SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS
Developer Team Ico
Right after the completion of Ico, maybe even within a few weeks, I started work on Shadow Of The Colossus. The reason I know this is that I still have a sketch I made of a giant on which I wrote the date, which has the same exact day written on it that Ico came out in Japan. So I must have had the idea for the game even earlier. Like I said, I often like to start with a sketch.
Ico is a quiet game and everything happens in a relatively small, enclosed space. I read several reviews in the Japanese press that said, while the ambiance of Ico was effective, nothing much really happens. Some even said at the time that perhaps Ico couldn’t really be called a game. So I wanted my next game to be more conventional, to avoid those criticisms. I thought: ‘What is the most game-like characteristic? Fighting.’ So I definitely wanted to have an emphasis on action.
But I also wanted the kind of intimacy that you can see in Ico through the holding of hands between characters. Touch is important to me: a meeting point between two entities. I had to figure out what the meeting point in Shadow Of
The Colossus would be. That’s when I had the idea to make it a much larger surface. I thought: what if the touch point is not holding hands but hugging, or even hanging off one another. That’s where the idea for Nico, as the game was called at the time, originated.
Making the game was a huge technical challenge. I was lucky: we had a programmer who loved this kind of major challenge. In no small part it’s thanks to him that my grand idea didn’t sink the project before it had even started.
It’s worth also talking about the game’s atmosphere, I think. Ico is, in some ways, a happy game. Things end in a pleasing way. It broadly has a happy resolution. Shadow Of The Colossus has a different arc. A lot of movies have happy endings. Very few games end in tragedy. So that offered a point of differentiation. I also wanted to make a game that lived on in people’s minds for a long time. Sad experiences can often leave a strong impression. The same thing applies to movies and songs. Melancholy works are often more memorable and leave a longer lasting impression.
Ueda shrugs off the suggestion he’s a perfectionist. “All I strive for is to do what I think is right and to execute it in the manner that it should be presented,” he says