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Review Roundup

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

It’s been 2 weeks since the release of The Unfinished Swan. Since then, we’ve received a number of thoughtful reviews. Check out our favorites here!

– First off, it’s a great honor to be featured in Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List”, here’s a scan from the article!

– One of our absolute favorite reviews came from TheSixthAxis, super creative, and the form fits perfectly with the content (hint: it’s like our first level):

IGN‘s Greg Miller called it “A Touching Storybook for All Ages”  in his review:

The Escapist, who has been covering The Unfinished Swan from early on lends its praise of simplicity:

– Lastly, Greg from IGN interviewed Ian on his show Up At Noon, you can check it out here:
Greg also interviewed Ian on his show Up At Noon:

The Finished Swan!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

We’re super proud to say that The Unfinished Swan is complete and as of today is available for Playstation Plus subscribers! If you’ve got PS+, you can download it a week early. The rest of PSN can download it next week on October 23rd. Between you and me, Playstation Plus is a pretty great deal.

Swan Cake!
Now you’re not allowed to make that joke any more!

The Unfinished Swan Dev Diary: Original Music & Sound / 10 Things to Know about the Game / A Profile of Ian Dallas, Creative Director / Indiecade Pix

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

We’re t-minus 13 days until everyone can download and play The Unfinished Swan, and we’ve got 4 pieces of news for you today:

First up, Sony’s posted another excellent developer diary for The Unfinished Swan. This one is about the music in the game, and it features composure Joel Corelitz talking about how he breathed life into the musical world of Swan. Joel works under the name waveplant, and you can find more of his work at

Second, Ben wrote another post for the PlayStation Blog called “The Unfinished Swan: 10 Things You Need to Know,” it’s got some surprises and nifty details (but no spoilers).

Third, Ian was profiled by Evan Shamoon for Polygon in this article: Whitespace: The man behind ‘The Unfinished Swan’

Fourth and finally, we’ve thrown up some pictures of our Indiecade trip on Imgur, check out the album and see which splats we gave away. Also the luscious hair portrait I got with John Romero.

Release Date(s)! Indiecade! Poster Giveaway! Developer Diary! My Bursting Heart!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

UPDATE: Two things now that we’ve actually been at Indiecade a little bit:

1. To claim your poster, you must visit our booth and tell us the pass phrase in person. Our booth is in Sony’s tent, they’re calling it “The Creators Lounge.”

2. Ben’s showing Kachina in a tent right next to the Creator’s Lounge/check-in tent, not the Firehouse. You can follow him directly for more deets on twitter: @torahhorse

True Believers, bear with me as I enthusiastically hammer this post out in my rush to physically be at Indiecade, rather than writing about it. Everything that we could possibly desire to have happen is happening this week!

RELEASE DATE (it’s 23 OCT 2012):

First, as of 6 AM this morning, Sony has lifted the press embargo on our release date. The Unfinished Swan will be available for download on PSN on October 23rd. PlayStation Plus subscribers can get the game a week early, on October 16th. Sony even has a store page primed and ready!


We’ll be at Indiecade all weekend! We’ll be showing The Unfinished Swan in Sony’s pavilion, which will be open the following times:

5 pm – 7 pm Friday, 10/5 (TODAY!!!)

10 am – 7 pm Saturday, 10/6 (Tomorrow!)

12 pm – 5 pm Sunday, 10/7 (The distant future.)

We will be stopping by over the course of the weekend– consider this our “home base” at Indiecade. This will also be the location of our giveaway, which brings me to my next point!


Indiecade would not be complete without swag schwag presents. If you remember way back in 2009, we spent a morning throwing a bunch of paint around an undisclosed location. That was only the first time we did that. At a later date, with great experimental rigor, we decamped to another secret location and dropped paint onto a series of poster boards, in effect creating giant slides of reference splats. These slides were later photographed, scanned, and used as source material for the splats in the game throughout Unfinished Swan‘s development.

A very limited number of these survived, and we’ve turned them into signed and framed posters (see above). We’ll be giving one away every half hour to the first person who tells us the day’s pass phrase that we announce on twitter through the @GiantSparrow account.

Thank you to the handsome and talented Joshua Beeler, Cory Davis, and Julius Edraisa for modeling the poster for us.


Sony filmed a series of these Developer Diaries with us, they offer a unique perspective into the development of the game. If you’re not a fan of the PlayStation Blog, you can check out the first one on Youtube (or here):

That’s all for now, we hope to see you at Indiecade!

-Max (@MaxGeiger)


I lied. That was not all. I almost forgot that Giant Sparrow’s level designer extraordinaire, Benjamin Esposito (@torahhorse), has a personal game at Indiecade. He’ll be showing his game, Kachina, in the firestation (edit: Ben’s actually showing Kachina with the other games by the main checkin area) with all the other Official Selections. Check it out!

Where has The Unfinished Swan been?

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

The Unfinished Swan is almost ready go, and we’re all super excited. I just wanted to do a quick recap of where the game has traveled along the way.

The Unfinished Swan - Map
Click it to check out the sweet map I made (those are swan footprints stomping across the world).

Tokyo, Japan
Sense of Wonder Night 2009 – Ian brought the game here and got the attention of Sony
Tokyo Game Show 2012 -Mostly final version of the game was playable on the show floor, we hear it got pretty crowded!

Austin, Texas
Unfinished Swan at Fantastic Arcade
Fantastic Arcade 2012 – We got to show the game a few days ago at Fantastic Arcade, as part of Fantastic Fest.. hopefully we can be there in person to hang out next time!
picture by Harvey Smith, thanks!

Cologne, Germany
Gamescom 2012 – Where we released a new trailer

San Diego, California
Comic Con 2012 – In which we hosted a panel discussion about the art of The Unfinished Swan. Hokyo is a major celebrity. Watch the panel here.

Seattle, Washington
Indiecade 2009 – Where Ian let people play the prototype
PAX Prime 2012 – Where we handed out a million t-shirts!

New York, New York
Sony Press Event 2012 – Complete with hot hot nyc subways

Los Angeles, California
TUS at E3
E3 2012 – Was surprisingly pleasant. People were really receptive to the ideas in our game. There’s hope for the future! Also Miyamoto played the game (he said it was cool).

Paris, France
Joue le Jeu at La Gaîté Lyrique 2012 – So we could say that we showed our work at a gallery in Paris. No big deal.

San Francisco, California
IGF 2009 – The Unfinished Swan was nominated in the student category

There are so many countries we have yet to visit; hopefully we’ll be able to spread the love in the future. I’m looking at you, Canada. And you, Australia!

Until next time,

An Interview With Max Geiger, Producer

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012


What do you do at Giant Sparrow?
I’m a producer. Because we’re 12 people, that means I’m a cross between a COO, a project manager, and a janitor. When I started I also did a little design work, but when we got bigger, I specialized more in the dark art of producing.

What did you do before this?
I did bro-science on a reality TV show. Being on reality TV in your early 20’s is this generation’s equivalent of stripping your way through med school, only less noble. It was fun though. Before that, I was a game designer at a Bay Area start-up.

Max is constantly tweaking out, it's troubling
Max ponders at his desk.. “how did I get here?”

Ben asks: What was your favorite school subject? Why?
History? Economics? Anthropology? I like to pretend that I’m interested in a few different things, but I’m a sucker for any subject which is about the “who, what, when, where, how,” and ultimately “why” of human nature.

Eric asks: What’s your favorite office activity or prank?
Drinking coffee. We get to use Sony’s kitchen, and they have Keurig machines, which make surprisingly acceptable coffee. But then I feel guilty over how much waste those little cartridges make. Putting that aside, single-serve coffee-on-demand is a pretty elegant solution to keeping your workforce supplied with fresh java, and no one has to clean or take the fall for not making a fresh pot.

It came out of the camera like this, I swear
Max traverses the labyrinth in the hotel where we announced our game

Hokyo asks: Do you believe in aliens? Have you seen or met them? Explain.
Yes and no. I think the Drake Equation probably bears out, but I think Stanislaw Lem got it mostly right in “His Master’s Voice” about the fundamental “otherness” of intelligent life and the ultimate impossibility of communicating with a truly alien form of life, never mind the distance involved. I think the odds of the human race having a meaningful or important encounter with an alien species are low enough that it’s not worth thinking about. The prospect of what we could learn from finding alien bacteria in our solar system is much more intriguing to me. Plus we’re probably scaring everyone off with our meat bodies. I’m not comfortable with the fact that this alien question, and talking about the Keurig are my longest answers. Please buy our game!

and finally, What do you see?
Ink Blot #1

A goliath beetle, with its carapace open and wings out. He seems like a cool dude.


Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Okay, so I just wrote my name on the labyrinth. Either way, I’m really excited to see what kind of stuff people paint in The Unfinished Swan.

I’ll also be posting more arty art photos on giant sparrow’s instagram account, look for more on @giantsparrow

-BEN (if it wasn’t obvious)

Introducing The King

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Like a lot of other great artists, our King is a little crazy.

He’s the one who created the entire world that players will be exploring in The Unfinished Swan. And I don’t want to give too much away, but the King built a lot of cool stuff. If you like all-white statue gardens, giant labyrinths, or colossal monuments to the King then you’re in luck.

Unfortunately, most people don’t like those things. At least not in their backyard. Turns out living in the middle of a giant labyrinth is pretty inconvenient, which is why just about everyone in the kingdom eventually moved away. But the King is the sort of guy who goes right on building the stuff he wants no matter what other people think about it. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on your point of view and — like I said — how you feel about giant labyrinths.

– Ian

Love & Friendship at PAX

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Woah, PAX Prime was somethin’ else. PAX feels different than most shows, it feels full… of love. I saw people from the internet meeting for the first time. Hugs. Fifth Element cosplay. Twilight Zone pinball. Chalk it up to the affordable tickets & focus on fan events (plus free board game rentals!). That aside, we’re super thankful for everyone who came by to say hi and try The Unfinished Swan.

Friendship Mode
While demoing the game, we had some pairs of players who saw that the game has both Move & Dualshock controls and asked to play together. With that, the [totally 100% unsupported by Giant Sparrow] “Friendship Mode” was born:
Friendship mode

Of course, seeing pairs play together inspired others to try it, and while it did require some top notch communication skills (who gets to control the camera?), it seemed like a nice way to share the experience. Also we gave out all 500 Unfinished Swan T-Shirts!

‘Till Next Time
I’d definitely like to shorten the floor demo a little bit to provide a good stopping point for less experienced players & to give more players a chance to play (we got swamped on the second day). Bringing one or two more staff would be nice too — interacting with fans turned out to be the most rewarding. I’d also bring an alternate giveaway in addition to t-shirts, since we inevitably ran out of certain sizes. I’m thinking pins maybe? Is there any swag that is more universal?

I also got the chance to check out a few other rad games at the show including Antichamber, Guacamelee, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Hotline Miami, Super Time Force, and more.
If you couldn’t make it to PAX, we’ll let you know where we’ll be showing The Unfinished Swan next (as soon as we figure it out..)

<3 Ben

I like you & Giant Sparrow at Pax Prime

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Alright, look, I know we’ve been social media slackers, but I want to do right by you, junior sparrows. You’re here because you care about the future of games.. and you’ve got excellent taste (and I really like your hair). You probably don’t care that much about our team lunches, so I’m taking the blog back for you. And updating more often.

ANYWAY From August 31st-Sept 2nd, Ian and I will be at PAX Prime in Seattle to demo The Unfinished Swan. That’s right, on the floor. We’ve been working hard to get the game ready for the show. If you’re lucky enough to be attending PAX this year, stop by the Sony booth to try it out.
If you wanna say hi when you’re there, or heck, anywhere, tweet at us @giantsparrow or tweet directly at me, @torahhorse. I’ll do my best to check both of them while I’m there.

I’ll also be part of a panel called Breaking Into the Games Industry. I’ll talk about how I got started at Giant Sparrow!
/shameless self promotion