Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Oct 10

The Unfinished Swan: 10 Things You Need to Know

Ben Esposito's Avatar Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 // Game Designer, Giant Sparrow

The Unfinished Swan on PS3

The Unfinished Swan is an unusual game with an unusual history. We wanted to give you an exclusive look into its history before it lands on PSN October 23rd — as well as some secrets you’d never guess. Find out where we came up with the idea, who helped make it happen, and some techniques we used to make the game feel just right.

  1. Virtual reality: The Unfinished Swan started as a student project in the University of Southern California’s Interactive Media program. Originally it was meant to be played with a head-mounted display. Over time, the game eventually became a PS3 exclusive.

  2. Showing our roots: The pond, which is the opening area of The Unfinished Swan, hasn’t changed since we entered the game into the Independent Games Festival in 2009. The reasons were partly to keep a homage to the area that got us started, and also because it’s a successful level layout.

  3. Tiny team: Giant Sparrow started as a two-person company and grew to 12 people at one point during production of The Unfinished Swan. Being a small team provided a lot of advantages; we were able to try things big studios wouldn’t touch.

  4. The Unfinished Swan on PS3
  5. Auto-aim: When we were first testing the game, we heard more than once that players wanted some sort of gun that would shoot paint where they were pointing. We weren’t about to give Monroe – the main character of The Unfinished Swan – a gun but we did come up with a fix. It happens behinds the scenes: the game will adjust the arc of your throw to hit things that you’re pointing at.

  6. Secret run: It’s very subtle, but if you walk forward for long enough, Monroe starts to pick up his pace. We added this for players who like exploring so there’s less time spent walking long distances.

  7. Not quite white: The white color you see in The Unfinished Swan is actually not pure white, but a slightly warmer yellowish white. On certain LCD TVs, pure white shows up with a bluish tint – which is not very befitting of a storybook style.

  8. Getting closer to the narrator: The voice of the narrator was originally recorded with temporary dialogue – it’s the voice of creative director Ian Dallas’s aunt. After auditioning other narrators, we weren’t able to find a voice as authentic as a real mother.

  9. Legendary art director: The Unfinished Swan’s art director, Hokyo Lim, was previously the art director for League of Legends by Riot Games. While they are tonally very different, Hokyo’s strong 2D skills have translated beautifully to both League of Legends and The Unfinished Swan.

  10. Stay a while: The Unfinished Swan has four different chapters, each with their own visual style and mechanics. Part of the design philosophy for The Unfinished Swan is to let players figure things out for themselves, so there are a few parts of the game that have never been shown before.

  11. Becoming a minimalist: The Minimalist trophy, unlocked when a player walks through the opening area without using more than three splats of paint, was originally unlocked by not splatting a single ball. Ben, the level designer, could stumble through it using sound but when the rest of the team tested it nobody was able to figure out how to navigate without using paint. After changing it to three splats maximum, it felt like a more balanced challenge.

The Unfinished Swan on PS3

Want to find out more about The Unfinished Swan? Keep reading PlayStation.Blog for all the latest on this unique and beautiful game.

//Add Your Own

33 Comments   3 Replies


+ Envarh on October 10th, 2012 at 1:16 pm said:

Number 8 just blew my mind. This game looks WAY better than league of legends.


+ Brink-2-Chaos on October 10th, 2012 at 1:16 pm said:

Cannot think of the exact adjectives to describe how badly i want to play this game


+ Elvick_ on October 10th, 2012 at 1:22 pm said:

Can’t wait to experience the 3rd and 4th areas for the first time.


+ F1rsTag on October 10th, 2012 at 1:38 pm said:

Unfinished Swan will be so great. definitely looking forward to it.


+ Astro411 on October 10th, 2012 at 1:43 pm said:

Awesome game can’t wait to get it.

#7 is my favorite : )


+ GAME-HERO on October 10th, 2012 at 1:49 pm said:

I love it how Sony gives Indie games a chance to survive.


+ lisatsunami on October 10th, 2012 at 1:56 pm said:

For as long as I’ve been a member of this blog, I’ve never seen anybody give us this kind of detailed background information. I really appreciate it. It didn’t make me want to buy the game, however, because I already decided that long ago.

However, another USC student project turned innovative game? Booo! I hate Trojans!!

(Just kidding; Although I am a Bruin…..)

    Ben Esposito's Avatar


    + Ben Esposito on October 10th, 2012 at 3:19 pm said:

    Thanks! That means a lot to us :3


+ aro52 on October 10th, 2012 at 2:00 pm said:

I’m gonna do #10 with 1 splat! Nah ZERO splats!


+ snakeeyes211 on October 10th, 2012 at 2:03 pm said:

#1 It’s going to be awesome
#2 It’s going to be awesome
#3 It’s going to be awesome
#4 It’s going to be awesome
#5 It’s going to be awesome
#6 It’s going to be awesome
#7 It’s going to be awesome
#8 It’s going to be awesome
#9 It’s going to be awesome
#10 It’s going to be awesome


+ bigjosh50 on October 10th, 2012 at 2:06 pm said:

Look forward into playing the game! I bet I can solve that #10 problem in a heartbeat :)


+ Se7en0ps on October 10th, 2012 at 2:29 pm said:

Picking this up as soon as it’s available. Thanks for this one-of-a-kind experience, Giant Sparrow!


+ TMAZT3R on October 10th, 2012 at 2:30 pm said:

For the love of God port this over to vita!!! Pretty please…


+ D-Squad3 on October 10th, 2012 at 2:34 pm said:

11. How much will it cost?


+ BrianC6234 on October 10th, 2012 at 2:59 pm said:

#7: Fight on! I couldn’t resist. I didn’t go to USC but I know people who did. I know Bruins too though. It is nice USC students are able to get help from Sony. I can’t wait to play this game.


+ bnecker717 on October 10th, 2012 at 3:12 pm said:

I can’t wait for this game! Looks like fun! :-D


+ Permafry_42 on October 10th, 2012 at 3:42 pm said:

Day 1! As someone who is planning to go into the gaming industry so I can make artistic video games that innovate, I’m really delighted and inspired when i get to see more games like these published. I hope this game will be as successful as thatgamecompany’s games are!


+ luvtoseek on October 10th, 2012 at 3:46 pm said:

Very excited. I’m curious about the UI & the menu options. Is there even a UI or does it fade when there’s zero movement? Finally, is it an “on rails” title? Thanks for the post, Ben!

    Ben Esposito's Avatar


    + Ben Esposito on October 10th, 2012 at 4:53 pm said:

    The only UI during gameplay is a small circle to help you aim & orient yourself. I’m not entirely clear on the term “on rails”, but you will have full freedom of movement to explore every area.


+ Stinvil93 on October 10th, 2012 at 3:48 pm said:

Vita release Please!!!!


+ guitarded77 on October 10th, 2012 at 4:49 pm said:

One of my most anticipated releases of the month. I’m a sucker for innovative gameplay.


+ nolo451 on October 10th, 2012 at 4:56 pm said:

wish it had a discount for ps+. :(


+ musicman182 on October 10th, 2012 at 5:27 pm said:

I am so super excited for this game! I remember reading about it a while back, and I had no idea it was coming out next week already (well, for Plus anyway). Day 1 buy for me :)


+ Berae on October 10th, 2012 at 6:18 pm said:

Nice post! Cant wait to try it next week!


+ somebignasty on October 10th, 2012 at 6:36 pm said:

Super excited for this! Part of my $100 this month.


+ MarinoBrea on October 10th, 2012 at 10:16 pm said:

I’m supporting you guys!


+ Damen on October 11th, 2012 at 5:17 am said:

Can’t wait for this!


+ Ryumoau on October 11th, 2012 at 9:16 am said:

$14.99? Will there be no Plus Discount? Or at least a demo?

I don’t wanna rush into an artsy game for that much without being able to test it first. I haven’t enjoyed the last couple ‘art’ games like Flower. That bored the crap out of me.


+ DeathGazer on October 11th, 2012 at 9:23 am said:


No discount, but it’s releasing a week early (10/16) for PS+ subscribers.


+ Ryumoau on October 11th, 2012 at 9:46 am said:

@28 thats it? They’re giving this the lame Jet Set Rado week early thing? Who cares about that? I get no extra excitement playing it before other people. Would much rather get the game the same time as regular members, but at a discounted price.

I can’t see how Sony actually thinks week early access is better than a discount. :/


+ TheTedster on October 11th, 2012 at 1:49 pm said:

Looks mighty!, Day 1 off me. It seems like a perfect game to play during my stress in college, or a perfect game to fail my exams over :D


+ oo7PorscheMGS on October 11th, 2012 at 6:11 pm said:

I can’t wait to get this game.. beautiful sounding music to add to a beautiful concept for a game / story. My nephews will love this…. after iiiiiiii play it first of course :P Support games like these guys…. what other game is like this????? None. This and Journey are the two games I would recommend to anyone as this years best games.

***** Resident Evil 6 took 600 people to make… and look at the reviews it got…. this game started out with just 2 people and I guarantee it will be getting better reviews than RE6 ;) *****

Very glad it will be available a week early for PS+ , because I seriously can’t wait to play through it and get to the 3rd and 4th chapters of the game you guys keep teasing but won’t show :P Can’t wait to see it in color, and splashing on the big screen, next tuesday!!!!!!!


+ T3DV0L70L1N4 on October 15th, 2012 at 6:19 am said:

Does this game require PlayStation Move? I was looking forward to playing it, especially after the great reviews started rolling in. But I have no plans to buy any sort of motion controller.


+ EXQUISITEEMPRESS on November 8th, 2012 at 8:40 pm said:

Ten excellent reasons to give this game a shot.

Comments are closed. We close the comments for posts after 30 days

PlayStation Blog