Shadow of the Colossus has entered legendary status in the world of video games. Thanks to its ambiguity, conspiracy theories, and its huge fan community, the PlayStation 2 game has been remastered for PS3, and even completely remade for PS4.
Being a game that consists only of bosses—16 colossi all modeled after different creatures with novel abilities—they didn’t always have the same design. These amazing pieces of concept art show their original designs, with some of them being completely different, and others even revealing unused colossi.
This boar-like beast is the first colossus of the designs that can’t actually be found in the game, of which there are many. However, this one did get really far into development, as there are screenshots of Wander running away from the beast floating around online. Though it may have been removed because it looks and has similar traits to two other small (but very fast) colossi in the game.
Immediately, fans of the game will see what’s different about Gaius, the third colossus Wander is sent to slay. Gaius is one of the fans’ favorite colossi, if not the very best. In order to get to his wear spots, the player has to jump on to the long walkway, which is his forearm, when it hits the floor.
However, in this concept design, that walkway seems more like a sword. At this early stage, the developers may not have had the idea to use the forearm as a way to mount the beast, as it looks possible to climb his leg in this design.
It’s unclear whether this concept art was in its very early stages or if it was so far in development, but if it was early in the development stage, Cerberus didn’t change all that much. In fact, it didn’t change at all. Though the beast is one of the smallest in the game, being a dog-like colossus, he is one of the hardest Colossi to defeat, and it shows no mercy if wander gets in its way.
As his appearance turns more evil and his horns grow more each time he slays a colossus, which is one of the things you didn’t know about Wander, at the very end of the game he embodies Dormin. Being the giant black demon he has been telling Wander to slay the colossi the whole time, it didn’t always have the same design. In one of it’s earliest concepts, it actually had the look of a bull, and he even had wings.
With Malus being the final boss of the entire game, it’s not surprising that it the biggest, most monolithic colossus of them all. This concept design shows that the colossus, who can shoot fire beams from his hands, didn’t differ too much when it comes to the final product, but they did add a lot more layers, and believe it or not, made him even bigger! It’s the reason that Malus is one of the best video game boss battles ever.
Again, from the initial concept to the very final design, Dirge doesn’t change too much either, but the concept art for the colossus gives fans an insight into how the artists were thinking about the foes from the view of Wander. Below the side view of Dirge, one of the hardest and most anxiety-inducing colossi, it shows the artist thinking about the view from which Wander can see it, lurking just above the sand and thrusting forward.
4 Gaius’ Platform
Though a movie adaptation of Shadow of the Colossus has been struggling to get off the ground for over a decade now, the game is so cinematic that a movie is hardly necessary. This piece of concept art just goes to show how much the developers were thinking about the beauty of the game as much as the gameplay.
When approaching Gaius, who is on the top of this platform, it is viewable from a great distance, and this establishing shot is iconic. However, there is one difference: in the game, Gaius is laying down and is asleep, as opposed to standing up.
3 Unused Flying Colossus
Being another colossus that was cut from the final game, this one seems completely unique, as, unlike Sirius, there’s no other colossus in the game like it. There are a couple of strange things about this colossus, with the first being that it has wings, but it is also grounded, meaning that it could probably be the hardest colossus of them all. The other thing is that, standing next to Wander, the colossus isn’t actually that big, as it couldn’t be taller than 15 feet.
2 Unused Cave Colossus
With many of the best colossi of the game having novel abilities or strange bodies, this one has both. There have been a lot of different designs for colossi that can walk along ceilings, with one going much further along into development before getting canned.
This design is the most interesting of them all, with its four legs (or arms?) and its strange head. With so many unused colossi that were just left on the cutting room floor, it has led to a lot of fans clamoring for a Shadow of the Colossus 2.
1 Unused Yeti Colossus
This lanky beast is unfortunately another absentee of the game, as this colossus looks just as interesting as any other boss. This one is interesting because there doesn’t seem to be a way for Wander to get himself on to the colossus’ fur, so, wherever this beast would have been located on the map, there would have clearly been some kind of integration of the environment, which always makes for a great battle.
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