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The Unfinished Swan

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The Unfinished Swan is a game based around exploration. The story is told as a fairy tale. The player controls the character Monroe whose ends up in an orphanage after his mother died. She used to paint and he brought along one of her favourite paintings: The Unfinished Swan, displaying a swan that is missing its neck. One night he awakens to discover the swan has jumped out of the canvas and has disappeared through a small door. He follows it and is transported in a magical world that is entirely white. During the journey he chases after the swan and finds out he has entered the realm of a king. The story is furthered in-game through cut-scenes between chapters and in-game drawings like pages out of a children's storybook.

The game is played from a first-person perspective and Monroe is able to move around and jump. His only ability is to splatter the world with paint. The white garden where the game starts is entirely white, meaning there are no shadows or shades to give shape to the surroundings. That way launching paint is the only means to reveal surfaces. Objects or level elements do not disappear when they are not splattered, but it is as if Monroe is walking into a giant void. It can best be compared to the process of stone rubbing where the sense of distance and perspective of the entire world is only established through the paint. The game is split up into four large chapters with multiple levels for each. The initial technique of revelation is not maintained for the entire game as it makes navigation slow. Later levels are coloured entirely of largely in shades of grey and other types of paint are introduced, but they are not used simultaneously. Often there are brightly coloured objects that show where to go next or act as landmarks.

As Monroe explores castles and cities he often needs to solve environment-based puzzles, using ladders, jumping over gaps, and using paint to activate triggers that open gates of move platforms. In the second chapter with a giant city labyrinth vines are introduced. By launching paint Monroe can guide them to cover walls and objects, providing a means to climb and cross water that is deadly. The third chapter is set in set in a dark forest entirely in black. There, Monroe has to launch paint and hurl it a neon light sources to light up the environment. In the fourth chapter he enters the king's dreams and there yet another entirely different visual style is used.

During the journey balloons are discovered. Collecting them is used to unlock options such as a balloon radar, the ability to stop time and launch several set of paints that, when time is activated again, all launch at once, unlock all levels and a gallery of concept art, and a fire hose that launches paint continuously. Two additional ones are only available when all balloons have been collected or the game has been completed respectively. The balloon radar displays a yellow balloon in the radar screen when one is nearby. The image becomes larger as the player approaches. On the level select screen the amount of collected/available balloons in each scene is shown. Optionally the game can be controlled through the Move peripheral.


  • Лебединый эскиз - Russian spelling

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Credits (PlayStation 3 version)

595 People (471 developers, 124 thanks) · View all

Creative Director
Technical Director
Senior Systems Programmer
Graphics Programmer
Additional Programming
Contract Programmer
Level Designer
Art Director
Technical Artist
Additional Art
Additional Writing
Production Assistant
Swan Animation
Swan Rig
Ooze Animation
Tech Art Consultant
Special Thanks
[ full credits ]


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Ivan Kireev.

Game added October 27th, 2012. Last modified March 9th, 2023.