The Unfinished Swan combines exploration and linear elements in a way that makes the player feel free, even though they’re not – because freedom without constraints isn’t fun.
“We do want the game to feel like it’s really open and freeform,” creative director Ian Dallas told GiantBomb.
“We want players to feel like they’re exploring the game world, like legitimately we’re not telling them what to do. They’re actually just going out there and finding it for themselves,” he said.
“But it turns out if you make a game that’s completely open that’s the opposite of fun, it just ends up being really frustrating. The goal for us is to make it feel a little more open than it is.
“In terms of mechanics, we’re really trying to give people a toy they can use to explore the world with. We’re not telling them what to do with it,” he added.
The Unfinished Swan is set to release via the PlayStation Network later this year, the first of a three game deal with Sony during which Giant Sparrow will be “incubated” inside Sony Santa Monica, much as thatgamecompany was.