It’s not very often a game comes along that has me immediately hooked from the minute I see the first piece of concept work. Firewatch is a mystery game set in the woodlands of Wyoming, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio. The game takes place in 1989, one year after the events of the devastating Yellowstone fires of 1988. You play as a protagonist known only as Henry who has retreated from his previous life – which no doubt will be explained once the game is in your hands.
Henry pictures an equipment container in near sight. Maybe something helpful?
You take up the role of a Firewatch Volunteer, in which you watch over a densely populated forest within the Wyoming wilderness. From atop of your isolated watch tower you keep lookout for smoke and anything that may endanger the environment around you. Within this secluded area of woodland your only form of contact with the world you’ve left behind is a woman named Delilah – whom is your supervisor and is always obtainable via handheld radio.
“Firewatch is a mystery game set in the woodlands of Wyoming, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio.“
Everything seems pleasant within your surrounding thicket until something strange draws you out of your isolated comfort aloft the treetops. This curiosity catapults you into the unknown where you’ll find yourself asking questions and making certain choices and decisions that can have drastic effect on the only lifeline you hold dear with the outside world. You are able to use climbing ropes, axes and other objects that will give you certain abilities in order to help you traverse the landscape.
You live amongst the tree tops in seclution in your very own lookout tower. Nothing could go wrong, right?…right?
This is Campo Santo‘s first major video game release, though the team is made up of an array of talents that have worked on titles such as BioShock II, The Cave, The Walking Dead: Season 1 (game) and many more. The game takes on a glorious, vivid and vibrant art style in which you experience in first person mode.
I first heard about the game through Marty Silvas article on IGN in which he states;
“Firewatch sounds like a marriage of the original BioShock and Metroid Prime, minus the combat but doubling down on the narrative, dialogue, and environmental storytelling.”
Sean Vanaman, co-founder of Campo Santo tells of how “The first BioShock still stands out to us. I’ll never forget hearing Atlas in my ear for the first time, and then seeing him for half a second near the sub, but at the same time, I always wanted to be to respond to him. But I never could”.Vanaman hopes to allow Henry to become more social than BioShock’s main protagonist and wants us to question our actions or anything that may be suspicious within Firewatch’s environment.
Anyone who can relate a title to that of BioShock, or take inspiration from my all time favourite game and relate to how the storytelling could be made more engaging for the player, is something that makes me all ears. Anyone who knows me understands the love I have for Irrational Games’ Bioshock, so when a game even shares the same sentence as it, I know it’s going to be onto something special.
Your handheld radio is the only form of contact with the world you left behind.
The game is still early in development, although looking to release in 2015. “Nothing is final as of yet, as stated the game is still in early development so could be changed in many areas” Vanaman stated. The game at the minute will only be released on Windows, Mac and Linux. I really hope to see this come to console, especially PS4, and hope this is something that can be worked out before release.
I’ve watched and read up on so much of the game already. I feel like I’m at the point where I’d like to no nothing more until I can experience it for myself, the game is a mystery story after all and already has me interested and left wanting more. It’s no good if you’ve already cracked it before lacing up your Firewatch safety boots now is it!
The game does not operate on a 24 hour night cycle but the time will change to match the narrative of the story as you progress.
A lot of Video games these days are publicised to the point in which we know every major and minor detail before we play and nothing is left to us as a player, nothing feels as special when playing a game first hand. Knowing very little about a game creates that atmosphere and giddy tension, which leaves you wanting to know more. It’s like watching a trailer of an upcoming film, thinking it looks amazing and then being left disappointed after seeing too much of the title beforehand.
I remember playing ‘Journey’ on the PS3 for the first time, not having any concept of what the game was and what I was meant to do, apart from knowing to head towards a mountain in the distance. Six hours later, time had passed me by without realisation and I was simply left in awe of the game. Firewatch is something in which I hope to hold the same experience with. Just recently, I wrote about “My most anticipated games of 2015” in which I had no idea about this title. If I’d known now what I did then this would of knocked Metal Gear Solid V off it’s pedestal and plonked it’s self straight at numero uno.
As you can see the view is absolutely beautiful and the art style really captures that dry, hot, summer.
I really do advise you to read up further on the game if you haven’t already; it’s something that’s hard to explain at first, in which I’ve tried best to do so in this article. It really seems like one of them games that doesn’t come around very often. I could go on and on about how amazing I think it’s looking but I don’t think there’s a character limit big enough. I put writing other blog articles on hold just so I could write about this beautiful game. I advise you to do the same, It’s worth checking out their reveal trailer if you’d like a taster of what to expect. So go on, volunteer as a lookout today and check this mother out. You won’t regret it!