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Posted 4:00pm

The music and sound of The Unfinished Swan

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At its core, The Unfinished Swan is about the joy of creation and self-discovery. These themes revolve around two central characters: one young, who has dealt with great loss and loneliness, and one old, who must reconcile his current stage of life as well as his fate.

One of the initial conversations I had with Peter Scaturro, music supervisor at the Santa Monica Studio, involved using the key components of the score to offset the melancholy of the story. I consciously steered away from anything that felt too sad, stark or desolate. Instead, I focused on crafting a mood that was lush, curious and warm.

We wanted the music to serve as a companion for Monroe and the player as they explored the world of the game. To achieve this, I chose to highlight certain instruments and sounds that were inspired by the characters themselves.

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Monroe’s signature sound is played by plucked and mallet instruments like marimba and harp – youthful, resonant sounds that highlight his innocence as well as the storybook-quality of the game. The bizarre, pompous King is heralded by gritty, electronic harpsichord tones.

I used acoustic sounds to imitate electronic, synthesized textures and vice versa – using analog modular synthesizers and extensive processing to evoke harpsichord and harp-like sounds. Too often, classical “thematic” scores are at odds with modern, texture-driven scores. My goal was to blur the lines and try to find the best of both worlds: to use the opportunity I had as a composer not just to write a score, but to knit the fabric for this world, completely from scratch. Aside from a live string orchestra, every sound in the score is original.

The compositional process was about subverting all traditional rules in favour of something more textural, more free-flowing – like an ocean of sound. Classical theory and traditional harmonic structures are here, but they’re lurking far below the surface. In-game ambient music is always evolving, never confined to a static loop. I wanted the music to feel seamless with the gameplay, as if it is part of the environment.

And that brings us back to the joy of creation – there’s a certain naivety in so much of my favourite art. The Unfinished Swan was the perfect opportunity to explore that. I’m so excited to put this out into the world. It was an incredible experience working with Giant Sparrow and the SCEA Music Department.

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We can all relate to Monroe’s mother and The King. The spark at the beginning of a project is what we love best about creating. The real work begins when we have to develop that initial idea into a finished product, and I’m confident that no one has played or heard a game quite like The Unfinished Swan.

See for yourself when the game releases on PSN on 24th October – or, if you’re a PS Plus subscriber, 17th October.

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Comments

18 Comments 1 Author replies
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nickspaargaren25 10 October, 2012 @ 4:16 pm   1

“See for yourself when the game releases on PSN on 24th October – or, if you’re a PS Plus subscriber, 17th October.”

For free? :)

Nicko_McBrain 10 October, 2012 @ 4:45 pm   2

I really look forward to this game, happy I can get it a week earlier! I also like the fact that you care about the music so much, the music is something a lot of people will remember.
17th October, nice!

Nice game but because SCEE are useless I’ll not be buying it.

TINTINTB303 10 October, 2012 @ 7:14 pm   4

@Voodoo341

That is the true definition of cutting your nose off to spite your face

I’ll be enjoying this game while you get all bitter and twisted over SCEE and their sub par public relations standards ;-)

I agree they can be very useless at times but I’m still going to buy great games when I see them.

Oh well, your loss matey :-)

I don’t like the 1 week exclusivity because these kind of games need all the momentum they can get, not because they are bad but because they are different. A discount would have been better.

I expect this to be worth 7 to 8 euro for me and if it’s not I wait untill I see a discount but with Bulletstorm downloading now at an amazingly slow speed for already 5 hours and not even beeing at 50% I have enough time to waist.

@TINTINTB303

Not my loss at all. There are tonnes of original and unique indie games available on Steam and XBL. You can look forward to SCEE making a mess of the release. If any thing it’s Sonys loss. They can’t afford to lose many more customers.

Project2insanity 10 October, 2012 @ 11:55 pm   7

@Voodoo341; Tonnes of original and unique indie games on Steam and XBL, you say. Isn’t that the age-old argument of quality versus quantity? I have one word in that case: Journey.

@project2insanity

If you really believe there are no quality titles on Steam and XBL then you are truly in denial. Not only are there probably more quality titles that PSN you’ll also not have to wait for months for a title in Europe that the Americans are playing. I feel sorry for Giant Sparrow.

Interesting stuff!

Stonesthrow 11 October, 2012 @ 1:30 pm   10

Can’t wait for this. And enough with the PSN hate already, just because a few small downloadable games get pushed back or cancelled you guys are ready to switch platforms? This is a different console afterall, we don’t know all the technical issues that come with that.. And now you’re even ‘punishing’ a completely unrelated studio because of that? Not to mention yourselves for missing out on this. Oh well, their loss, even if they don’t realise :p

@voodoo341

there are some decent community games on xbox but there is also a lot of crap…as xbox has demos for every game you can see just how bad some of them are – that is if I feel like rummaging through the interface that looks as if it was created by someone with a mental disorder high on amphetamines

I am looking forward to this – hope there is a plus discount (hint hint)

Project2insanity 11 October, 2012 @ 8:46 pm   12

@Voodoo341; It looks like Izorpo above knows what I mean. I didn’t say there are no quality titles whatsoever elsewhere but if you can name just one downloadable only title that created a bigger stir than Journey, I’ll buy then eat my hat.

Voodoo341 11 October, 2012 @ 9:13 pm   13

@Project2insanity

I’ll give you three from just this year. Fez, Minecraft and Trials Evolution. All from this year, all with demos, all last longer than three hours and all received rave reviews. Only Sony are dumb enough to release a demo 6 months after a the full game was released. Start digging.

Stonesthrow 12 October, 2012 @ 2:46 am   14

Journey is kind of an open world game, so a demo is probably harder to realise than in other type of games..

Project2insanity 12 October, 2012 @ 7:48 pm   15

@Voodoo341; I don’t really know why I bother replying but here I am. You mentioned demos and length in response to me, both of which are completely irrelevant. As for Sony being dumb about the demo- did you not see the news about Journey’s sales a little while back?

As for rave reviews- yes, they all did ‘including’ Journey so this again is irrelevant. Try setting aside your personal vendetta against SCEE for once.

Voodoo341 12 October, 2012 @ 9:32 pm   16

@projecttoinsanity

You asked me to name one title on XBL or Steam that had that ‘created a bigger stir’ than Journey. I gave you three and you now say it’s irrelevant! LMAO

Project2insanity 13 October, 2012 @ 12:07 am   17

@Voodoo341; I’ll give this one last try with you. Can you seriously read what you’re replying to so you can fully comprehend the debates you get yourself into?

I specified demos and length of the games were irrelevant or do you automatically presume that any shorter game without a demo cannot have any form of hype? If you think not (and I stress ‘if’ you think not), I humbly request you stop posting your opinion on anything because that would tell us you may not have the capacity for thought.

Your statement of rave reviews is the only thing you said that may have been relevant had Journey not been in the same situation. You can’t claim a title was so much greater based on reviews when those reviews have little to no difference between them. As such, this renders them irrelevant in this ‘discussion’.

Voodoo341 13 October, 2012 @ 6:50 am   18

@project2insanity

It was my comment and demos and lengths of games are relevant to me. I gave you not one but three games just as good if not better than Journey and you can’t accept it. Better quality games and games that last longer and all have demos. See how that all fits in? Whatever you want!

The fact you’ve had to result to personal insults really says it all.