What is  Firewatch ? The term refers to the work of lookouts, who scan for signs of wildfire from the top of purpose built towers in remote locations. Once a blaze or smoke plume is spotted, reports are filed to the local emergency center. It’s a long, lonely job, one that doesn’t easily lend itself to videogame conversion. An effective debut trailer, however, as well as an all star team of developers at Campo Santo, has kicked Firewatch off with some real buzz.


The safety of a sprawling Wyoming wilderness relies on two pairs of eyes. They belong to Henry and Delilah: he is the new recruit, a bit overwhelmed, she is the calming presence on the radio, both guiding and deriding. This trailer raised questions, as all great mysteries do. Why does Henry want to “talk about last night”? Why doesn't Delilah want to? Campo Santo, whose staff worked on  Mark of the Ninja ,  Brutal Legend, BioShock 2 and The Walking Dead: Season One, answered a few of these questions in a follow up stream.

The tone of this early-game walkthrough was lighter. Here Henry wakes to blue skies over a vast forest, and his first day on the job. He can examine objects in his tower, such as books and granola bars, and consult Delilah over the radio. Suddenly, his colleague spots fireworks in the distance, and it’s Henry’s job to stop the culprit.

On the way he finds discarded beer cans and underwear. When he stutters over the word “panties,” Delilah remarks, “What are you, 12?” Once at the lake, he finds some teens skinny dipping in the distance. The player can yell at them, go back to the tower or by far the most entertaining option throw their stereo in the lake.

Decisions like these (you have dialogue options with Delilah, too) can come back to bite you. As day turns to night, Henry arrives at his cabin to find it ransacked. Window smashed, sheets gone. The message here being: choices matter. And also: those kids liked that boombox.

It was only a small slice of a game that’s not due out until 2015, but already the likeable characters, unique visuals and intriguing mysteries of  Firewatch  have ignited my curiosity.