What kinds of qualities could create the most boring job on earth? Perhaps one where you are confined to a small area 24/7? Lacking direct contact with any living humans? Tasked with waiting and watching for events that almost never happen? I may have just described an anti-socialite’s dream, but to the rest of us, being a fire lookout and having to hang around all day and night in a watchtower in the middle of the Wyoming wilderness would be incredibly tedious. But that’s not going to stop anyone from making a game about just such an occupation. But turns out Firewatch is anything but a dull simulation game. In fact it’s on my list of most anticipated games of early 2016.
First of all, you’re not going to be stuck in your tower waiting for the world to burn down for the entire game alone. Not completely alone, at least. Our hero Henry’s constant companion is his supervisor Delilah, but he’s only able to communicate with her by radio. But beyond that, spooky and bizarre stuff starts happening and Henry finds himself basically forced to investigate exactly what in the Sam Hill is going on around here. And if I were to bet, I’d say it’s going to turn out to be something a bit more out-of-the-ordinary than a forest fire.
The characters will be hoisted up by the voice acting talents of Rich Sommer (Mad Men) and Cissy Jones (The Walking Dead). But for me the real hooker in Firewatch are the incredible visuals combined with the promise of a great mystery story. Somehow the developers have tapped into the perfect meeting-ground between realism and artistry with the graphical style of Firewatch, and when I get to the part of the trailer where Delilah is surprised to hear Henry say he’s not currently in his tower (because someone is), it gives me a case of the bumps. Watch for yourself:
Firewatch will be coming out February 9th on PS4 as well as Windows, Mac and Linux.