Shadow of the Colossus: The Last Big Secret (The Long Version)

     With all the Last Guardian hubbub going around I've been replaying these games(Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) over the last couple months.  Both games are short and emotionally moving, they can be beaten quickly then replayed for simply for the joy of a beautiful game.  I like just wandering around looking at parts of the castle in Ico and roaming the Forbidden Land in Shadow.  A wonderful experience.
     So I've been looking around for secrets in Shadow of the Colossus.  Little things that I may have missed.  Along the way I stumbled across a "Last Big Secret" theory that there is something that no one has found in the game yet. 


     I don't know how the rumors of a last big secret started, as I couldn't find an interview explicitly stating it.  But there seems to be a large following of secret believers.  After lots of searching I was coming across many theories on the internet, including a MASSIVE theory about hidden map symbols leading to a possible secret doorway.  I've seen mentions of a 17th colossi (which I doubt considerably), notes about the only other item given to you in a battle (the stick that you light on fire to fight Celosia), and a bunch of other theories and ideas.  A great read even if a lot of the ideas are a bit far out there.  Kind of akin to a conspiracy theory for the game. 
     After reading a bunch of those pages I would guess that it isn't something in the right direction if there is still one big remaining secret in the game.  While a bunch of these ideas are absolutely brilliant, I would hesitate to believe them because of the game itself.  Mr. Ueda likes the simplicity of gaming, not a giant super-secret that needs to be deciphered through ludicrous little clues like The Da Vinci Code.  It seems highly preposterous to have such a complicated "secret" in this game.

     This next link is to me much more plausible:
      I could believe that point with the view of the blurry mountains on the bridge possibly being a view to the "possible Ico castle."  Which might be possible if the "Ico Beach" is a truthful location to connect the games.  It could be true because, I don't know for sure, but they might line up. (see map and images below)  I haven't located it myself so I don't know if they actually line up or not.  Although I do think it is a great find on it's own, as no other lands seem to be visible from within the Forbidden Lands while playing.  (With the notable exception of the intro video and the flying hawk clips)  It would be neat if, story wise, the blurry mountains/castle was coming into being as the culmination of Shadow was occurring.

Map from videogamesblogger.com

Burry mountains/possible castle

Ico (Queen's castle)

Mountains and blurred castle compared.

     Ueda likes "simple" games.  Think of the secrets in Ico.  The hidden mace and lightsaber weapons are in a hidden room.  It's visually set off by one wall being a different color.  While the key to the room's puzzle is a bit further in the next area- hit a tree with whatever weapon you're holding and an orb falls out.  Once you find the room with the visual clue, you must search for the object to solve the puzzle.  Simple and effective.  No extra music tracks needed.  No extra bosses or enemies.  Just a small room with a little extra something.
     The next secret is the watermelon ending.  On the second playthrough after the credits if you just wander the beach you can find watermelons.  The only real thing you can do with them, besides smashing them is walk one down to where Yorda is at.
     These are simple things that lead to the secrets.  Not some huge mystery to be deciphered leading to an intersecting point on a map.  If Shadow of the Colossus still has a hidden something there it'll be hidden in plain sight.  Not something to be glitched into like that Pikol fellow's videos.  Although they are quite interesting, it's VERY doubtful whatever possible "secrets" remain would be found only through glitches.  Especially since the entire "I" column on the map is unused due to the game being shortened for release.  (I would also like to note the fact there are PSN trophies for the hidden things in ICO, and no unknown trophies for Shadow)   
     I also doubt the game's creators would be trolling millions of fans. 


     One thing that's always nagged my mind about Shadow is the fact everyone KNEW you could climb the tower at one point.  It was one of my immediate goals when playing the first time back on PS2.  I spotted the moss trail after circling the Shrine of Worship immediately and knew there had to be a way to scale it.  It was an accessible location.  So I figure there'd also be a  reason to climb it.  After many playthroughs and eating an absurd amount of fruits and magical shining lizard tails.  You have to put forth a massive amount of EFFORT and WORK to get enough stamina to ascend the Shrine of Worship.  So why would the fruit in the "Secret Garden" return all that work to base level?

  Why would the game's creators make it possible, I'd say inevitable, to allow players to gain enough power from the Forbidden Lands to scale the tower just to return you back to human?

       So here's a bit of backup for my thoughts on the speculated "Last Big Secret" of Shadow of the Colossus.
From a 1UP interview:
1UP: Are there any secrets in the game that still haven't been found? 
Fumita Ueda:  I wonder about that, but there seem to be many enthusiastic players so I believe all of the secrets have been found already.
1UP: Why does the fruit in the secret garden take away your stamina? Is there any specific reason for this in the story, or is it just a way to reset your stamina meter?
Fumito Ueda: The fruit in the ancient land was set to get you closer to non-human existence. The [secret garden's] fruit was set to return you to a human one.
From an IGN interview:
Kyle Shubel: Hmmm…I dunno, that sounds like an exclusive. Hmmm…well, everyone is talking about the secret garden. That is pretty much the most popular secret in the game that everybody gravitates towards because you have to do a certain level of time investment to be able to get strong enough to get there and, yes, that was there for the ending movie. They left it in the game for a reason.
     Well- What exactly is the purpose of returning the character IN GAME to human status???  If I wanted to do that I'd simply start a new game.  What if there is something you can ONLY do as a "human."  Something that only people untainted by Dormin's power can do.  So it would be something later in the game, but necessarily without the increased health or power.  For instance, the Shrine of Worship's front doors seem to only open under specific conditions, is it because the users are merely mortal.  Are the fruits designed to lessen or subvert the powers of Dormin?  Kind of like a preventative measure to keep the powers of Dormin from escaping the lands? 
     One important thing, at least to me, is to notice that only "humans" are able to come and go from the Forbidden Lands.  Once you have built your health and stamina gauges to the maximum superhuman level is the first real time you can make it back to the Forbidden Land's front gates again.  Now I'm not saying that it'll become possible to leave, but it is an idea, and I don't know if anyone has tried.  Eat the fruit of the garden, then try doing things.  Try exiting the Forbidden Land after the fruit.  Try the Shrine of Worship's front door after the fruit.  
     One person suggested the parachute was necessary for the last secret.  I have no clue where that idea came from but - what if?  What if you need the parachute to safely reach the ground again after becoming human again to do something?  Try parachuting through the big hole in the garden after eating the fruit.

     Has anyone tried to beat Malus after eating the fruit?  Is it even possible?  While it is extremely doubtful a different ending could happen, would it be under this type of condition that it might exist?  One where the Wanderer doesn't contain enough shadow material to manifest Dormin himself during the ending.

     Another possibility is the Shrine of Worship's pool.  It seems to act as a gateway throughout the game.  A doorway to somewhere or something otherworldly.  It's the place all the bestowed weapons and items appear after the challenges as well as the gateway that drags Dormin into after Emon's spell and magical sword are cast into.
     Maybe there's a prayer to activate something in the pool.  Although the argument against the pool idea is that you start as a human next to it and nothing has been found to happen yet.  A potential portal waiting to be opened.  Once again, I'm not saying there would be something huge.  But maybe, just maybe... 

     I personally would like to find maybe a small room or niche that houses a portion, or whole remains, of Dormin's previous encasement.  I would absolutely LOVE to find a skeleton of Dormin's previous incarnation on a throne.  Perhaps even parts of his ancient self strewn about the land in it's crumbling state.  Even a nice view of it reflected in the pool while praying would be great.  But, alas, it is just wishful thinking.

     I'd like to leave fellow Shadow of the Colossus players, and "last big secret" searchers, with the question I stated earlier-
     Why would the game's creators make it possible, I'd say inevitable, to allow players to gain enough power from the Forbidden Lands to scale the tower just to return you back to human?


  1. i think this is a great idea im going to have to try it!

  2. i will say that even int he ico/sotc artbook it is stated that the game was meant for two endings and was originaly going to be unlocked with ico save file but programers thought it was unfair that way the ending included wander remaing human not transformed into a baby but he did remain demonic but the fruit at the top of the shrine making you human again could trigger it, i will say when i always played the game i thought you would have to be crazy to eat this fruit why is this up here? i really think your on to somthing

  3. Thanks for actually commenting! If you happen to think of other possibilities or anything works please let me know! It would be much appreciated.
    Also- I believe Mr. Ueda released storyboards recently for an alternate ending...

  4. i will let you know im currently beating it on the hd remake on both hard and normal and two time through with this idea to see if anything happens but i will keep you posted

  5. Excellent! Looking forward to what anybody can find. These games are amazing, but I've got to get through a bunch of other games before Borderlands 2 in 3 weeks. So many games, so little time.

  6. Replies
    1. Sadly no. I haven't found anything in quite some time. There's a part of me that thinks Ueda may have something extremely small that seems like a big secret to him, but might be only if you know it's there. I'll probably play through again scrouring the land for something I missed right before The Last Guardian hits though.