The Shadow of the Colossus Official Artbook and Guidebook is a collection of artwork (both conceptual and in-game) from Shadow of the Colossus. It doubles as a detailed, visual walkthrough of the game, includes a large collection of early concept colossi, and includes a lengthy interview with Team Ico.
The artbook was not released outside Japan.
The last pages of the book contain an interview with the development team concerning an alternate ending for the game that was scrapped, as well as an explanation for many of the aspects in the final version of the ending.
After Wander defeats a colossus and is rendered unconscious from the black tendrils that escape its corpse, Mono's voice can be heard. The notes here reveal that she is in fact asking Wander to stop the ritual. It's not clear whether she does so because she thinks he shouldn't be doing what he is or because she knows Wander will die after its completion.
The reason her voice grows stronger after every battle is because her soul is being restored to the world. The opposite, meanwhile, is happening to Wander; the more the black tendrils invade his soul, the closer he becomes to being a shadow, a mere reflection of the dead.
The original plan was to have an entirely new ending if the player had a save file from Ico on their memory card. In this new ending, Lord Emon and his soldiers arrive at the Shrine of Worship, see Wander, and attack him, punishing him for completing a ritual that reconnects a soul of a dead person to her body. The camera does not show Wander just yet, however.
Mono is presently revived, and her body begins to glow. One of the soldiers notices this and tries to stab her with his sword. The blow doesn't land, for some magic is protecting her; it just doesn't connect to her body, as it goes through her, and the sword gets stuck in the stone. As they see this, Lord Emon and his company flee in terror, sealing the land and leaving Wander and Mono in the Shrine.
When Mono awakens, her eyes not yet functioning well, she reaches for Wander. She can feel that Wander has indeed changed, much more after his last battle. The scene is seen through the blind eyes and thoughts of Mono. It is not shown how Wander has changed.
Credits start rolling while the two mount Agro and ride out of the Shrine. The kite - the same one from the beginning - flies over them as Agro carries Wander and Mono away. The camera closes on the horse, and Wander is finally shown: horns protrude from his head and he looks more a shadow than a human being.
This ending was scrapped because the majority of the team felt it would be unfair to those who never played Ico to never be able to see this different epilogue, and that setting some criteria by which this ending could be unlocked normally would inevitably involve changing the core game in a way they did not want.
Colossi "corpse" scenes in the credits
When the credits roll in the final game, the player can see (through an old-film filter) the sixteen corpses of the colossi. The notes explain that what is being seen is what Mono sees as soon as she is revived. She can see what happened to Wander, as well as what he did.
Agro falling off the bridge
The team considers Agro's survival after her fall a miracle, as if something supernatural happened to save her from certain death.
As mentioned before, the kite from the very beginning of the game is the same one that flies away at the very end. This, as with the speech that Lord Emon gives the player in the game's opening scene, conveys the idea that the game is like a legend being told and retold.
Time in the Forbidden Lands
As soon as Wander steps through the gates of the Forbidden Lands, the seal put in place to contain Dormin loosens. Before this, time had stopped completely in the Lands, preserving them unnaturally. When the ritual is completed and Dormin is released, the seal is broken and time starts flowing again, reconnecting these ancient lands to the world outside. Thus, while all of Wander's adventure takes place in daylight, it is implied to be spanning the course of several days.
Dormin and the idols
Dormin is the keeper of a very ancient and powerful knowledge, having been sealed in the Shrine of Worship hundreds of years before the events of the game. The lands Dormin inhabited were declared forbidden to all after his imprisonment.
The idols were objects of worship left behind, as were the old ways and traditions of the people who lived in the Lands long ago. Each of the sixteen parts of Dormin were sealed in the land - which the colossi are part of - and connected to these idols. The tendrils seen after each battle are all parts of Dormin that make their way into Wander's soul.
When the ritual is completed, Dormin pervades Wander's soul but does not possess it completely. Wander still has a part of himself inside. He still remembers his past and his deeds.
The pool that sucks Wander and Dormin in banishes Dormin out of Wander's body. The horns we see on the baby are a remnant of what happened and represent the little influence Dormin still has on the baby.
- The artbook on the Shadow of the Colossus Art Book page
- A translation of the official artbook and guidebookby GlitterBerri