team ico

ICO [PS2 – Beta / Concept]

ICO is an action adventure game that was developed by Sony / Team ICO for the Playstation 2. ICO was originally planned for the PlayStation 1, but after two years of development, the team ran into limitations on the PSX hardware and faced a critical choice: either terminate the project altogether or to restart it on the PS2.

An interim design of the game shows Ico and Yorda facing horned warriors similar to those that take Ico to the castle. The game originally focused on Ico’s attempt to return Yorda to her room in the castle after she was kidnapped by these warriors. Ueda believed this version had too much detail for the graphics engine they had developed on the PSX, and replaced the warriors with the shadow creatures. [Info from Wikipedia]

From early beta screens and videos, we can notice that Yorda had a different design and there were some huge shadows enemies, removed from the final version. If you can notice more differences in the screens and concept arts below, please let us know!

Yorda beta:

Yorda final:


Video from the PSX Version:

The Last Guardian (TRICO) [PS3 – Beta]

The Last Guardian and previously referred to by the working title “Project Trico”, is an upcoming adventure game developed by Team Ico, to be published for the PlayStation 3. Existence of the game was first hinted in a January 2008 job listing on Sony Japan’s corporate website, which depicted a single screenshot of the upcoming third Team Ico title for the PlayStation 3 and advertised open positions for the development team. A video released via the PlayStation Lifestyle blog in May 2009 shows early footage of the game with its working title, Project Trico, reportedly from a proof of concept trailer that had been circulating internally at Sony for over a year. [Info from Wikipedia]

At E3 2009, Sony unveiled the latest version of the same trailer, that is  somehow similar to the early one, but with various differences: the boy has a different character design, the details in the scenario are improved and the exterior of the palace that they explore was changed. Thanks to Pikol’s Youtube Channel we can see a nice comparison between the beta trailer and the “final” one!



Shadow Of The Colossus [PS2 – Beta / Unused Proto Colossi]


In 2002 Team ICO began to work on Shadow of the Colossus, initially with the WIP name of “NICO“. The NICO concept can be seen as an early design of the final game, were some of it’s core gameplay ideas were already exposed. You can read more about the NICO Concept in here. After Shadow of the Colossus was officially announced, various trailers and screens were shown during the development of the game, and in these media we can still notice many differences from the final version.

In the gallery below you can see some of these screens and videos with early versions of the colossi that you can fight in the final game. Also, you can notice some colossi that were never used in the game, probably because Team ICO did not had enough time to finish them all.

Thanks to Team Ico Gamer Blog we found out the “official reasons” why some of these colossi were removed:

Unused “Bird” Colossus: it was too similar to Colossus #5 and Colossus #13, also the team encountered difficulties with collision detection.

Unused “Phoenix / Ostrich” Colossus: it turned to be way overpowered and it had to be fight in an huge arena, because of its attacks.

Unused “Spider” Colossus: Team ICO was not able to implement a good way to let the player to hit the legs of the Colossus with the sword while guide the horse between them.

The “Bird Colossus” was seen in the desert, maybe it was an early version of the one that we can fight in the lake in the final game. Another unused colossus had a “worm-alike-mouth” that maybe we had to enter into to find the sigil. In a screen we can see a beta version of the flying colossus (the 13th), with red stripes on his wings, that are not in the final design. There was also a removed “spider-alike” colossus, somehow similar to the aliens from “War of the Worlds” or some enemies in Half Life 2. Other colossi that were never used in the final game looked like a “dragon”, a “boar”, a “bull” and an “ostrich”. We can feel that Team ICO spent a lot of time to design the colossi and created many versions of them before to chose the final ones.

The video of the “Secret Garden” was taken from a beta demo: you can notice that the garden design is different from the one in the released game. Also, Pikol was able to pass across the broken bridges and closed passages in the same PSU demo, to find more interesting differences! Check the 5th video to see all his finds! Also, umjammerlammy and  wwwarea modded Wander in this version to see if the temple was solid and had a nice trip at the top of the beta “Secret Garden” (check the 6th video).

Even Wander / Wanda, the protagonist of the game was changed through the development: in the original NICO concept, it looked more like the character from ICO, but while the game evolved in SotC, Wander became more and more like the final design. Some beta designs of Wander show him with horns, yellow pants and a blue shirt. This beta model was still a WIP, probably used just to test the gameplay before the final design was chosen.

In February 2009, Pikol from the Team ICO Gamers Blog was able to find an unused area in the Eastern section of the world that is still hidden in the final game. This area remains hidden by clouds on the game map and usually it’s not possible to reach the place without any GameShark codes. This zone was probably meant to be used as the “arena” for one of the removed colossi.

Also, originally there was meant to be a “secret alternate ending” in the game, that would play if an Ico save was on the memory card. This alternate ending was scrapped because Team ICO felt it would be unfair on those who never played ICO to never be able to see this different epilogue. You can read what happened in the removed ending at Team Ico Gamers Blog!

Thanks a lot to Robert Seddon and CoalarDrake for the contributions and props to TIGB for all their researches on the game! HUGE props to Unclejun for sharing various demos of the game, that were an awesome way to explore its early versions and learn more about their differences!

Some more info can be found in our old Forum (saved in the Web Archive), in the Shadow of the Colossus Topic.




NICO: Shadow Of The Colossus [PS2 – Proto]


With a team of thirty-five people, Shadow of the Colossus began development in 2002 under the project name “Nico” and was intended to be a direct sequel to Ico. The name “Nico” itself is a portmanteau of the Japanese word ni (“two”) and “Ico”. An early technology demo for the project shown at the DICE Summit in 2003 depicted a group of masked, horned boys riding horses while attacking and defeating a colossus. However, Fumito Ueda expressed that, at the time, it was simpler to reuse the character design of Ico’s protagonist, and that he never explicitly desired a sequel to Ico. Japanese pre-orders of Shadow of the Colossus later included a bonus DVD with the concept video, a trailer describing Nico’s plot, and an introduction the development team states they wanted to use in Shadow of the Colossus. [info from Wikipedia]

If you are interested, you can read more about Shadow of the Colossus Beta and see some of the removed colossi that were created during the development of the game.



ICO [Playstation 1 – Prototype]

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!




Ico PSX Version