'Unfinished Swan' hopes to be the best 15 minutes of a game, over and over again

In Unfinished Swan players paint their way through a white on white world, using blobs of black paint to add depth and substance to their surroundings.

In Unfinished Swan players paint their way through a white on white world, using blobs of black paint to add depth and substance to their surroundings.

But that artful game mechanic is really just the first of many ways that players will explore the storybook world of an orphaned boy and his hunt through the life and memories of his dead mother.

"We liked how novel the experience (of exploring the world with paint) is but it begins to get a little bit old," said Ian Dallas, creative director at Giant Sparrow. "Rather than take one mechanic and build around that, we tried to take the first 15 minutes of a great game and do it over and over again."

What that means is that each of the Playstation game's four chapters will have at least one primary core mechanic, sometimes more, Dallas said.

To illustrate that point, Dallas jumped the game to about half way in. Here the world is fully realized, without the help of paint. The chapter opens on a stark city of pale blues, whites and the occasional contrasting black. In this chapter, instead of painting the world visible, players throw balls of blue water onto the ground to encourage the growth of a cluster of vines. Guiding the vines through the city, up trellises, across the side of bridges, along walls, players are able to move through the chapter.

At one point in the game, players can stop to look back and see how they've explored the world and wrapped it in vines. The game is also designed to allow players to explore the world at their own pace, perhaps missing things, like the occasional sea monster, on their first pass through.

"We didn't want to grab control of the camera," Dallas said, "we wanted players to explore on their own."

While Dallas declined to show off what other mechanics might be in the game, he did offer a glimpse of one that wouldn't be: The ability to create 10-feet deep puddles of water.

The game will also feature toys a gamer can use to impact their gameplay, perhaps helping to encourage multiple play throughs of the game. The only one Dallas mentioned was a toy that can stop time temporarily, making the balls of paint or water shot into the screen to all freeze in mid-air for a time. When you unpause time, all of the balls fall to the ground.

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