PAX Panel: Firewatch
Firewatch was a game surrounded by mysterious, and we covered an article about the game while waiting for more information to be revealed. On Saturday, the developers at Campo Santo unveiled their mysterious game at their panel and revealed full details about the story and tone for the game.
In Firewatch, the protagonist Henry is a recently hired lookout in the Wyoming area. The game is a first-person mystery, and the developers at Campo Santo thought it would be more inviting to players to experience the world from the eyes of the protagonist.
In the demo Campo Santo showed, Henry has received word that teenagers are causing trouble somewhere in the forest. The game is based on the feeling of being alone, and managing to survive, while learning more about the land. Henry can only contact the outside world by means of his radio, but he is able to interact with the environment by picking up items, starting fires, and exploring the world.
Henry lives in a tower and his only communication is with a girl named Delilah, his boss and someone he has a deep relationship with. The radio is always on, and the player can choose how he wishes to respond to Delilah, even with silence if necessary. The responses the player chooses will alter the narrative and their relationship with Delilah as they play the game.
Jake Rodkin who had worked on Telltale’s game The Walking Dead, used Henry to interact with the world around him by picking up beer cans, stacking items, and fooling around. Fire works go off in the distance and Henry investigates. He soon discovers the campsite where the fire works came from and follows the trail to find women’s undergarments strewn across the ground, leading to some very funny dialogue between him and Delilah, an great example of the humor the game will feature.
As Henry finds the girls skinny dipping in the distance, he is given the choice to yell at them, but is only ignored as they insult him. Then one of the options that is allowed in the game, the choice to do whatever the player wishes occurs. Henry picks up their boombox and throws it in the water, causing the girls to curse and Henry to laugh at their expense.
This is just one of the many ways the player can alter the narrative. As Henry makes his way back he discovers his tower has been vandalized, beginning the mystery of the game. Almost no one is out there in the wilderness, but someone has taken his things, Henry is angry but curious, and sadly the demo ends.
Campo Santo set out to make a game that players can explore and fool around in, and while they explained it isn’t big as games like Skyrim, the player has the choice to skip narrative arcs to just discover more mysteries and items hidden throughout the game. The game is set to release sometime in 2015 on PC, and with early plans for iOS devices. The team has not ruled out the possibility of releasing on consoles, but are right now focusing on releasing the game.
Firewatch looks amazing, and I can’t wait to explore Wyoming and fool around with the environment.