Behind The Year’s Most Talked-About (Gun-Free) Game, “Unfinished Swan”

by Kevin Ohannessian   August 24, 2012

One of the most acclaimed games of the year is one of the most unusual–a game that has players discovering the unfinished world of a madly creative king. Creator Ian Dallas talks about making a game about creativity itself.

Ian Dallas was a comedy writer who cut his teeth at the Yale Record, then The Onion, before moving into TV and working on Comedy Central’s Drawn Together. But his plan was always to make video games. So he went to grad school and created a prototype for an unusual game wherein players are confronted with a white void of a world to which they give form by splattering paint around to reveal the objects and environment around them.

Soon after, Dallas founded Giant Sparrow and began putting a story and world to that prototype. The result was The Unfinished Swan, a game of exploration in a world of architecture and paint, fused with fairy tale themes. In the game, a boy (the player) pursues a swan, discovering the world around them via the paint splatters. Because players can dispense the paint any way they see fit–firing in one direction or everywhere, splattering sparingly or completely blanketing all surfaces–the story plays out differently each time and for each player. Later in the game, the white world and paint give way to different environments and game mechanics.

The game has received praise from critics and earned buzz at E3 for its unique art style and an atypical mode of gameplay that marks a dramatic departure from the shooters and fighters that will dominate the holiday season. Swan will be published later this year by Sony to the PlayStation Network. Dallas spoke with Co.Create about the choices he made as he built that game demo into a full experience, an exploration of creativity and loss.

Read the full article at Co.Create.

About Me

Kevin Ohannessian is a freelance writer covering gaming and tech for Tom's Guide, Kill Screen, and Fast Company. His work has also been published by MTV Geek, GameSpot, Gamasutra, Laptop Mag, Co.Create, and Co.Labs. Focusing on the creativity and business of gaming, he is always up for a good interview or an intriguing feature.