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Archive for September, 2012

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