The Ending Made Clear

Posted By at 12:00 AM on Saturday July 2, 2011

The story, the truth, that couldn’t be told during the game. Mr. Ueda speaks about the thoughts behind the ending. Click the images to enlarge.

Another Ending

The voice you can hear after defeating a Colossus is calling out to restrain Wander. At first you can only hear breathing, but as the girl begins to gain consciousness, she starts speaking to Wander. You can never escape the black bands that pierce Wander’s body after you defeat one of the creatures. It’s sad that you can’t change the reality of the situation.

Actually, we also had happier developments in mind for the ending, but perhaps there is no happier ending than being able to revive the girl. We were considering having the ending change a little bit if the player had save data from Ico, but we gave up on that.

Another idea was having the girl come back to life earlier on. She would awaken in the midst of Emon and his men tormenting Wander, very far from being human, her body radiating light. A guard would see this and try to kill her with his sword, but it would be flung away and become embedded in the earth. Emon and his men would run away in a hurry and seal the land once more, and Wander and the girl would be left behind to start a new life together.

Originally, we had it so Wander’s body would grow each time he defeated a Colossus, and we were thinking of doing something along the lines of Beauty and the Beast. The awakened girl, still unable to see, would grope around for Wander, but his form had changed. Then, as you wondered what was going to happen, the staff roll would begin, but in the end the two would happily mount Agro and ride off… the bird would take flight, and Agro would first appear at the entrance to the shrine. As you wondered what you’d see next, the other two would come out, supporting each other. Wander’s changed form was the price he had to pay, something that couldn’t be undone. The horns growing from Wander’s head in the early pilot movies for the game are a remnant of that. It’s only now that I can say a part of me wishes we had done it. Without Ico, there might have been still another different ending, but when all was said and done, there were a lot of people on the team who felt the current ending was better.

During the staff roll, the Colossi’s corpses are shown. I actually wanted to put a flashback scene there. When the girl touches Agro, the horse’s memories flow to her, and the girl understands what happened. Agro has a broken leg and might die without being able to fully support its bodyweight. But, falling from that height, it’s a miracle that only one leg was injured, isn’t it? The ending then continues on to the opening. The bird takes flight, the weather turns to thunder, the moon comes out, and you’re returned to the opening movie. The ancient land’s seal has been broken by Wander’s coming, and time, once stopped, begins to flow again.

The Creature Called Dormin

Dormin is a menacing creature who possesses a power beyond the knowledge of humans. In the past, he committed a forbidden act and was sealed away. The ancient land is a place that should be detested, but the humans need it. If they’d destroyed the bridge and completely sealed away the land at the start, none of the events of the game would have happened, but it still exists for that reason.

In the beginning, the Colossi were idols, objects of worship. Sacrifices and idolatry are ridiculous, aren’t they? I think that just because they’re ancient customs they’re passed down through the generations, there’s no justifiable reason for them.

The black bands that pierce Wander’s body after defeating a Colossus are symbolic of Dormin’s freed power entering Wander. The black shapes surrounding Wander are part of Dormin. The idea was that the Colossi were the bone and muscle that formed his body, and those shadows were the blood that flowed within it. That’s why, when they’re all united, they become Dormin. The shadows that gaze down upon Wander after defeating a Colossus are saying “Won’t you hurry up?” *laughs*

Even after your body turns into Dormin, half of you is still Wander, his consciousness still remains. That’s why you can control him. The reason he’s so hard to control is because you’re only one half. The horns represent elements that couldn’t be purified after you’re pulled into the spring. That’s still Wander, even though he’s a baby.

Check out more “making of” from the Shadow of the Colossus here!













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6 Responses

  1. Nomad says:

    Thank you. I’ve always wanted to read that section, it’s great to see how they planned alternate endings and the ideas they came up with.

    It also confirms a few things we had speculated about for years ; )

  2. I’ve seen it observed that Agro is a pretty big horse for Wander’s size; if Wander was once intended to grow but still end up able to ride Agro, that might mean the apparent size mismatch was deliberate.

  3. […] Egy nagyon érdekes olvasmány, amit mindenkinek ajánlok, aki hozzám hasonlóan napokig töprengett a történet befejezésén, lehetséges alternatíváin és az ICO-hoz való kapcsolatán: The ending made clear […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Is it okay that I have a different interpretation? I mean that seemed to be what Ueda wanted in the first place anyway….

  5. Melora says:

    Gah, thank you so -so incredibly much- for translating this. SotC is one of my favorite games of all times. It’s incredible to be able to read this.

  6. Spencer says:

    Fun-fact: “Dormin” is “Nimrod” spelled backwards. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t make that connection myself, but it really makes a lot of sense. In legend, he founded the city of Babylon, comissioned the Tower of Babel, invented idolatry, and his body was cut and scattered into segments on his death. He was adversary to god God and Abraham in Abraham traditions.

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