen capture from is only 1080p, and as such, when I zoom in to Wander's face, it's still low res. So currently, this is the best shot of the PS4 Wander face I have. Hopefully in later videos, those lucky players who have access to the PS4 demo will take a closer look at Wander's face.

First updated view of the E5 forest since 2011

Tall trees remind me of North American Redwoods

Close up of new fern assets - not seen before

Agro resplendent in dappled light

Wander & Agro deep in the forest

Notice the ferns growing from the tree

Wander riding through the trees

The forest begins to thin out

Leading to a path

Path leads to a cave

First Colossus - Valus
Before Wander sets off to slay the first colossus (Valus), he first has to shine his sword in order to work out in which direction to travel. For most first time players, they will run out onto the porch/balcony of the temple and raise their sword to see where the light points. Here (for the first time) we see a new animation for Wander! When you do nothing, and wait a while... he will tap his left toe a couple of times onto the pavement in anticipation, as if he's eager to move on, I think this is a very nice new feature : )

Wander taps his toe animation

Wander mounts Agro from behind!

In the PS2 and PS3 versions, Wander can only get onto Agro via the TRIANGLE button, or holding down the R2 button and hitting TRIANGLE to jump onto the horse. But here we see a new and never before seen way to mount the horse, Wander can now mount Agro from behind! It's now a simple method of jumping with SQUARE at the back of Agro, and you will see this new animation. Note: Bluepoint have changed the jump button from TRIANGLE to SQUARE, as this is the most commonly used jump button used in games, however, I assume you will be able to configure the controls if need be.

Before we move on to the first colossus, I found a new (French) video showing a completely different demo which only lets you play the first and thirteenth colossus (Valus and Phalanx). It seems this demo was recorded from a PS4 console and as such, the detail is much clearer and amazing! Here we see our first real look at the updated title screen of the Shrine of Worship in the PS4 version.

See video here:

Title screen for this alternate demo

The Shrine of Worship looks amazing!

PS2 version of the same view - remember, 12 years difference ; )

PS4 Mono on altar - first look on Mono in this new version

Wander on Agro navigating the stairs

Another closeup of Wander - he looks evil!

Is it just me, or does Wander look like he has an evil twin brother? It's like this Wander who, (after killing his twin) decided to make his way to the forbidden lands and take Mono for his own. I mean really, where is the Wander we have come to know and love? Since this screenshot was taken at the start of the #13th colossus, we can surmise his face looks darker and more disheveled because he has taken in a lot more of Dormin's essence.

PS2 Wander face at the #16th colossus - the Wander we know and love ; )

Agro riding open fields

Heading towards the first colossus lair

Black bars during cutscenes

I found this interesting. I liked how they have still maintained the black bars above and below the cut scene, although they are more narrow in the PS4 version compared to the other versions. They could have removed these outright so the the cut scenes filled the entire screen, but they have stayed loyal to the original version and left them in. Note: There is a simple code byte to turn the black bars on and off, I've used it frequently in my videos to show the full screen effect of various cut scenes.

Based on the above image I feel a need to show something that no one has seen before... I have an image of this area taken from an earlier version of the game. It came in the files a user named Liam of 'Random Media' sent me. He worked on the website for Shadow of the Colossus in February, 2006 - see video here: 

You can see (from below) that this is a very early version of the game. There are no clouds, or perhaps the bloom effect has washed them out completely? But there are other details that reveal its antiquity, such as the squared column at the bottom left of the image and the simplicity of the trees.

Earlist version of Valus' gate image I have ever seen!

Valus' gate - OPM demo

You can see the enormous difference here! Even the earliest (OPM demo) we have looks nothing like this very early screen capture taken by some lucky person in February 2006. It's clear this person had access to a very early demo or full version of the game as the lighting and textures are orange in colour instead of the grey/green colour pallet of the later versions. To prove this, one only has to watch one of the early NICO dvd videos which show a similar 'orange' colour pallet (see below example):

Valus stairs from the NICO dvd

To be fair, we can't say definitively that these stairs led to the first colossi's arena in these early NICO images, but it's clear the design of the stairs are the same. We see the same orange like textures here, and they match the early Valus gate image colour pallet quite well I think. 

PS4 makeshift wooden beams

PS2 makeshift wooden beams

PS4 climbable column

I'm not going to show everything about the first colossus lair as it's very similar to the PS2/PS3 versions, except with updated graphics. Also, I don't want to spoil the experience with too many details... for now I'll just feature where there are obvious differences between versions.

Notice the detail on the broken tree stump

PS4 Valus!

Blood red mist eminates from the weak spots

Now, here's something really interesting! As soon as Wander jumps on and grabs hold of Valus' leg, a red mist can be seen emanating from the weak spot. The mist surrounds Wander and acts like a beacon as to where he must stab his sword. The weak spot still glows with a blue light, but now we see this added detail of the red mist. When Wander stabs the weak spot, the same black substance spurts from the wound.

Note: There is a codebreaker code (found by Bungholio - one of the early hackers of the game) that turns the dust into a blood red colour. Although this code doesn't show the weak spot on Valus' leg turning red, it's very similar in concept. Here Wander, Agro and Valus' footfalls are converted to a blood red colour. See video here:

Closeup of Wander on PS4 Valus

Wander slays Valus - same as original version

Upper window of temple is filled with debris

You can see the arched doorway is filled with debris that is spilling out from behind. Over the eons, sand and erosion have filled these voids until they overflow. In the PS2 version, it looks like a dark doorway from below sparking early speculation that this door could somehow be reached and might lead to a secret location. This image puts the final nail into the idea that the upper temple door may have led to something. Not that we really believed it - but there was always a small hope that there was something more to this enigmatic doorway ; ) Note: In the Last Guardian, there are many arched doorways or windows that look very similar to this, overflowing with mud or stone that has hardened over the centuries.

Wander struck by the black tendrils

Here we see Wander actually spews out the darkness from his mouth!

Wander continues to vomit out the darkness that he has ingested

Are those dark symbols we can see in the above image? Or is this just my imagination? It looks like there are three identical symbols/icons here, much like what we saw in The Last Guardian when the stone knights would attack the boy, although in that game there were many varieties of icons. We also saw this at the end when the Master of the Valley was attacked, it would also send out a multitude of magical icons to repel the boy's attack.

PS4 Wander lies prostrate on the ground

PS4 - Wander is surrounded by Shadow creatures

Note: The image above is from the demo with the 1st and 13th colossus, as such, once you defeat the first colossus (Valus), the next scene we see in the Shrine of Worship shows 12 shadow entities surrounding Wander. In the actual game, you would only see two shadow entities standing above Wander.

Wander is revived and ready for the next colossus

Updated PS4 version of Dormin's occulus

PAL PS2 version of Dormin's occulus
2nd Colossus - Quadratus
All I have seen of the 2nd colossus is from the E3 and TGS 2017 trailers, these show the usual scenes we have seen before but with upgraded graphics. Here are some screenshots I took for this blog post.

The cliff wall disintegrates as the massive colossus breaks through

Here the detail of the wall has been exponentially upgraded opposed to the PS2/PS3 versions where just a few large chunks of debris fell to the ground.  

PS4 Quadratus seen for the first time - the eyes are much brighter it seems

PS2 Quadratus breaking the door

 Wander rides toward the enormous quadruped

Closeup of Quadratus skin texture
3rd Colossus - Gaius
As this is one of the most popular and beloved colossi in the game it's no surprise that Gaius is featured quite extensively in the available videos. As such, there is a huge amount of new details to discover about its arena and surrounding landscape. Note: The screen captures taken here vary in quality. Some have a greenish hue to them as they were recorded from a tv set, the others (taken from the French video) are much better and I believe were uploaded directly from the PS4 console.

On our way to the 3rd colossus - let's stop and take in the view

Crossing the updated land bridge

We make our way to the canyon that leads to the third colossus

Through the canyon

Lovely updated willow tree introduces us to our next colossus arena

Comparison of the PS2 trees - they are really quite different

Agro stands sentinel as Wander runs off to face his next foe

The canopy is now moored via chains to these huge sunken columns

What the hell! How did these get here? Here we see a new feature of the game that was intentionally added by Bluepoint games... again, who gave them permission to add these new assets? Was ueda OK with this? In fact we can see a lot of new chains hanging down from the underside of the canopy that were missing in previous versions. 

This in some way may explain a really 'out of the way' theory that surfaced very early on about this area, that is, some players thought this huge cylindrical structure may have been an alien spaceship that had landed eons ago in this strange land! Perhaps these chained columns were put there to prevent this wondrous spacecraft from leaving? As you might expect, this is just a flight of fantasy, this arena was built to house the 3rd colossus, nothing more! But why these new mooring chains have been added is a mystery, except perhaps that it looks really cool :)

PS4 ramp

PS2 ramp

I managed to match this view exactly in the PS2 version so you can see the difference between the two versions. Apart from the obvious added details in the PS4 version, such as the weeds growing from between the cracks in the ramp and the updated lighting effects, I think the PS2 version still holds up pretty well ; )

View of ramp and mooring column

Nice detail of the PS4 ramp

PS4 standing column in the distance

PS2 version of the standing column

Wander ready to jump from the PS4 standing column

View of surrounding tablelands

View of PS2 tablelands

Just look at the detail in the PS4 image, I mean 'Wow!' There is just so much more to this version than we have ever experienced before. Again, I am just blown away by the amount of work that must have gone into this new version. If you compare this to the PS2 version you can see just how far apart they are. I know I should have been using the updated PS3 version to make these comparisons, but I have no way to capture hi-res images from my PS3 console, so I'm stuck with using the PCSX2 emulator.

I think when I first play the PS4 version I might just spend a few hours exploring each region before the colossus is loaded there, that is to visit each colossus arena out of turn, so the arenas are empty. This way, I can take my time to see each new colossus arena without being hampered by an enormous living mountain that wants to crush me! I'm also looking forward to visiting each arena once the colossus has been slain, so I can climb all over their desiccated corpses ; )  

Closeup view of the surrounding lands

Wander skirting the outer perimeter of the arena

Notice the multitude of cobblestones shown here

Gaius in its dormant state - camouflaged as a pile of rocks

The mighty colossus sits up

Wander is unseen by the behemoth!

Giaus slams down its club

Wander hangs on!

PS4 Central circular platform - surrounded by more added cobblestones

PS2 Central circular platform - devoid of cobblestones

Great shot of Gaius in mid attack

Closeup of Gaius' feet

Giaus' eyes glow red

PS4 Gaius has a thicker neck

PS2 Gaius - notice how much thinner its head looks

This was one of the first real differences players noticed when first seeing the E3 trailer, Gaius seems to have a much fatter head! Did Gaius somehow gain weight? Perhaps Bluepoint Games wanted to show a more robust looking colossus, or perhaps it was just a creative decision? In any case, I prefer the classic Gaius compared to the new one... it just looks weird to me. In fact you'll notice that even its torso is wider than before, it's as if they have stretched Gaius out laterally to make it appear not as skinny as before. Note: The above image is from a hack I did where I moved Gaius to the Desert Temple at #15's arena.
PS4 Gaius in its death throes

Wander again spewing out the darkness
13th Colossus - Phalanx
And finally, our first look at the most adored fan favourite - Phalanx. Not only do almost all fans across the board rate this colossus as their favourite, it's also the largest colossus in the game. If I had to say why this colossus is rated so well, I would guess that it's one of the most passive colossi in the game. It has no intention of hurting Wander, and in fact, it may not even notice this tiny person running all over its huge body, much like when an ant crawls up our arm, we can feel it, but it's in no way a threat to us.

It's only when Wander pulls out the ancient sword and stabs Phalanx that it's alerted to the danger! For the first time in age upon age, it understands that it's in real danger of being killed! Its defense is to roll in mid air, hoping to dislodge the tiny intruder... Sadly, this has no effect... and as it has no other defenses to draw upon, this small adventurous warrior holds all the cards! 

Wander on his way to the 13th colossus

#13th temple

Again - we see each block of stone has been upgraded here

Phalanx rises majestically out of the desert sands

An awesome colossus!

Wander rides after Phalanx - bow at the ready!

Sneak Peek at PS4 Kuromori - Colossus #8
A recent video has emerged where two of the head designers at Bluepoint games talk about the new PS4 build. In this video, Peter Dalton (Technical Director) and Marco Thrush (President) discuss the various challenges they were faced with in rebuilding Shadow of the Colossus for the PS4. Here we get to see a huge amount of new material never before seen... such as a multitude of new ruins surrounding the Shrine of Worship. These huge blocks of stone look like they have fallen to the ground over the eons, due to erosion over the vast spans of time. See video here:

I have taken many screenshots of this video but will only display the most pertinent ones as I don't want to spoil the experience for those of us who want to play the game in February 2017 without too many spoilers.

We start out at just around the corner of the entrance to #8's cave

Notice the detail on the mountains

Heading into Kuromori's cave

View of waterfall in the background

Land bridge is the same as the PAL (PS2/PS3 versions)

On July 18th 2009, I noticed that there was a difference between the NSTC (US) version bridge compared to the later PAL (European) bridge. In the US version the bridge has voids on either side, that is it's a narrow bridge that spans the gap and is not part of the cliff wall. In the later PAL/PS3 versions, the bridge is butted up against the cliff wall. The PS4 version therefore, is the same as the latest retail versions.

I was the first person to notice this as I was lucky enough to have both versions. I got the PAL version first, and it was my obsession to Agro launch up onto the ruined temple you see at the edge of the lake. I had seen a video by 'Baxtertimewell' where he Agro launched up there, but when I tried I could never make it. But once I got the US version however, I launched up there of my first try! But this feat remained impossible in the PAL version, so it's safe to assume there will be no way to Argo launch up onto this temple in the PS4 version.

Update: I recently found that old Baxtertimewell video backed up on a USB flash drive I had in my desk drawer. The video was made by Baxter when 'Google video' was active. It was discontinued in 2009 when Google acquired Youtube. See video here:

Stone column seen on the bridge leading to the ruined temple

Sunlit area at the end of the earth bridge

Our first look at the PS4 ruined temple - I call this the 'Temple Island'

PS2 Temple island comparison

As richly detailed and verdant the PS4 version is, there's something to be said about the simple beauty of the PS2 version. This has always been one of my favourite areas to explore in the game. It has a special quality of its own and is unique as it's the only arena that has a temple that leads to another area (the anti-chamber) which then leads to the Colosseum where we fight the colossus. So there are three parts (models) to this arena compared to all the other colossi which only have one.

A forest of trees surrounds the small temple island

Here we see more details that were available in the PS2/PS3 versions

Notice this new huge overgrown structure on the cliff wall

PS2 version just shows a bare cliff wall in the same area

Another shot revealing the updated assets

PS2 version of the same shot

Finally, we get a better looks at Wander's face

Still looks a little weird to me... something about his nose maybe, or his eyes being set too far apart? I don't know, until we can really get a nice closeup shot of Wander's face I'll reserve judgement for now. See further below for some extra shots.

Wander looking up at the cliffs surrounding the lake

PS2 cliff walls comparison

Notice these new temple structures on top of the cliffs!

This really peaked my interest! It appears to be another temple complex set high up on the surrounding cliff walls. Notice there are more waterfalls as well not seen in previous versions. When it comes to man-made structures being added to the game, I'm very interested in exploring these. I want to see Wander standing up there one day looking down at the temple island complex ; ) 

Closer view of the cliff top temple

View of the temple

Closeup of the stone blocks

Wander running down into the bowels of the temple

Wander reaches the anti-chamber with columns lit with fire

Somehow after all these long years - the fires still burn

PS2 anti-chamber torch columns - notice how different the lighting is

Updated view of the roof

PS2 roof view - it looks very crude in comparison

A significant part of the level is missing!

The climbable blocks have been removed

This hole with climbable ledges is now missing

In the PS2/PS3 versions Wander first had to jump down into a hole, then climb up a few ledges to reach the other side to reach the stairs leading down to Kuromori's colosseum, but in the PS4 version Bluepoint decided to just get rid of them. I have no problem with this decision, as they served no purpose in the game and in fact, where a bit of a nuisance.

Updated cutscene view of window

PS4 Kuromori

PS4 Kuromori showing explosive toxic gas

Death of PS4 Kuromori

Updated PS4 tunnel

You can really see in the PS4 version that this is a tunnel of light that Wander seems to travel through after he has defeated a colossus. I once speculated that the light beams that appear above the dead colossi is what we are seeing here, that is Wander is sucked into these light beams after killing a colossus and sent back to the Shrine of Worship, as all the colossi are linked to their corresponding statues in the temple. So once a colossus is killed, its energy is sent back to the temple destroying its idol statue. See my Light & Dark video here:

PS2 tunnel of light - looks more two dimensional

Closeup view of Wander at the 'after #8 cutscene'

Notice the detail on his sword

Shadow entities

Another closeup shot of Wander's face

View of the distant mountains

View of the moss leading up to the secret garden

I'll be really interested to see what Bluepoint have done with the Secret Garden! At this early stage, it's not possible for anyone to climb up to the garden, as only the demo has been revealed to the public at trade shows. But sooner or later, I expect we will see some video footage of this area. I wonder if Bluepoint will allow access to the upper platform in the garden? Or perhaps (unlikely) access to the higher parts of the temple?

Wander & Agro head towards Avion

Here the video ends, but I'm sure there will be more than enough new material in this version to keep my Youtube channel going for a few years yet! I'm really looking forward to playing this version, as I hope you are as well ; )


  1. Awesome analysis as expected Nomad. I agree, the PS4 remastered green field, standalone tree scene of the opening cutscene is very impressive. From the scenes we have been shown as of yet, I think that scene has been the most dramatically improved upon. My eyes lit up when I first seen it. I also agree that from what we can currently make out, the revamped Wander face is a disappointment. He seems to have been completely remade into a different looking character. The original Wander face will remain the best. I appreciate your work and insights you have contributed to the Shadow of the Colossus fan community as well Nomad.

    1. Thanks ; ) I look forward to providing more material (blogs & videos) when the game appears next year!

  2. I think it's cool that you're looking forward to the new version and not apprehensive about whatever changes Bluepoint will make. I would have thought you to be one of thd "PS2 version is the only version" purists :p

    I have this argument with FF7 fans about the Remake: We'll always have the originals no matter what changes are in the remakes.

    I'm slightly apprehensive about Ueda not being directly involved. But it looks like Bluepoint is doing their best to stay true to his vision, and I love everything I've seen in the trailers so far. (Just hope Wander's face isn't as ugly as it looked in the first screens.)

    Also, 7 months from announcement to release is INCREDIBLE! Sadly I think a release schedule like that for an HD game is impossible for a lot of Japanese developers these days.

  3. The only oportunity to add the removed colossus and they waste it like this lmao

    1. The opportunity they have, however they do not want to use it.

    2. BR é irreconhecivel SHUHUSHEUHSUHUE

    3. É tão "irreconhecível" que você reconheceu...

  4. I'm so incredibly excited about this! I've been trying to find out what the Life Sword is that's included in the preorder from the Playstation store. Do you have any idea? I'd rather own a hard copy of the game, but I don't want to miss out on anything.

  5. They announced an exclusive edition that's not even expensive. Check it out, it mentions "digital extras"...
    Anyway this remake is an important chance, they surely didn't include any beta content, but everything that has been enhanced from the previous versions will be a confirmation of old theories. For example the makeshift bridge to Valus remained, so they still want you to know that people tried to reach it before you did.

  6. Nomad, I am an artist, and one of the reasons for my love of art now is having played this game as a child. <3 Recently, I have decided to progress from my pencil drawings (seen here: to sculpting with modeling clay. My first project? You guessed it; Colossi. I wanted to ask if you would perhaps be interested in helping me out. What I need, and cannot seem to find, is closeup shots of virtually every part of the Colossi without them moving so I can look at a still shot as I work. I could attempt to do this mysel on my PS4 Pro when this remake releases, but I thought you may have a better way of doing it by freezing the Colossi instead. I'm not technilogically inclined, so I'm hoping you would be willing to help me. I'll undoubtedly give you plenty of credit for your help and send you pictures of the sculptures I make! I intend for Gaius to be my first, as he seems to be the simplest to structure. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in! Thanks so much for the many years of incredible stories. I've read your posts for countless years and have loved SotC since it launched when I was much younger. Thanks again! ~ Nikki

    1. In fact, if you would prefer to communicate with me directly, you can email me at :)

  7. No extra colossi atleast as extra content? Sorry Sony, you won't have my money for this game.

    1. Please forgive it. You don't need extra content. I feel this game is like a film. And most films I don't want extra content. Maybe directors commentary if there is a question I really hope is answered. But this isn't a game where you need extra modes and the like.

  8. I was looking at ign's newest post on the remake and the secret coin they found. The trophy unlocked was named "boon of the nomad" I feel like this has to be named after you. But what could it do? 17th colossus?

    1. That's awesome! Just rediscovered this blog and so happy to see Nomad back. So much respect!

  9. Can you show us the secret garden in ps4 version? Still the same way to get in there?

  10. I know this is an off-topic question regarding the Remake, but have you seen this yet?

    Because it's a possible hint of Fumito Ueda's fourth game!

  11. Hey Nomad! I don't remember if I ever linked you to the videos of me building the Colossus with the reference you provided me several years ago. I finally finished the sculpture, and I'm posting the making of videos as fast as I can edit them. Here's some photos of the finished piece.

    And here's the playlist for the videos.

  12. Nomad, i´d like to interview you. How can i reach you?
    Please take into account that im no professional, let alone a blogger. im just a fourteen year old and id like to ask you some questions.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Yes, I made it myself using screen shots from the game. I actually made a video about it here:

  15. Hi! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!
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