Sunday, July 31, 2011

3rd Colossus

A giant canopy soars to the heavens... 
the anger of the sleeping giant shatters the earth...

Developer Name: Knight
Fan Name: Gaius (Terrestris Veritas) - Earth Knight
Location Name: Arena

Colossus 3 Hints
- The armor it wears seems brittle...
- The colossus's sword shall be thy path...

The Knight's platform features gears and cogs on its underside, like some kind of gigantic clockwork mechanism. You can see these when you are running up the curved platform. It was speculated that some action could start the platform turning, perhaps opening up an unseen passage, but again it was just a dream... There's plenty of space underneath the platform so this would have been a very cool place to put a secret. I once heard rumors of an easter egg at #3's area that had to do with the clockwork mechanism but nothing ever eventuated. 

Gaius sleeps as eons of time pass by

Gaius starts laying flat on his platform, like it's sleeping. From a distance it looks like a jumbled pile of rocks but is triggered by any vibration on the platform. After who knows how long, it is finally awoken from its long sleep by a tiny human intruder (Wander), but it appears he was not the first to summon this enormous golem from its slumber!

Earlier version of the Knight

Above we can see Gaius has yet to be triggered by Wander, but we see a beam of light shooting up into the heavens! This would suggest that in this incarnation of the game, the light beams acted as sign posts for the colossi before Wander's sword was imbued with its colossus seeking light beam. So after each colossus battle Wander would just head towards the next light beam in the distance until he reached his destination. There are quite a lot of older images that feature this light beam while the colossus is active in their arena suggesting this was how the game was played in earlier builds.

Sometime during development, Ueda decided that a better way to find the colossi would be to use the ancient sword. A beam of light would point the way to your next foe. This idea works as it gives the sword a more magical feel, not only can it kill a colossus but also acts as a divining rod to find them.

Twin Boulder Bridge
On the way to the third colossus you travel up a dark canyon, you see some black tailed lizards then pass under what looks like a natural stone bridge made from two large boulder like slabs. Perhaps these boulders slid down from a higher ridge in times past or perhaps they are not a natural feature but were placed there by some colossal force or a forgotten people? Note: There is no legitimate way to reach the top of the boulders as the canyon has invisible walls that push you back down, so even the best standing Agro launch will not get you up there.

Top of boulder bridge

Cliffs above boulder bridge

View of the giant canopy from the cliffs

This is the only colossus that features two different cutscenes when you first enter the arena, one from the South and another from the West. It's the same cutscene just viewed from different angles but as this arena has two entrances instead of one like all the other colossi, Team ICO had to add an extra cutscene. Note: In earlier builds of the game there was only one entrance to the arena, but it seems Team ICO were in two minds about from which direction it should lead, as both were considered. 

E2 OPM demo map - low res and opening cutscene map squares

E2 Preview/PAL low res + NTSC/PAL hi res map squares

In the above maps we see a single southern entrance in the OPM demo but in the low res map squares from the PAL and Preview versions of the game (extracted with the SotC viewer) we see a single western path leading to #3's lair. The right half of the above map shows the final configuration with the current twin paths.

The Curved Ramp
After the cutscene you are presented with one of the most beautiful and impressive environments in the game. There's a wonderful stillness about this place and the atmosphere seems shrouded in a dark fog or mist that softens the surrounding hills into mono coloured peaks and troughs. It's not oppressive in any way but you do feel a slight sense of anxiety as to what awaits. You stand at the shore of a misty lake, across the water is a large stone ramp that curves up to the top of an enormous rock outcropping topped with a structured platform, clearly designed by something, and it seems old, very old indeed.

A ruined ramp curves up to the top of an enormous structure

Broken blocks under the water

Close up of blocks (I have removed the water effects here)

Again, the great age of these ruins can be seen in the fallen and broken blocks. I have surmised in many of my blogs posts about such ruins, perhaps the forbidden lands suffered a great earthquake at one point, there may even have been a greater catastrophe that laid waste the once fertile lands? Could it be that when Dormin realized what was happening (i.e. it was being severed into component parts) that it lashed out with one last, final, immensely powerful blow, desolating the lands? Whatever the reason, the ramp has suffered damage and parts of it are upturned under the lake. Note: You need to hack the game to see these broken blocks clearly (as in image above). See this part in my invisible water video here:

Top of ramp - how did the original structure once look?

Top of higher block - notice the broken face

Top of higher block looking back at the ramp

Top of ramp with an extra block added

With the face of the higher block broken we can be sure another block once joined to it. So above I have added another block to simulate what this would have looked like. Problem is it doesn't join up with the lower ramp, so we can speculate that whatever caused the ramp to fail and fall apart caused this dislocation creating the gap that Wander now has to jump across. At one time these blocks neatly joined together, allowing one to run all the way up to the higher platform, from there you can easily jump across to the main circular platform.

And above is what the ramp looked in an earlier build of the game. This screen shot was taken from the first official Shadow of the Colossus website (October 2005), it's also found on the NICO dvd. It shows the ramp leading right up to the main platform (canopy) without any breaks (although this may be off screen), but clearly there is something different about the ramp. Look at the ramp supports, they are on inclined angles whereas in the final versions these supports are vertical.

The Platform (The Giant Canopy)
You can see below how this enormous platform weighing many hundreds of tonnes has shifted down to the east as if the rocks supporting it were crushed under some immense force. Of course we can't be sure the platform was designed this way, but it seems evident that it was once level and has since partly collapsed, perhaps in the same calamity that caused the ramp blocks to fall into the lake?

Platform tilted to the east

I measured the height of the platform to be 30 metres

Spaceship Gaius! This is how it looks in the final cutscene

Preview version 'shiny' platform

In an earlier build of the retail game (dubbed by fans as the Preview version) you can see how the central stone circle is very polished in this version, almost as if it's a mirror reflecting the sky above. Perhaps Team Ico wanted to show how this was made of metal instead of stone?

Circular platform from the PSM magazine CD video

In the PSM (Playstation magazine) issue #102 from October 2005, you received a CD that contained a 17 minute video of the 'enigmatic' 3 colossi demo. I have searched and searched for this demo but have come up empty. I 'm sure it exists out there somewhere, gathering dust in someones's drawer at one of the many game magazines who received this demo to play and review. In the video, Valus has already been defeated and the player spends most of the video trying to take down Quadratus (#2). The unnamed player was clearly a n00b as he/she doesn't seem to have any idea what to do, most probably a first attempt at the game. Not until 16 minutes in does the player fight Gaius, only to be quickly dispatched by its club.

But in a few frames we can see what the circular platform looked like in this early demo (image above). It looks more like the final version but a little different, however it's hard to tell from this low res image (captured from the video). See video here:

Final version central platform seems to be a mix of the PSM video and Preview version

Wander standing on the cracked plate before the battle

This I think is the best evidence of a previous battle. The central circular plate is clearly cracked in the center. It's like this 'before' Wander arrives indicating that the Knight had slammed its club down on it this circular plate in the past. This would explain why its armor is brittle (as Dormin hints) as it had slammed it against the plate before. This raises the question, how many strikes would it take to damage its armor? Surely not just once but perhaps many times, so by the time Wander arrives its armor is old and at the end of its tolerance. See previous Wanders Theory post here:

In an even earlier version there was no circular plate in the centre of the arena, but rather four square plates arranged in a larger square with a diamond shaped design inside each one. This was when the Knight had a sword for an arm rather than a rectangular club. It would sweep the sword across the ground in order to knock Wander off his horse.

Mock up shot of what the four platforms looked like

How these four square shaped plates helped Wander defeat the colossus is unknown, as it makes no sense that the 'swiping' action could damage its armor. Perhaps it also smashed its sword down in another attack? Like we see in the final version, Gaius has two attacks with its club... one slams down vertically, the other stretches its arm out in a horizontal attack. If you look very carefully at the above image, you will see Agro standing on one of the square plates (right in the centre). So my idea is that Agro was drawn to stand on one of these plates, when Wander climbs onto the horse this triggers Gaius to use its second attack, breaking its sword and allowing Wander to climb up somehow (?) And as I've said probably too many times, this is sheer speculation!

Strange rock shape can been seen on the edge of the platform

At one time, this strange shaped rock (above image) was considered a possible secret ; ) Could this be some sort of box or chest that can be opened to reveal a secret? The answer, as always with this game is a definitive 'no'. It appears to be some debris left over from a previous colossus battle with Gaius. However, this does lend credence to my theory of previous Wanderers... Sadly, you can't pick it up or interact with it in any way, it's just a strange oblong shaped rock found at the edge of Gaius' platform, what it is or why it's there is another mystery, but perhaps it's just another piece of nondescript debris that was thrown here in times past. 

Concept sketch from the art book

Early concept design of the Knight on its platform

Note: In the above sketch we can see a spiral path circling around the lower cliffs of the platform, so it's clear you once had to travel this long circuitous path to reach the top. It seems this was too similar to #7's (Hydrus') tower, or it might have been this concept was carried over to #7's arena? Whatever the reason, at the third colossi's lair they decided to put a ramp leading up to the top instead. It's interesting to see the Knight is already active 'before' Wander has reached its domain, of course, this may be the result of Wander leaving the area before he had defeated the colossus, but from the context of the image it seems to me that Wander is experiencing his first glimpse of the colossus he must defeat from a great distance.

OPM Demo
Below we see #3's arena from the introduction of the OPM demo. I froze the cutscene then found Wander's position coordinates to move him around (you can see the saddle reins are stretched out behind Wander). The platform is missing here, but a large circular depression exists where the platform will eventually stand. Strangely, this area has higher resolution textures that Wander can move right up to without them melting away. Most of the beta areas in the demo consist of low resolution textures, so why this area is different is a mystery. There's also a path leading to the south which you can see on the beta map but which doesn't exist in the demo itself or in the final release of the game.

Missing platform in the intro

Beta path shown on the map but not in the game

This would have been another entrance to #3's lair
Gaius at D2
Here I moved Gaius to those towers at D2 next to the Stone Arch Gorge save shrine before it is activated. Only problem is when I move a colossus away from its area the surrounding land has no collision detection so I can't ride around it or anything unless I use the invisible save stone platform (which takes a while to set up). When I activate Gaius, it reappears at its normal area... I was hoping it would get up and walk around here but it doesn't.

The Knight sleeping at G2 (Stone Arch Gorge)

I have Agro floating in the above image, so she's stuck where she is - WWWArea found this hack which we call the 'standing hack'. You can put Wander or Agro at any location that has no collision detection and it appears as if they are standing there.

Gaius in the Lake
Here I put Gaius in the lake below its platform. The colossus is completely solid here so I can climb it etc. although it's frozen like a statue. I need to use its gravity code to keep it floating or else it just falls through the ground (or in this instance the lake ; ) Note: I'm referring to all the colossi as 'it' as they have no genders. They are not biological animals with different sexes, rather creations of some kind. Although how they were created and by what or whom is still a mystery.

Wander standing on the Knight's sword (just below the waterline)

Gaius Outside Hydrus' Lake
Here I used a code that warps Giaus north. It can walk around and I can control it by pressing X to walk and R1 to stop walking or walk backwards. It will also do its attacks and other movements. It works here as its close enough to its own area (just to the north in this case). So first I moved it up near Hydrus' lair (#7) - see below.

Gaius Outside the Desert Temple
This is tedious to set up but the result is worth it. I have to first activate Gaius, then go to the desert temple and lock it with the 'No Land Hack' code so that it stays loaded, return to #3's area and find its gravity codes etc. > warp it out of its arena, then as Gaius, walk to the Desert Temple.

Once there I can walk around the temple but it has no substance, so Gaius walks right through it. I can then bring Wander and Agro to the temple but have to keep them in place with their standing hacks, and Gaius freezes. So there's no way to fight the colossus outside its arena. If I shift the camera to Gaius, Wander freezes and I no longer have any controls for the colossus. 

Gaius Outside the Desert Temple
And here's Snowman Gaius! I adjusted its contrast code but you get the same result if you increase its size. Wander and Gaius are actually way outside of the forbidden lands here, I was messing around with codes that 'warp' Wander and Gaius. I can move Gaius around here, but it's like it's walking on nothing and Wander is frozen.

Mini Gaius - just a little taller than Wander

Ghost Giaus - with its armor and face missing ; )

Close up of ghost Gaius

Looking down on the Knight and its platform from high above

Wander on club in mid swing

I froze Gaius to take these pictures
Shadow of the Colossus Viewer
Below we can see a wonderful image of #3's arena - which incidentally is called 'Arena' by the developers of the game. Matheus Eduardo has recently remade the Dormin model viewer into an easy, user friendly application that anyone can use. Before Matheus it was a very tedious task to install, index and run the Dormin model viewer... and more often than not, it would give an unexpected error and fail to work - very frustrating to say the least! But now, thanks to Matheus, it is a pleasure to use : )

Download it here:

SotC Viewer screenshot of the 'Arena' model

So using this new found application I can explore the models in the game much more easily and coincidentally, in my first attempt I found some unusual structures under the 'Arena' model. 

If you have never used the Dormin model viewer before you wouldn't understand the difference this new application presents. Before Matheus you had to install three different applications (Mingw, Ocaml and Python), then copy and paste various files into specific folders onto a virtual drive. Then you had to index the game disc, which took about 10 minutes, if all went well you could then use the CMD (Command) console to input lines of code to run the application. If you were lucky the application would work and you could view the various models, textures and animations of the game, but each model required a separate command to be viewed. If you wanted animations you had to add these to the command input based on the 'index' text that was extracted from the NICO.dat file.

I always had problems with this method and invariably it would give me some archaic error that I had no idea how to solve. My only solution was to contact the original creator 'Youmoosotc' or Malc for assistance and then wait for a response. Granted, he always did get back to me with possible solutions to my problems but in some cases they didn't help.

 Strange structures below the circular platform

They seem to be upside down versions of what's above the waterline?

Arena model platform ledge - closeup

You can see in the above images that there appears to be a ledge down deep under the water of the arena. You can also see some structures that appear to resemble the platforms Wander must climb to reach the circular platform where the third colossus resides. So the answer is simple. These structures are the reflections of the models above the water line! So to be sure I took Wander down below the water in the game (I used the Preview version) and this is what I found.

Above we can see the reflection models of the ramp structures Wander must jump to in order to reach the main circular platform. Here Wander is way down deep under the water where these 'reflection' models exist. They have no collision detection so I used the standing hack to explore them, so it's like Wander is standing on a solid structure where no solid structure exists. I couldn't turn off the water effects so that is why the above images have a 'wobbly' effect. But that these structures exist at all is just another reason why I love exploring this game so much! After five years of searching I am still surprised by what is there in the game that I have never seen before. 

Arena reflection in the lake - I changed the 'mist' code to enhance the reflections here

Arena platform without the mist effect - an amazing design!

SotC Viewer snapshot of the strange structures under the platform

These structures always intrigued me. They serve no purpose in the game but are clearly visible when running up the curved ramp on the way to the main circular arena. What do they represent? Are they engines that could propel the arena up into the sky? Some have even suggested that the 'Arena' is an alien space craft that has landed in the forbidden lands! To me, they resemble the cages we see under the main bridge in ICO, perhaps an homage to the earlier game? Kyle Shubel (the US localisation manager for Shadow of the Colossus) said in an interview that #3's arena had a 'clockwork mechanism', so we can assume that these structures were designed to give that impression.

Wander's view of the Shrine of Worship from the surrounding plateau

 View of surrounding plateau (or mesa) from the circular platform

View of 'Arena' from the surrounding mesa

Panned out view from the surrounding mesa lands

Distance view of the platform

A vast desolation surrounds the lake
The E3 Anomaly
Here's something strange. WWWArea found this (26-06-13). I did tweet at the time that he had found something new but no one, it seems, was interested ; ) 'WWWArea had found a new secret in Shadow of the Colossus!' Not the traditional secret I'll grant you but still something never before seen in the game - and to me that 'is' something special!

Strange jagged shape directly under the copse of trees

Has no collision detection

A massive triangular, angular amorphous shape!

After the discovery (as is our way via online chat) WWWArea and I discussed various theories as to what this weird thing might be. The answer has to do with the reflections discussed above with the ramp and platform, this appears to be a reflection of the trees you see when you first enter the arena. The E3 anomaly (as I called it) is directly under the trees, so it seems this is a warped version of the trees, upside down and skewed into these weird triangular shapes.

Gaius Death Screen
Image you see when Wander dies during the fight with Gaius.


  1. Thanks for the fan art reconstruction! Narudez here!

  2. "Ghost Giaus - with his armor and face missing ;)"

    Jesus,looks more like a biological aberration,or a failed experience,and it's creepy! ><
    But very cool anyway XD

    Wow,Wander and Mini-Gaius could do a swords fight now :O

  3. the differs of giaus are awseome as well as this entire article