a mostly dialogue-based first person video game, released to the public on
February 9th, for Playstation 4 and PC. Within four days, it reached the #2
spot on game distributor Steam's "most popular downloads" list.
As of Friday, 140,000 people had downloaded the PC version.
The game is set in 1989, post-Yellowstone fires of '88 (which is mentioned
during game play.) You are Henry, a volunteer fire lookout in a
fictionalized area of Shoshone National Forest. Campo Santo is the company
that developed the game, and co-founder Sean Vanaman grew up in Wyoming. He
pitched the idea for Firewatch based on a single childhood memory.
“I had locked into the iconography of the lookout tower early, because I
had seen one growing up in Wyoming,” he said in an interview with gaming
“It was just so enigmatic, it stayed with me a long time.”
His business partner Nels Anderson also grew up in Wyoming. But the pair
had trouble conveying the feel of the Wyoming wilderness to their design
team, and had to have a company camp-out in Yosemite to give them an idea
of what the untamed American West really looked like.
With every positive review, Firewatch's popularity grows. Most users love
the gorgeous, detailed landscapes, and the connection made to the game's
two characters based entirely on the sound of their voice. (You never
really see the face of the game's protagonist, Henry, and you only hear the
deuteragonist, Delilah, over Henry's walkie-talkie.)
The success is not without problems, though, as users reported frame rate
issues with playback on the Playstation 4, a situation which had Campo
Santo working round-the-clock to find a fix.
Firewatch is still in beta mode, so more bugs are to be expected. The
entire game is fairly short. You can finish quickly, in 4-8 hours. Some
Redditers say they've finished it in under two hours.
We played it all weekend, and it's a lot of fun (if you can get it to run
without crashing.) You can always play it several different ways, as the
"choose your own adventure" style dialogue leads to a lot of different
Firewatch is available for PC download exclusively through Steam, and for
PS4 on the Playstation store.
*Firewatch screencaps h/t Campo Santo / Pitchengine Communities*