Environment as Narratives

Firewatch Analysis

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Firewatch is a narrative first-person game released in 2016 by indie studio Campo Santo. In this game, the player embodies Henry, a middle-aged man spending the summer of 1989 working as a fire lookout in the Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. Studying Firewatch provides insight into the relationship between environment design and narrative experiences, since the latter is supported or emphasized by the former. Gameplay restricts players’ movement to a mountaintop, where they walk between trees and on top of rocky formations. I will unpack my shifting emotional response to the environment as I explored it. I felt the initial novelty and the awe induced by its technical prowess quickly subsided, creating in me a spectrum of affects. As the overarching narratives imposed themselves and interfaced with my reception of the game, they colored my reading, shining a new light on my surroundings. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 8

How do you know when you’re satisfied?

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In Episode 8 of the First Person Podcast we discuss Campo Santo’s debut game Firewatch. In this short episode Rob, Shawn, and Emma cover a ton of topics including: genres of horror, the cost vs time investment debate, what realistic depictions of romance in games look like, the game’s multiple endings, what games made us cry the most, and how Firewatch is like a short story in all the best ways possible. This episode is full of spoilers and we don’t recommend it if you are planning on playing Firewatch and haven’t got around to it yet. We do recommend that you go play Firewatch and experience its bomb voice acting first hand before you get back over here and listen to us because this game is definitely worth both your time and money. Continue Reading