You may have heard of Firewatch, you may not, but last week people started talking about it as one of 2016's breakout PlayStation hits. Its Feb 9th release is drawing nearer and it's suddenly starting to look like one of the more interesting games coming out on PS4. This is why.
1 It's a little bit different
This isn't your usual first person game. No guns and very little shouting, instead it's about a park ranger adjusting to life in a remote wilderness as he watches for fires, clears litter and chases away skinny dipping teens. It's what some might call a 'walk-em-up' with the focus on the main character, Henry, as he gets on with his day-to-day work and develops a relationship with his boss, a distant voice on the radio. There's a hint of mystery and threat, but you'll have to play the game to see where that's going.
2 It's one for Telltale fans
If you like Telltale's classic output like the original Walking Dead games, then this continues that theme of making choices without realising what ramifications might come. It's not as binary as something like Mass Effect, where decisions are made and results felt on the spot. Instead decisions and dialogue shape the game with a gradual and less obvious creep.
3 The guy behind the Star Wars Darth Vader comics really rates it
Kieron Gillen recently completed a run of Darth Vader comics in the run up to the new film arriving 7 and is also behind The Wicked + The Divine, Phonogram and a stint on Iron Man. He's pretty good at doing stories and words, and has a lot of praise for Firewatch.
Just finished playing an advance copy of FIREWATCH which I liked a lot. Exactly the sort of post-GONE HOME game I'd be hoping to see.January 18, 2016
FIREWATCH is very human, hits some things at very interesting angles, and I came away thinking I'd learned a little more about myself.January 18, 2016
Obviously, what the game's doing exactly would be spoilers, but OPM staff writer Ben Tyrer describes Henry's initial introduction in the game as 'a difficult 15 minutes'.
4 Famous designer Olly Moss created its lovely art style
You might not have heard of Olly Moss but you'll have seen his art. He made a name for himself reinterpreting famous movies with instantly iconic and symbolic posters. The man can tell as story with little more than an outline and two colours:
Firewatch basically looks like his art come to life:
He's been working on the game for a couple of years and has only just finished. He's feeling a bit lost about it.
I think today I might be submitting my last bit of Firewatch work. Two and a half years! Now I have no idea what to do.January 20, 2016
5 There's serious talent behind it
The developer, Campo Santo, are small, with only 11 members. But they've got some big name games on their resume. Things like The Walking Dead, Mark of the Ninja, BioShock 2 and its Minerva's Den DLC, Brutal Legend, Gone Home, Ori and the Blind Forest, Fable 3 and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. Yeah, that's a lot of skill. Add all that together and you get an average Metacritic score of 85. Imagine what a team like that can do and it's easy to see why Firewatch is starting to catch people's eye.