The Unfinished Swan

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The Unfinished Swan
The Unfinished Swan logo.png
Developer(s) Giant Sparrow
SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) Ian Dallas
Producer(s) Max Geiger
Programmer(s) Joshua Sarfaty
Composer(s) Joel Corelitz
Engine Gamebryo[1]
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Release date(s) PlayStation 3
  • NA: October 23, 2012
  • PAL: October 24, 2012
  • JP: December 13, 2012
PlayStation 4 & PlayStation Vita
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

The Unfinished Swan is an adventure video game developed by Giant Sparrow for the PlayStation 3, released in October 2012 through the PlayStation Network. The game starts with a completely white space in which the player, a boy named Monroe, is chasing after a swan that has escaped a painting. The game was released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in October 2014.[5][6]


Based on the prototype tech demo from 2008 it was assumed that the game would mainly feature splatting gobs of black paint in an otherwise white world but a later demo changed this to an inverse scenario[7] while featuring ominous music.


Development of The Unfinished Swan began in February 2008,[8] as a XNA[7] developed prototype which took about 2 months to complete.[8] Later in the year the prototype was expanded and submitted to the Independent Games Festival where it was part of the student finalists,[9] but ultimately losing against Tag: The Power of Paint in its category.

The 2008 tech demo presented a "cold and desolate" atmosphere, using songs released by Moby under a non-commercial license. However, within the same year, the development team had settled on the concept of an "interactive children's book."[10]

After its showing at the IGF, Sony and Giant Sparrow signed an "incubation deal", which provides funding, office space, equipment and advice in the form of help from SCE Santa Monica Studio.[11]


The score to The Unfinished Swan, composed by Joel Corelitz, mixes electronic music with a string orchestra and string quartet. The orchestra and string quartet were recorded in Nashville at Ocean Way Studios by the Nashville Music Scoring orchestra.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 80.95%[12]
Metacritic 79/100[13]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 6/10[14]
Eurogamer 6/10[15]
Game Informer 8/10[16]
GameSpot 6.5/10[17]
GamesRadar 4/5 stars[18]
GameTrailers 8.9/10[19]
IGN 9.0/10[20]
Joystiq 4/5 stars[21]
OPM (UK) 7/10[22]

Midlife Gamer gave the game 8/10, stating "The Unfinished Swan is a fantastic addition to a growing branch of unique and stylised games." but apart "from the games short length, progressing the growth of the vines in the second chapter is definitely the weakest point of this game and feels very linear in its delivery, but the rest of the game more than makes up for this deficit.[23] Other than enduring a spot of motion sickness, Amy Flower of Gamesblip was impressed, rating the game 8.5/10: "It isn't the longest outing, but so what? The Unfinished Swan is an engaging trip back to when a sense of wonderment wasn't confined to the dollar amount on our latest electricity bill."[24] The Unfinished Swan won two BAFTA awards in 2013, one for Game Innovation and one for Debut Game.[25]


  1. ^ "Jobs at Giant Sparrow". Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  2. ^ 2014-10-14, The Unfinished Swan dated for PS4, PS Vita in Japan, Gematsu
  3. ^ Aaron Kaufman (October 23, 2014). "The Unfinished Swan Lands on PS4, PS Vita Oct. 28th". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ Aaron Kaufman (October 23, 2014). "The Unfinished Swan graces PS4 & PS Vita next week". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Until Dawn, The Unfinished Swan, and Journey Confirmed for PS4". Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b MAMerrific (2009-03-11). "Indie Spotlight - The Unfinished Swan". GameSpot. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  8. ^ a b Hage, Tim (2009-01-07). "Q&A with Ian Dallas". TechOlive. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  9. ^ "The 12th Annual Independent Games Festival - Student Showcase Finalists & Winners". Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  10. ^ Tannahill, Greg (2008-09-29). "Ian Dallas on The Unfinished Swan". The Dust Forms Words. Retrieved 2015-02-01. 
  11. ^ Dallas, Ian (2011-05-01). "The Unfinished Swan is Coming to PSN". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  12. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  13. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Metascore". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  14. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". Edge. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  15. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  16. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". GameInformer. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  17. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  18. ^ "The Unfinished Swan review". GamesRadar. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "The Unfinished Swan - Review". GameTrailers. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". IGN. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  21. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  22. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". PlayStation Official Magazine. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  23. ^ "The Unfinished Swan Review". Midlife Gamer. 2012-11-16. 
  24. ^ "Gamesblip review - The Unfinished Swan". Gamesblip. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  25. ^ "The Unfinished Swan wins two BAFTA awards". Retrieved 2013-07-25. 

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