A Quick Talk with Cory Davis on The Unfinished Swan

Today sees the official release of the long awaited The Unfinished Swan. If you’re like us, you’ve been excitedly awaiting to get your hands on this game. Before playing it though, you should check out our Q&A with Cory Davis, artist from The Unfinished Swan developer Giant Sparrow. 

DS: Your game, The Unfinished Swan, is pretty much unlike anything 
we’ve seen in video games before. What inspired and influenced the
creation of such a unique game? Any specific works or artists?

CD: One influence that really stands out to me is Shel Silverstein.  I love his artwork.  He had a simple style to his drawings that really captures your imagination.  He also had a similar way of creating a story/poem that on the outside seems aimed towards children, yet has deeper meanings for adults.

DS: Upon seeing The Unfinished Swan for the first time, it evokes a 
sense of awe combined with a desire for discovery. Apart from this, is
there more you aim to evoke from players?

CD: I would love for them to want to take their time.  A lot of people rush through games, just trying to complete the objectives as quickly as possible.  I would want them to take the time to splat things in different ways to look cool, instead of just throwing them everywhere randomly to find the finish line.  Stop and take a breath and enjoy the view of the whole city around them, instead of rushing to the next red paddle.

DS: In the last couple of years it seems that Sony has put a lot of
effort into allowing artistic games, like this one, to be more
accessible to gamers. Can you tell us about that relationship, and
what it’s like to work alongside developer Sony Santa Monica, who make
games that are so radically different from your own?

CD: The people at Sony are amazing.   Their main team definitely makes a different type of game than us, but they are some of the nicest people I’ve met.  Not what I would have imagined from the people behind God of War.  We have a small team, with a few of us being fairly new to the game industry.  Whenever we don’t know how to do something or need advice, Sony is very quick to send over an expert on the subject from their team to help us out.   They’re always happy to help and excited about our game.

DS: Artistic games had been a pretty niche market, yet it’s had a major
boom as of recently with great successes like Journey, or Braid a
few years back. What do you think has lead to this? Do you think
there’s more to this than these games just being more easily
accessible to players because of the growth of digital distribution?

CD: The accessibility definitely helps, but I think a wide range of people are attracted to something creative and artistic.  Hardcore gamers get a short break and change of pace from their usual games, while casual gamers and non-gamers can play something fun that doesn’t take forever to finish or break the bank.

Special thanks to Cory Davis and Giant Sparrow for participating in this interview.

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Daryl Sanchez

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