by Ewan Wilson
Mystery adventure Firewatch is Campo Santo's first game
Firewatch is San Francisco developer Campo Santo’s first game. Announced at PAX Prime, the first-person mystery adventure is set in Wyoming’s isolated wilderness. How weird, surreal or even supernatural the mystery will be is unknown at this point, but it does seem a little reminiscent of Remedy’s Alan Wake. You play a rookie fire lookout, who ventures out from his log-cabin tower unarmed and with only a handheld radio to keep in contact with his supervisor. Firewatch isn’t so much an open sandbox, as a narrative experience where the various choices you make will feed back into both the resulting plot and the evolving radio-relationship with your supervisor.
Campo Santo has said that they’ve worked hard watching how people play and what they do and interact with, and continually update the branching dialogue so that no matter how unexpected the action a player takes, the game will hopefully always have something interesting to give back in response. Firewatch’s wilderness already looks impressively vivid. The fiery sunsets and starry night skies alone make this a project worth watching. It’ll also be interesting to see how far Campo Santo can take their design philosophy – balancing a strong narrative with player freedom and emerging possibilities.