Most of the time, when playing first-person games, players have the benefits of using guns or some other form of ability to fend off enemies and/or solve problems. However, in Campo Santo’s forthcoming Firewatch, the answers don’t come so easily.
The game, set to release later this year for PlayStation 4 and PC, takes place during the 1980’s, and is set in the vast Wyoming wilderness. It’s here that Henry, a fire ranger, keeps a close eye on the terrain, from the comfort of his recently assigned tower in Shoshone National Forest. Life is good for a while, but then strange occurrences start taking place, leaving Henry to question what’s going on.
It starts with a ransacking of the tower, but soon, after exploring areas within the forest, he finds there’s more to the story, and soon begins seeking out clues in an attempt to figure out what’s going on.
Firewatch isn’t your typical firefighter drama, as the game relies more on solving a mystery than battling flames. But that’s what the developers at Campo Santo had in mind for the game all along, employing a specific “no guns” rule to make sure the experience was as realistic as possible.
Image source: PlayStation Blog
But Henry isn’t going it alone. He carries around a walkie-talkie and keeps in consistent contact with his supervisor Delilah, filling her in on the situation and getting tips from her on where to go next. There’s a unique dynamic in Firewatch that focuses on the relationship between the two, mainly based on communication. (It’s not all serious – it digs into personal matters, as well as the occasional joke.)
Now, if Henry responds to every one of Delilah’s inquiries, they’ll maintain a good, strong partnership that will help him through his toughest situations. However, if the player chooses to ignore her, she’ll become more tense, and Henry will have to rely more on his survival skills to figure out what’s happening. It’s interesting to see how both ways play out, and to see what kind of effect they have on the overall end game.
As a fire ranger, you’ll also have to deal with occasional issues in your day-to-day job, such as who’s setting off fireworks in the distance or kids that may be causing trouble by the lake. Interactivity within the game’s world plays a vital part, as you can pick up items – for instance, all the junk that the firework-setting group left behind. Who knew that picking up a boombox and a bottle of whiskey in a single run would be so law-enforcing?
With beautiful color shading (especially during sunsets, when a bright orange tint surrounds your environment) and plenty of intense moments that require survival skills and puzzle solving, Firewatch definitely stands out from the usual first-person fare – especially with the strange mystery that’s on hand, and how you choose to work (or not work) with your partner in solving it. We’ll see just what Campo Santo has in mind when the game arrives later this year. Check out the action in the trailer below.