When Campo Santo debuted their footage for Firewatch the audience at large wasn’t quite sure what they were in for. All we really knew was that the game looked gorgeous, was in first person, and involved some walkie talkie action. Now with the February release creeping up, Sean Vanaman, designer on Firewatch spoke exclusively with Examiner about love, choice, and more in the upcoming mystery-adventure game.
While we know that we’ll be chatting with our superior, Delilah via our handy dandy walkie talkie, Vanaman was quick to shoot down our question of if Henry will run into other lookouts or explore other towers. Vanaman exclaimed in the nicest way possible, “Not going to answer that!”
I think the mystery of anything we haven’t shown should remain a mystery until you play.
In a time of revealing far too much, spoiling plot in trailers, or spilling the beans on characters you might encounter on a quest, Vanaman’s holding some details close to the chest, and it’s a welcome omission. Firewatch is still largely a mystery in and of itself in regards to the details beyond we are in Wyoming, we play Henry, and weird things go on in the wilderness. Those themes lend themselves to some great opportunity for playing with sanity in solitude, making the player question what exactly is going on, and judging from trailers thus far, Firewatch looks like it could deliver some truly creepy and tense vibes throughout.
The relationship Henry and Delilah have was our next attempt at cornering Vanaman into an admission, but once again he left more for the player to discover. When asked if Henry and Delilah have any potential for a romantic relationship he referred to the answer to our question about other towers/watchmen, “Same goes for this, to be honest.”
Vanaman conceded some on the aspect of love in the game, stating “There is definitely love in the game, though.”
When prodded about choice in Firewatch, Vanaman cited that choice is a tough thing to talk about “without cracking open the game in a really sterile way!”
Expanding on the notion of choice in the game Vanaman explained,
Choice is just how you experience the game (or any good game, for that matter).
“People walk away from Firewatch with varying opinions of Henry and Delilah and their story and half of that is the things they chose to expose (how they poked and prodded the game) and the other half is how the game poked back at the player’s brain,” Vanaman said “I like that in games a lot.”
Vanaman, veteran lead and writer of the stellar Walking Dead Season 1, joins longtime friends and partner Jake Rodkin (also of Walking Dead Season 1), Chris Remo, Nels Anderson, and a bevy of extremely talented industry names at Campo Santo (Firewatch art is done by Olly Moss, if you don’t remember those incredible minimalist Star Wars posters). If you’re wanting to hear a bit of how the team works together, bounces off each other, and some unique insight into how they consume and critique games as a medium, they host the weekly Idle Thumbs podcast. Sometimes weird and off-topic, sometimes incredibly impactful and full of thought provoking analysis of games and the industry, and sometimes they just rip on Nick Breckon (Walking Dead, Bethesda alumni) for an hour, but it’s always entertaining.
Firewatch hits PlayStation 4, Mac, PC, and Linux on February 6, 2016.