Monday, September 16, 2013

Versions & Builds

Here I will be listing all versions of the game that I know of including the three publicly released demos and any other versions that we only have a few minutes of video footage to prove they ever existed. There seem to be many variations of the game that were produced and it can be difficult matching one piece of video footage to a particular version, but I'll do my best ; ) 

But first I have a few dates of interest about the release of the final version.
- Team Ico had testers come in only a month or two after they started development
- They developed Shadow of the Colossus at a studio in Nakano Sakaue
- They decided on the title in August 2004 (Wanda to kyozou)
- On 10/09/2004 they had a press conference about the game and performed 
  the main theme with an orchestra
- On 18/05/2005 they demoed a test version at E3
- In July 2005 they completed the alpha version
- In September 2005 they completed the beta version
- On 16/09/2005 they featured a trial version at the Tokyo game show (demo)
- Finished up development of the North American version in September
- Released American version on 18/10/2005
- They had a release party on 26th October
- The Japanese version was released the next day 27/10/2005

Let's start off with the NICO dvd videos as they are the earliest builds of the game. The NICO dvd was a pre-order bonus dvd that was sent to those who reserved their copy of Shadow of the Colossus when it first appeared in Japan.
Menu screen (translated by Glitterberi)

NICO development concept reel

Was planned to be a multi-player game

Unique angular cliffs

Narrow rock promontories - the long stone bridge makes its first appearance

Early concept of what evolved into Quadratus (#2)

Notice the broken horn - this remains in all future builds

We don't know much about this demo except that it was designed to show the heads of Sony what concept they had in mind for their next game and apparently it was a successful demonstration ; ) According to the few snippets of information I have gathered from the Collector's Edition art book they made a playable demo of this version that allowed four players to participate in the game, presumably to take down this single colossus (as in the video). So there is a playable demo of the NICO trailer in the archives of Team Ico somewhere, just waiting to be played again!

Images from the NICO dvd
Alpha Build
I call this the Alpha build as it's the earliest version I know of after the NICO concept reel. As far as I know this was the first build Team Ico produced and it shows when you see how rudimentary the colossi look. Identified by the very simple HUD (Heads Up Display) design, a red and blue bar indicating Wander's health, there is no evidence of a grip meter or weapons symbol. We only get to see four of the Alpha colossi, Quadratus (#2), Avion (#5), Basaran (#9) and Phalanx (#13). Perhaps these were the only colossi developed at this early stage but from what I can gather the Spider colossus also seemed to be underway as well. Wander has horns like Ico and a blue vest but Agro looks virtually unchanged as in later versions.

Early HUD design - a simple health bar

A vast desert plain

The sky is very different than later versions featuring individual clouds

Early mammoth design - later developed into Quadratus (#2)

Early bird design - later developed into Avion (#5)

Early turtle design - later developed into Basaran (#9)

Early snake design - later developed into Phalanx (#13)
Blue Vest Version
I have identified this version via Wander's blue vest and the 'd' shaped' HUD we see in the videos. Wander now has a health and grip meter as well as a weapons icon. When Wander is facing a colossus in this version the colossi's health icon was very different, it featured a representation of the colossus itself with a lighted area indicating the weak area you had to attack. Perhaps at this stage the sword played no role in determining where the weak spot was? Some show the colossus icon as well as a small health bar underneath it, while others show only the colossi icon. So again, we may be looking at two different versions here, or perhaps the lower health bar disappeared periodically? We can speculate they removed this feature from the game as it made the battle too easy, not knowing where the weak points are makes the game more challenging.

Early version of #1's entrance with the 'd' shaped HUD

Wander chasing Valus showing the unique colossus health icon

Strange cylinder shaped tower on a flat desert plain

The Knight (Gaius #3) lives on a flat desert plain

The very first version of Gaius (the Knight) we know of comes from the NICO dvd. In this version there is no high circular plateau we see in later versions, rather the knight is found standing in the middle of a vast flat desert plain. The colossus has a flat sword type weapon instead of its usual rectangular shaped club, more like the weapon Argus (#15) has in the final version. Perhaps you would ride Agro close enough to make it attack you then jump off and grab hold of the sword?

Notice the stone plate design on the desert floor

There are four of these stone plates surrounding the colossus

Photoshop montage of the stone plates

Gaius slides its sword along the ground in order to knock Wander off Agro and presumably to injure him, but how were the plates used in the battle? Could Gaius have also used the sword as it uses the club today, hitting one of the stone plates to shatter its armour? You may notice in the image above that Agro is standing on one of the plates (sorry about the image quality btw, I used still frames from the NICO video) so it may be that you lured Gaius to attack you when you were riding over the plates and this somehow gave you a chance to grab onto the sword.

Kirin's hill (or an early version of Phaedra's arena - #4)

Sketch of Kirin's hill from the Collectors Edition art book

Phalanx (#13) has red symbols on its wings in this version

You can see the top of the colossus icon here

A clear view of #13's health icon - red wing symbols are hard to see here

Phalanx had blue fur in this version

The artbook says "In the beginning, you’d defeat it by cutting a muscle within an opening that contained its weak point"So there was a tendon that stretched across a hole that you had to cut with your sword, it would snap loose like a rubber band and Wander could then get at its weak spot by stabbing the hole. There doesn't appear to be flaps that open and close like we see in the final version, instead they employed this strange method.

Early turtle design with the tip of the colossus health icon showing

Wander trying to keep his balance on the Turtle's back

Sirius with Wander wearing his blue vest

Top of Spider's head

Close up of Wander's blue vest in front of the Worm

Fur texture test showing 'd' shaped HUD

We know from the art book images and NICO videos that all of the 8 discarded colossi were part of this version as well as some of the earlier versions of the 16 colossi in the game today, making it the most interesting build in my opinion. I hope Team Ico still have these old builds in their archives somewhere as it would be a terrible loss to fans and the universe if they had been deleted or thrown out.

2nd Blue Vest Version
Another version can also be seen in the NICO videos, one with a completely redesigned HUD that shows a large weapons icon and next to it a health bar. The green bar above this may be Wander's grip meter but I'm not sure about this as in certain sections you see just the green bar when a colossus is shown, so perhaps this was the colossi's health bar?

Shot of Valus with the green bar showing

Art book image of Malus also shows the green bar

Wander covering his face (to avoid poison gas?)

If you watch this short segment of the NICO video you can see how Wander is covering his face with his left arm as he turns Agro away. It's the same animation we see when fighting #8 (Kuromori) the Gecko when Wander is covering his face to protect himself from the poisonous gas. So my idea is this might be where you fought an early version of the Gecko (Yamori A)? So if the green bar represents the colossus health icon then it would appear that in the above image Wander is very close to a colossus perhaps it's just out of frame?

Remember Dormin's introduction for Kuromori, 'A tail trapped within a pail... deep within the forest...' There is no forest in the final version where you fight the Gecko, it lives in a Roman style colosseum so perhaps you once fought it in a forest. Since the G2 forest was added very late in development it's unlikely it was that forest, I failed to find a match with the video at the Autumn forest at E5 either. However, the forest we see in the opening cut scene seems to have the same style trees and rocks, but again I couldn't find an exact match (see below image). See this part of the video here:

A similar area from the opening cut scene forest
Brown Vest Version
This version has the same 'd' shaped HUD but now Wander's vest is brown. The Knight's arena is now more like the final version with a high plateau surrounded by a stone ring and the sword it wields is now replaced by the club. The colossi health icon is also the same as the blue vest version.

This version of the Knight has a club

Wander's vest is more like the final versions

Wander climbs up the club as in the final versions

A stone ring surrounds the plateau

Central stone disc is missing

The circular platform has small columns protruding from its outside edge which remind me of antenna. It also appears to be in segments surrounding the perimeter of the plateau. You can make out what might be stairs leading up to the platform but whether there was a spiral ramp you had to climb to reach the colossus is unknown. The central stone disc also seems to be missing from this version.

Gaius falls majestically to its death!
Red Haired Version
This version appears to be later than the 'Brown Vest' version but with most of the elements we are familiar with starting to appear in the game. From the images we have, everything appears to be sharper with higher contrast, as if the atmospheric effects had yet to be added, the sky is also a different colour with more of a yellowish tinge. I call it the 'Red Haired' version as Wander's hair is particularly red in these images and his leggings are green. Note: A lot of these images you would have seen before as they are all over the web, but just recently I found some more that I had never seen before.

Wander looks a little different with green leggings and redder hair

Different coloured sky

Featured the earlier (scary) version of Quadratus

The above image show what Quadratus used to look like before it was redesigned into the version we see in the game today (fans call this the 'scary' version). Check it out here:

Iconic image of Gaius used in many web articles

We have all seen the above image before but you can see it's from an earlier version as it shows those antenna type structures in the background surrounding the platform as in the Brown Vest version.

Gaius before activation

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.

Phalanx is darker and doesn't appear to have separate air sacks

You can see it clearer in this image - looks like one long air sack (if that's what it is?)

It's hard to make out as these images were only uploaded at 640 x 480p but Phalanx appears to have blue fur on its topside still which would explain the strange feature on its underside. Perhaps at this stage Wander still had to climb on top of Phalanx and cut the elastic cord that covered each of its three weak points (as discussed above in the 'Blue Vest' version).

Electrical energy on underside of Phalanx

When you look closer at this high res image you will notice the electrical energy emanating from the underside of Phalanx. As we know, Phalanx has three air bags under its body in the retail versions, yet here we see a similarity to Hydrus (the 7th colossus) as it's the only colossus with electrified spines that will shock Wander. So here we have early evidence that Phalanx (the 13th colossus) once had the same electrified underbelly that was later modified to be used with Hydrus, the 7th colossus.

Snake lightning!

This swapping of features between colossi seems to have happened on a few occasions, for instance Valus (the first colossus) originally was meant to crouch down at the temple in its arena, but this was updated and changed to occur at Barba's arena... see video here:

Above we see another early image of some weird electrical discharge surrounding Phalanx! So at one time, Phalanx was electrified and as such, perhaps Wander was wounded when he got close to the electrical energy (as he does with Hydrus)? If so, then it might have been much harder to take down Phalanx than it is today.

Different columns

This image can be found on the inside of the original PAL (European) version that came with four bonus post cards. It shows a scene that doesn't exist in the game today although it would appear to be somewhere near Hydrus' lake as it's the only place with similar spires. Or perhaps a better example exists at D2 (the Stone Arch Gorge) save shrine... here we see a couple of columns that seem to match.

Here I have straightened out the columns so they look more natural

Here we see that the columns at D2 match what was seen above

Spires at the back of Hydrus' lake

Wander and Agro with Valus

It seems in this version you had to fight Valus with the aid of Agro, although how this worked is a mystery. I fail to see how Agro could have helped Wander with this colossus or how it could have made it up the ledges to this high place? You can clearly see the temple in the background and Valus still has birds circling its head. The other images in this series which feature Valus only show Wander, so perhaps this was something the developers played around with then abandoned.

Temple has light behind it as if it were backlit

As mentioned above, there's some text in the code for the first colossus that I always found intriguing called 'temple event'. I always wondered what this 'temple event' could be until I realized that one of the images in the art book explained it. In earlier versions Wander would hide under the temple and Valus would crouch down to look for him, this mechanic was later used for the battle with Barba (#6) and there you had to climb its beard, so I assume you had to jump onto Valus' hand and take hold in order to climb the colossus.

Temple event retouched in Photoshop (original art book shot inset)

Low res entrance to the first colossus

Low res entrance to the first colossus in the PSU demo

I once made a video exploring the low res lands outside the Shrine of Worship in the PSU demo based on a discovery by Tchollo Ventura. When you start a new game (in any version) there are low res lands outside the temple until Wander passes a specific threshold, then the hi-res lands load. So I froze the low res lands and took Wander outside to see what was different. You can see from the above two images that they are the same, so we can see how in this version the entrance to the first colossus still looked like a low res model from a distance. Watch the video here:

Wander and Agro approach the Entrance

Are these shots from the opening cut scene or could you actually visit this area in this version? If they are from the opening cut scene I have never seen these camera angles before, all the opening cut scenes we have are identical apart from some minor changes (see 'Early Introduction' chapter below). But as much as I would like to believe you could visit the area behind the Entrance, it appears Wander and Agro are travelling towards to the Entrance, so it's clearly from a cut scene we have never seen before.

The altar features the two 'arms' hanging down from either side

Here they are again (just the ends can be seen in this image)

These strangely shaped columns can be seen on either side of the altar structure and make the altar look like some kind of human shaped figure with two arms on either side of its vertical stone body! They can still be seen in the OPM and PSU demos as well as the Preview version, but by the time of the final release they had (for whatever reason) decided to remove this 'arms' from the altar. Just recently it was discovered that the collisions for these arm structures are still there in the final versions, yep! even after 10 years there are still things we didn't know about ; ) 

A clearer view of the 'arms' from the Preview version

Forest shot from the opening cut scene

Notice in the above image that Mono is missing!? It seems at this stage in development they hadn't included Mono in the opening cut scene. This raises some obvious questions, was the idea of Mono a late story element? Perhaps in the earlier builds Wander had to defeat each colossus for some other reason, not to bring back the soul of one he loved. Otherwise you would think they would have added Mono to the opening cut scene, I mean it's not like it would be a hard thing to do or would require too much memory. We can only speculate as to why this cut scene didn't have Mono included.

Shrine of Worship arches are squared off compared to the final versions

Final version comparison to above shot - reveals rounded arches

Strange castle turret like structure is an early save shrine!

I looked everywhere for this structure but it doesn't exist in the final versions. It appears to be unique to this earlier 'Red Haired' version. It looks like a man made structure of some kind as it has a lower flat ledge and the top looks like it was used as a defensive outpost at one time? Interestingly, this strange structure can be seen in an early website for Shadow of the Colossus (circa 2006), see here:

Shadow of the Colossus website 2006

Here we see the same castle turret like ruin

If you visit the area North of #13's desert in the final versions (or even in the Preview version) you will see a very different landscape to this. So I asked Liam who was one of the designers of the early website what this structure was. He seems to remember that it was an early version of a save shrine! He told me they had a very early version of the game to use for their website, but there were strict rules as to using it. A PS2 console was available for use, but it was in a locked room, and after completing the website, it was posted back to Sony Japan.

'Arms' Version
Above the weapons icon can be seen with the word 'Arms'. This only appears in the OPM and PSU demos. There was also another demo where you could fight the first three colossus (see further below) but this was never released to the public. This version is much closer to the final version and most of the elements we are familiar with have been added to the game including a purple sky.

Ramp supports are angled

In this version the ramp leading up to the third colossus has skewed supports that look very odd and wouldn't be at all stable in a real world piece of architecture. It's as if they have rotated the model to fit the scene but in doing so the supports are no longer vertical. This was corrected in the final version.

Shots of the bent ramp from the NICO dvd

Iconic shot of Quadratus - the older scary version has been replaced

By this stage the temple at #1's area has been relegated to a decorative feature only

Here you can clearly see the 'Arms' icon at Hydrus

Shot of Celosia from the 'Arms' version

Shot of Pelagia from the 'Arms' version

By this stage the air sacks have been added to Phalanx

#13's temple looks sharper and darker

Apart from these images there isn't much more to show regarding this version, the other shots are virtually identical to the final version. It appears they made some further tweaks to the game here and there and removed the word 'Arms' from the weapons icon, but they still had a lot of work to do as the Preview version is yet a later version than this one and it has many differences to the final version (see further down).

Early Introduction from 2004
An early intro also can be found on the web although it's not clear which version it belongs to, but given that the OPM demo (the earliest version released to the public) has the same introduction we see in the final version we can be sure this was an unfinished version that appeared before.

Green field segment is missing (unfinished) replaced by clouds

Final version green field - note: my Agro is white here

Entrance segment - trees are missing and there are no fallen columns

You can see from the above Entrance temple comparisons that the trees are missing in this early opening cut scene video. There are also no fallen columns that we see in the final version. As mentioned in my 'Unused/Beta Colossus' blog entry there are 12 columns on the west side of the path that Wander and Agro are following in the final version. But in this early trailer there appear to be 8 standing columns on the west side and an extra large grey block in front of the single east side column that we can see. So it appears that when this trailer was made (in 2004) there were 16 colossi in the game. It should also be noted that Wander is alone in this trailer, there is no evidence of Mono.

Unfinished cliff face

Unfinished cliff face - panned out

C0 beta mountains texture comparison to above image

I have added the above image to drive home my point about how Team Ico designed the landscapes. We can see from the early opening cut scene cliff face that it has the same patterned repeating texture as the beta mountains, that is all the unfinished lands have the same yellowish/green mottled texture to them. These were, I believe, the skeleton upon which the later textures were added, they started out with a mesh that they stretched and molded into the desired shape, then later added colour, highlights, texture and details (such as plants) to create the final design.

Final version cliff face with textures added

Bridge view - lands look more barren

Final bridge scene - looks the same apart from the video quality (?)

Check it out here:

NICO Trailer (2004)
Another video from the NICO dvd shows a few early scenes from the opening cut scene. You see a few seconds of the Canyons area (the first part of the cut scene) which shows a lake of shimmering water surrounding the high peaks of the mountains, the moon is also more visible here. In the cut scene we see today it is very different and shows only a deep rocky valley.

Canyons area of the opening cut scene shows a lake and a clearer moon

Comparison area in the final version

NICO forest - looks the same as the 'Yamori A' area mentioned above

Final version of the opening cut scene forest

NICO rest spot outcrop

NICO rest spot with Wander and Agro

Comparison rest spot area from the final version

NICO video Entrance temple - bloom effect washes out background details

Shrine of Worship floor has elaborate designs

See video here:

3 Colossi Demo
There seems to be a couple of variations of this demo, one is identified by a distinctive red arrow marker (reticle), normally it is orange. I have seen only a couple of videos of this version but only colossus #1 and #2 are shown. The HUD is the same as in the later released demos showing the word 'Arms' above the arrow icon, however in the demos you can only select your arrow or your sword, there's no function to put away your sword and keep your hands free like in the final version i.e. there is no hand icon in the demos, but in this demo there is. 

The music when fighting the 2nd colossus is also different, 'A Violent Encounter' starts to play when Quadratus emerges from the cave but then changes to 'A Shadow Coming Closer'. When you scale the colossus 'A Violent Encounter' again begins to play. In comparison to the final version where 'A Violent Encounter' plays when Wander is on the beach and 'Revived Power' kicks in when he scales it.

Arrow marker (or reticle) are red - might be hard to make out

Oversized hand icon - Wander can stow his weapons

Texture glitch at the end of ramp that leads to the beach

Same area in the PSU demo

Check out the video here:

Update (19-09-13): I just received issue #102 of PSM (Playstation magazine) October 2005 which comes with a DVD that features a 15 minute preview of the 3 colossi demo. 
You can see it here:

Update (09-02-18): A few days after I had visited Bluepoint studios, I got an email from a user named 'John Conquest' who had received an ISO of some new 'never before seen' build of the game! After my holiday in the US when I was back in Sydney I finally had a chance to examine it in detail, and found out that it was indeed the fabled '3 colossi demo'! I made an extensive blog post about my findings here: 

Pre-E3 Demo
The only evidence for this version comes from some early videos posted on the official Playstation website of the game. An archived page of which can be found here:

We can see that this was most probably a demo in which you fought the first three colossi (or perhaps it was a full version?). In the image above, Wander has defeated the first colossus and a single shadow figure is standing over him after the battle. I would give anything to get my hands on a copy of this version!

Japanese text reads: "Hold your sword aloft in the place where the sun touches. The light will be your guide..." (thanks to Glitterberri for the translation ; )

E3 Demo
This was the demo that was featured at the E3 games expo at the Los Angeles Convention center from 18th -20th May, 2005. Players lined up to experience the game for the first time. There are a couple of short videos of fans playing it which doesn't show much but from what I can tell it was a different version to the OPM demo. You could only play the first colossus so it was the same as the publicly released demos that came out later but there are some small differences.

The floor has lost its elaborate design

Fruit tree from the OPM demo is missing here

Shortened ledge as seen in the OPM demo

Colossus health icon has jagged edges

Valus (#1's) club sinks into the ground in this version

Finally we come to the publicly released demos. For the following I have title screens and creation dates based on the NICO.dat files. The release dates may be slightly different but I have used the NICO.dat files as they are the main source files for the game and show not only the date the files were created but also the time of day.

OPM Demo (22/06/2005) (7:09AM)
Strangely, the date shown on the title screen is earlier than the NICO.dat file? As stated above they first demoed a test version on the 18th May 2005 at the E3 Trade Show in LA. So they have left the original title screen of the E3 demo as it was but seem to have reworked the game, hence the later NICO.dat file date. This version wasn't released until the October 1st 2005 with issue #97 of the Official Playstation Magazine. 

For more details on this version see my blog post here:

OPM demo disc title screen

PSU Preview Version (08/07/2005) (2:26AM)
Also known as the '3 colossi version', this disc was discovered in a box of other discs at a New Jersey flea market. The discs were being sold for $5 each, but the owner bought the whole box for $80. Once the box of discs was inventoried, this one rare PS2 disc stood out among the rest. I made a separate blog post for this version, see here:

PSU Preview version title screen

PSU Demo (12/07/2005) (8:33AM)
The next demo released was the 'Playstation 2 Holiday Demo Disc'. A promotional disc sent out to registered Playstation gamers in November 2005. It came with a coupon and promo book advertising the hottest titles for the year etc. Simply called the 'stand alone demo' there were a lot of improvements made since the OPM demo.

PSU demo disc title screen

PSU demo cardboard sleeve - front and back

Disc for above sleeve and the Holiday demo disc

Preview Version (10/08/2005) (12:47PM)
The first final version that we know of (there may have been others) is the pre-release or Preview version as fans have dubbed it. It seems strange that Sony would release the North American version before the Japanese version but this is how they were released, perhaps as the American market is much larger and therefore more beneficial economically. 

For more details on this version see my blog post here:

Preview 'pre-release' title screen

USA (NTSC) Version (14/09/2005) (8:19AM)
The North American release or NTSC version. Notice the title text has changed colour from white to dark brown and the temple design is different from the previous title screens. This version seems unique among the final release versions, perhaps as it appeared earlier. The following versions are all identical to the PAL (European) version as far as I can tell with certain areas now blocked off with invisible walls (the E5 forest embankments for example) and the parachute has been modified not to glide as far, so getting to the glitched solid floor at H8 is not possible in later versions.

NTSC (US) version title screen

Japanese/Chinese Version (10/10/2005) (10:22PM)
The Japanese version of the game also has an option to play in Chinese and English so they are the same version. Whether there are separate dedicated versions of each game is unknown to me. They appear to be identical to the PAL (European) version.

Chinese version title screen

Korean Version (21/10/2005) (6:49PM)
The Korean version is a dedicated version unlike the Japanese/Chinese version above. There are no options to play in other languages but from what I can tell it's no different to the PAL (European) version.

Korean version title screen

PAL (European) Demo (01/12/2005) (12:22PM)
The final demo to appear just before the release of the complete PAL (European) version (or full game). This demo is the most polished and complete of the three with fruit on the trees even in the secret garden (the previous demos had none) and the updated world map etc. The version I have has both the PAL version of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus but it was also released with the Playstation Underground Jampack demo disc Vol 14 in April 2006.

PAL demo menu screen - choose a game

PAL demo introduction screen

PAL demo title screen

PAL (European) Version (15/12/2005) (6:50PM)
The final release version. A lot of changes have been made to clean up any remaining glitches or problems in the game. The diagonal jump glitch which let you climb the Shrine of Worship in the NTSC version has been fixed meaning you have to play through the game at least four times to gather enough grip strength to scale the temple. The rest spot half way up the climb was also removed. There is also a different bridge design in the waterfall cave you pass through to get to #8's area (Kuromori). Why they changed this bridge design is not clear. Notice the title logo has changed again to a lighter more skewed type font, not as impactful in my opinion (I prefer the above white title design). There is also bonus material added with this version including a video on how they made the game, and Ico trailer and an art gallery, see them here:

Making of Movie

Ico Trailer

Art Gallery

PAL version introduction screen (same as demo)

PAL full version title screen

Final Thoughts
If you know of any other versions of the game please let me know and I'll add them to this post. As far as I know I have covered all the main versions and speculated on some we know less about. Note: I didn't include the 'Black Label' edition or the 'Greatest Hits' edition as these are just re-releases of the NTSC version. There is also the updated PS3 edition of course and the PS3 Collectors edition box set etc. but as these are recent releases and information about them is easy to find I did not include them here.

Note: I dream about getting my hands on any kind of older demo or preview version of the game! If you have any information about one of the versions listed above please contact me at ''. I would be willing to pay a premium price for one of these early builds. 



    The first five seconds i think is from one of the "blue vest"... I'm not sure if this video is on the Nico DVD...

  2. Update: I record this video from the old sotc website, on the "colossus" section. It's strange, but for a site release much time after the game, why put a video with a short footage of, if i'm sure, the beta Avus?

  3. I think it's just the clouds appearing out of the bright bloom effect, but for a second it does have a bird shape. I don't think the bird would have been flying around Gaius' arena as even at this early stage I'm sure they could only load one colossus at a time (not two). Still I admire your attention to detail ; )

  4. I think it's not the clouds. Look ate this freeze: - there's a part of the "thing" over the mountain also.

    Well, I'm not sure if this is on the "gaius arena" - anyway, the footage have just 5 secs. But i look more and, at the first second, I notice another shape:

    looks like some old gaius, in my opinion... xD

  5. It's just strange that this video has a beta footage, but also the Pelagias fight, from the final release... sounds like "intentionally"..

  6. Amazing post. I really enjoyed and this clarified a lot of doubts I had about the different versions of the game. Could you imagine if Team Ico decided to release the Nico demo in the future? Perhaps as a bonus for the special edition of The last Guardian? Speaking of The last Guardian, I can't wait to see all the behind the scenes stuff of that game! 9 years in the making sure produced a ton of demos, concept art and versions. I hope you can cover them all in the future :)

  7. Amazing work as always Nomad!

  8. I'm sure you don't check this page any longer and it has since been updated, but in case it hasn't, I just want to confirm that the Japanese and Asian (in this case Chinese, there was no Asian Japanese release for SOTC) are NOT considered the same version at all. The Japanese version does not have a Chinese or English language option, and save files between the two are incompatible (both save separate files on a memory card and Ico save data needs to be from the same version to unlock the Argo swap). Also the glitch I've heard about where Wander can climb jump diagonally without losing stamina does not work in any of the Chinese versions I have... though maybe certain revisions of the game had it patched out? Since the Asian version was released the same day as the Japanese version. I'm sure you already know this, but just in case!

    1. Hi Carmen, do you mind sharing these chinese versions with me? my e-mail is