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Oct 10

Oct 10

The Unfinished Swan: 10 Things You Need to Know

Ben Esposito's Avatar Posted by 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

Envarh said:

October 10th, 1:16 pm

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

Brink-2-Chaos said:

October 10th, 1:16 pm

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

Elvick_ said:

October 10th, 1:22 pm

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

F1rsTag said:

October 10th, 1:38 pm

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

Astro411 said:

October 10th, 1:43 pm

Awesome game can’t wait to get it.

#7 is my favorite : )


October 10th, 1:49 pm

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

lisatsunami said:

October 10th, 1:56 pm

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 said:

    October 10th, 3:19 pm

    Thanks! That means a lot to us :3

aro52 said:

October 10th, 2:00 pm

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

snakeeyes211 said:

October 10th, 2:03 pm

#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 said:

October 10th, 2:06 pm

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

Se7en0ps said:

October 10th, 2:29 pm

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

TMAZT3R said:

October 10th, 2:30 pm

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

D-Squad3 said:

October 10th, 2:34 pm

11. How much will it cost?

BrianC6234 said:

October 10th, 2:59 pm

#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 said:

October 10th, 3:12 pm

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

Permafry_42 said:

October 10th, 3:42 pm

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 said:

October 10th, 3:46 pm

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 said:

    October 10th, 4:53 pm

    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 said:

October 10th, 3:48 pm

Vita release Please!!!!

guitarded77 said:

October 10th, 4:49 pm

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

nolo451 said:

October 10th, 4:56 pm

wish it had a discount for ps+. :(

musicman182 said:

October 10th, 5:27 pm

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 said:

October 10th, 6:18 pm

Nice post! Cant wait to try it next week!

somebignasty said:

October 10th, 6:36 pm

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

MarinoBrea said:

October 10th, 10:16 pm

I’m supporting you guys!

Damen said:

October 11th, 5:17 am

Can’t wait for this!

Ryumoau said:

October 11th, 9:16 am

$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 said:

October 11th, 9:23 am


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

Ryumoau said:

October 11th, 9:46 am

@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 said:

October 11th, 1:49 pm

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 said:

October 11th, 6:11 pm

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 said:

October 15th, 6:19 am

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.


November 8th, 8:40 pm

Ten excellent reasons to give this game a shot.

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