It’s Hard To Find People Who Don’t Like The Unfinished Swan

I’m not sure what’s not to like about the first-person painting/shooter The Unfinished Swan. Who wouldn’t love this game?

A few people have trouble with the game, the game’s creative director Ian Dallas told me while he let me zip through the game’s introductory level… one in which you start in what appears to be a white void but slowly reveal the contours of the space you’re in by splattering it with paint. “We had one tester who spent two hours in this level that you’re about to finish in four minutes,” he said. And she didn’t like it? Actually, Dallas said, she actually said she had a good time. Some people who get stuck in the game, he joked, are people who are used to having obstacles in their life.

So who didn’t like it? Shooter fans? No, many of them who tried it at E3 liked it too, Dallas said. Some people try it and walk away after a short time. But most like it.

What’s not to like? The game is distinct. You’re painting a world so you can see it, though there will be a Trophy in your future if you can zip through the game’s opening stark-white level without painting it.

Later in the game, in the other level Dallas and his team have been showing, you’re not painting the world into existence; you’re shooting water in front of vines to make vines grow in those directions… up walls so you can climb them, for example. Some people didn’t understand that system, so now the vines grow more aggressively in the direction of any water you shoot. Another possible point of player dissatisfaction resolved.

The Unfinished Swan remains, simply, a hard game not to enjoy. It feels fresh. It’s innovative while still having the satisfying feedback of being a first-person shooter (no enemies to shoot, as far as I’ve seen). It’s also, maddeningly still without a release date. It’s coming to the PlayStation 3 some day. And it was shown at a Sony PlayStation showcase last week for games that are otherwise set for release by the end of March. So… soon?

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