ICO is a Puzzle/Action-Adventure game for the Playstation 2, directed by Fumito Ueda. The game’s concept began in 1997 on Playstation 1, when Ueda and a handful of other artists put together a “pilot movie” as a proof of concept using the program Lightwave 3D on a Commodore Amiga computer. The full pilot movie footage sadly no longer exists, but pieces of it can be found combined with clips from the PS1 prototype of the game in the following video. This video was released on a Japanese-only bonus DVD that acted as a pre-order bonus for copies of Shadow of the Colossus in 2005 (known as the NICO DVD, presumably a play on the title of ICO and the Japanese 二, or the number two).
However, while the pilot movie itself is lost to time, multiple test videos that Ueda made in Lightwave 3D are still preserved at the following YouTube link. Based on the content in the PS1 version trailer and Ueda’s own recounting of events, it is fairly obvious that this test footage was for his pilot movie.
Some things to note in this test footage video:
- The debug (?) clips of sunlight in the castle courtyard present in the NICO bonus DVD trailer are not included in this first video ripped from Ueda’s website. Otherwise, the two PS1 videos are the same.
- The test clip of the stork flying across the sea at sunset is strikingly similar to the opening shots of the PS1 video, where a bird is seen flying away from the castle while the sun sets over the ocean in the background.
- The test clip of the old sofa also has an explicit connection to ICO and the NICO PS1 video:
- In the PS1 video, there is a clip at 1:06 which shows the pilot movie version of Yorda walking towards an old sofa (which looks alike to the one in the UEQ test clip) and examining her tattooed arm.
- In the final PS2 game, the player can save their game using stone couches where Ico and Yorda sit and rest.
As we can read on Wikipedia, in this animation Yorda was the one to have horns rather than Ico and looked rather different.
Development switched to the PlayStation 2 in late 1999, which gave the team a more powerful platform to better achieve their original goals. Elements present around this time included a storyline trying to get Yorda back to her room, rather than an all-out escape from the castle and enemies that resembled the horned warriors seen at the beginning of the final game, rather than the shadowy wraiths.
Thanks to cyborgpluviophile for the contribution to this article!
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nl1oHy3zlw – 2011 Interview with Ueda about Game Design, Games as Art, and ICO/Shadow Development
- https://web.archive.org/web/20060222083805/http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=0&cId=3144638 – 1UP.com article that details the development of ICO as well as the design philosophy behind it, as told by Ueda himself
- https://www.gamespot.com/articles/japanese-colossus-preorders-get-bonus-dvd/1100-6131586/ – Information on NICO Bonus DVD and Japanese Shadow of the Colossus Pre-Orders
Ico PSX Version