Hello and welcome to the latest in our series of discussion reviews of modern indie adventure games (with spoilers).

That’s a sentence that neatly describes what we do each time, but in case you aren’t one of our legion of enthusiastic regular readers, previous instalments have seen us tackle The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Gone Home and Her Story. Bear in mind the bit about spoilers though, before clicking on those links.

Today we’re looking at Firewatch, the 2016 adventure from developers Campo Santo. Set in 1989, you are Henry, a middle-aged man who takes a job as a lookout in the Shoshone National Forest in order to put some distance between himself and his problems.

That’s probably about as much as we want to say, unless you’ve played the game already. Here’s a short teaser trailer:

As with the other games we’ve covered in this series, Firewatch is pretty short and offers at best a gentle challenge. It also received quite a lot of critical acclaim, with which we’re both in accordance, so we’d definitely nudge you enthusiastically in its direction, if you’ve not played it already.

Otherwise, ***final spoiler warning*** for the discussion ahead!


I Wait for Sales

Rik: Well, shall we start with how we came to choose this one? I don’t think it was anyone’s choice, particularly. We sort of both agreed it would be the next one we covered, although you’d played it previously and I hadn’t.

Jo: I think I was keen to play it off the back of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, not that I want to launch right in to comparing the two. But I guess I was thinking about what bothered me about Ethan Carter with the wandering around and I kept thinking “well that didn’t bother me in Firewatch…”

Rik: I’d just heard good things. It probably came out at the tail end of when I still paid attention to games media, in terms of the latest releases. I bought my last new PC in 2015, and I guess with a new machine you sort of go looking for what’s fresh and hip for a little while. I had also played Gone Home by then, so kept my eyes peeled for stuff that was similar.

Jo: So, once you’d got your new PC did you buy Firewatch when it came out?

Rik: No, I wait for sales, as we’ve established. Even though it was mid-price anyway. How about you?

Jo: After Gone Home had reignited my enjoyment of gaming, someone recommended Firewatch and Her Story.

Rik: So we are completing that trilogy I guess. With an Ethan Carter detour.

Jo: And then I was kind of like… ‘hey, there are all sorts of games out there I could play’. And every Steam and GOG sale since has re-emphasised that point. But I guess I leaned more towards Firewatch than Her Story because it appeared most similar to Gone Home. Not that they are similar, really.

Rik: Well I think they are…

Jo: Really?

Rik: I think so. They’re like each other and also like Ethan Carter. But Gone Home and Ethan Carter aren’t as similar to each other, I guess. There’s a Venn diagram in there somewhere.

Jo: Yeah, I see what you mean. I think some of the same folk worked on Gone Home and Firewatch? I know that Chris Remo (who does the soundtrack on both games) worked on them both at least?

Rik: I think Bioshock (or Bioshock 2) people were involved again? Will have to look it up.

[A brief Google search confirms that we were both almost entirely wrong, and that the creators worked on the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series].

Jo: Did you know much going in? (I had only watched the trailer).

Rik: Not really. The only reviews I read didn’t spoil anything at all.


Effing and Jeffing

Rik: So, I was slightly surprised by the text prologue. I wasn’t expecting deep stuff to be presented so quickly.

Jo: No, that threw me first time around.

Rik: And the choices feel important, which is kind of ironic considering there aren’t really any more in the game.

Jo: Yeah, you can sort of decide what type of person Henry is.

Rik: But you can’t make him a saint. Some choices are better than others, but sometimes neither is good. ‘Do you put your wife with dementia in a home or try and look after her even though you don’t know how’ – ummm, I just started playing this game, dude.

Jo: It gets right to it, in that respect. I wasn’t expecting it first time around.

Rik: It’s a bit unusual, in that Henry is defined by that initial introduction, and you don’t really uncover much more about him in the game.

Jo: Playing it a second time, I think that first bit is a nice intro to the controls as well, because there are tiny action bits interspersed between the text choices.

Rik: It’s just walking around mainly, though, isn’t it?

Jo: Yeah, jumping over logs etc.

Rik: There’s more to the controls than is covered in the intro.

Jo: I thought it was better than watching a big cut-scene, or just reading some text. It was quite nicely balanced.

The view from your tower.

Rik: You control Henry in snippets of his journey to the forest and then to his lookout tower, in between the text prologue outlining how he got to that point. But I saw that more as different bits of the story being woven together than a practical thing. Like, this is what happened, and this is what you’re doing now, and eventually you’ll see how they relate.

Jo: It’s a bit of both, I think. With the other games we’ve played – there’s not been any sort of intro as such, they just start right away.

Rik: You play the game knowing who you are, instead of not knowing at the start and finding out more as you play. Also, we should say that it’s not entirely a solo affair, there are other characters, and one other significant one…

Jo: Delilah, your supervisor. Who you never actually meet, except via radio. And as the game proper begins, you very quickly get a sense of who this person is too, from just a brief conversation.

Rik: She immediately crosses some personal boundaries. But in doing so is also sort of completely right about Henry and his reasons for taking the job. So that initial exchange sets up the initial parameters of the relationship, or so you think. He’s a mess, she knows what she’s doing; he’s grumpy, she’s perky…

Jo: …but quite bolshy?

Rik: More like, ‘this is what I do, I know why guys like you come out here, let’s see how you get on, but you’re not the first and not the last.’

Jo: Yeah, you’re right.

Rik: So I was thinking the game would be: she’ll tell you what to do, you won’t want to do it but will eventually warm up a bit. And that kind of is how it starts off.

Jo: Yes, in ‘Day 1’, Delilah’s talking you through what’s what when suddenly, she notices fireworks are going off…

Rik: And both you the player and Henry the character think, ‘crikey, this is a bit more action than I thought there would be…’

Jo: Yes! When she tells you to get down there and put a stop to it, I was kind of like ‘but… it’s my first day…’

Rik: I guess it’s not unusual in game terms, like in a shooter where something goes wrong on the first level…

Jo: So, then you head out into the Shoshone. And thus begin navigating the wilderness with a map and compass.

Rik: My main challenge in the game!

Jo: Ugh, mine too. I have no sense of direction in real life. Playing this game just highlighted how poor it really is.

Rik: I guess with walking sims you’re used to being led along a bit, and you are here to some extent. (But also, not really!)

Jo: I liked that it was a bit more open, that you could explore a bit more and there was stuff to see.

Rik: I did too, while also effing and jeffing about my poor navigation skills.

Jo: To start with, you just have a mission which is to go and find the people lighting fireworks, so you’ve got that prompt to follow.

Rik: I was fairly convinced that you wouldn’t actually meet the culprits. Did you think you would find them? Or just evidence of them?

Jo: Er…no, I don’t think so. I think I just got the impression early on that it was going to be quite isolating.

Rik: I was surprised when you could actually see them, even only as figures in the distance. I had thought, you’re not going to see anyone else in this whole game.

Jo: But it has to be that way, because the whole thing is about running away from everyone else and being isolated.

Rik: Did you throw the teenagers’ boom box in the lake?

Jo: Ha, yes. Damn kids!

Rik: Perhaps because I am a middle-aged man who would be embarrassed by a situation that involved confrontation with young women, I sort of felt for Henry when they’re having a go back at him.

Jo: Me too! I always seem to get a bit too emotionally involved…

Rik: I was sobbing in the intro, don’t worry.

Jo: It’s strange because the intro doesn’t really set him up to be a sympathetic character, but during that scene I kind of felt like a clumsy, grieving man not really knowing what I was doing.


Maybe I Actually Will Go Fishing

Rik: After that, I thought, ok, this is kind of what I’ll be doing in the game. Delilah says do this, I go off and do it, we have a bit of a chat on the radio, and so on.

Jo: Yeah.

Rik: I was surprised by the escalation, and so quickly. The shadowy man, the break-in…

Jo: That really caught me off guard. Knowing almost nothing going in, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I had a bit of jump scare when I caught sight of the shadowy figure on the way back from the canyon.

Rik: I thought there’d be more pottering about at least.

Jo: It sort of quite quickly takes a bit of a sinister turn. To come back from your first day on the job and find your tower ransacked.

Rik: I figured there’d be more jobs and light-hearted encounters first, then some drama maybe.

Jo: I think after those first two days even Delilah says ‘right, well, now just sit and do a crossword and let me know if you see any fires’, because that’s usually what the job entails.

Rik: When you have the fishing rod, I thought, maybe I will actually go fishing here.

Jo: Ha! Yes, I was like ‘where can I put this rod so I can go fishing once I’ve done my jobs?’

Spoiler: you do not get to go fishing.

Rik: I thought, there’ll be more of the map that opens up, while I do things and we talk. And it’ll be kind of reflective and chatty. Perhaps I was expecting that it would be more about what had happened in the characters’ lives than new events actually unfolding.

Jo: I don’t really know what I thought. I didn’t expect so much action on the first day. I suppose, looking back, I think perhaps I was anticipating something more reflective.

Rik: It’s not a criticism, I just didn’t expect to be worried about a threat: who broke in, who cut the radio wires, who ripped up the girls’ tent…

Jo: I think initially it’s suggested that the only real threat is from the bears. But I never thought I was going to get ‘got’ by anything. Not even a bear.

Rik: So then I found myself wondering if there’s anything significant in the supply boxes, including those notes between the rangers…

Jo: Yes, I even went poking through all my belongings, and looked at all the books.

Rik: You go into Gone Home mode a bit.

Jo: And similarly, I threw quite a lot of stuff on the floor after I’d finished looking at it.

Rik: There’s no put back option here…

Jo: Well, there is, but it’s very specific, and I just got sick of looking for it after a while. At one point I did in fact just throw the picture of me and my wife on the floor, but not on purpose.

Rik: Whoops! I thought I needed to pick up and keep all of the discarded beer cans, since you had the option.

Jo: I cleaned up the beer cans too. I like to be environmentally responsible, even in a virtual world.


Tension at Wapiti Station

Jo: So those first couple of days set up something of a mystery, and I don’t know about you, but I did just make the connection that the unruly firework teens hated me, although I don’t think I assumed they were the ones to ransack my tower. I thought that was the shadowy figure you encounter.

Rik: I thought the tower might have been the teens. Or some kind of external figure from your past life.

Jo: I guess, I’m just quite a suspicious person. So even when Delilah makes that joke about, ‘there’s something you should know about this place… It’s outside, and people just come and go as they please’, I was kind of like ‘yeah, but I’m pretty sure that shadowy figure just ransacked my tower’.

Rik: There are different threads, and I didn’t necessarily pay attention to them all. I focused on what I thought the game would be about – for example, the half-dream where you wake up and speak to your wife, I thought that was significant. But when you find [teenage former lookout] Brian’s abandoned backpack, I didn’t really care, or follow any of the conversation about its owner.

Jo: I was more interested in what happened to Brian than what happened to [his father] Ned.

Rik: I should have realised that something happened to Brian. I literally took Delilah at her word that they disappeared. And that there was nothing weird about the backpack just being left there…

Jo: The backpack with the ropes in it?

Poking around at Wapiti Station.

Rik: Yep. Oh yeah, of course he just left it here.

Jo: I felt, especially second time around, that I should have connected the dots sooner the first time, but I didn’t.

Rik: Even as your relationship develops, you still respect Delilah as an authority figure at that point. Even though there are warning signs.

Jo: Even for all the joking around, she still gives you instructions and whatnot.

Rik: I did think, why wouldn’t you tell the police about those girls? Even if it means trouble for you? That’s the first flag. You should realise that there’s something about the Brian situation that doesn’t make sense. But you just accept her explanation.

Jo: You think she knew that something had happened to Brian?

Rik: I don’t know. Again, Delilah gives you the impression that people come and go all the time. You don’t know what it’s like, so you take her word for it.

Jo: Yeah, that’s the impression I got. She says she never really got along with Ned, so I just kind of went with it.

Rik: You don’t get along with the Dad, he wouldn’t tell you they were leaving: makes sense.

Jo: But she’s also not a totally reliable character. There’s that bit where you overhear her on a call with someone…

Rik: The game distracts you from her unreliability, with all the stuff about spying. I thought that was the main misstep in the story.

Jo: The spying stuff?

Rik: Yeah. The fenced-off area, the ‘who is watching us?’ panic…

Jo: Yes, I agree.

Rik: There’s the dialogue option to accuse Delilah of being in on it all as well.

Jo: There are lots of ‘Delilah was in on it from the start!’ theories on the internet, which I don’t buy into. But I also can’t understand how she didn’t know about Wapiti Station. That just doesn’t track somehow.

Rik: Maybe she doesn’t know as much as you assume. She’s kind of flaky really.

Jo: But she’s been doing the job for a long time, and she knows about (for example) the firefighters…

[Jo subsequently undertook a third playthrough, which revealed that the station is hidden deep in the valley of Wapiti Meadow. Henry even says ‘there’s no way you could see it from your tower’. The station is only occupied at the end of the summer through to the Autumn, which is probably why Delilah doesn’t know about it.]

Rik: I did feel tense at Wapiti Station. But I was also thinking, I can’t really believe this is the way it has gone.

Jo: I had sweaty palms. I did think I was going to be discovered by some unethical researcher/spy or something.


What Happened to Brian

Rik: Let’s talk about the disposable camera that you find.

Jo: Yes, let’s!

Rik: I was obsessed with taking pictures for evidence. And actually none of it matters.

Jo: YES! Completely barking up the wrong tree with the camera. I took pictures of all this boring shit like papers at Wapiti and everything in Ned’s bunker.

Rik: You should have taken nice pictures of scenery instead.

Jo: Yes, its main function is to provide you with nice pictures to look at during the end credits. But back to Wapiti Station…I guess I just thought the whole Ned ruse was a bit elaborate.

Rik: Getting that whack on the head a little earlier makes you think you might be in danger.

Jo: Yes, and seeing that someone has written down your conversations is very weird.

Rik: But why would anyone be doing that? Is it to frame you for the girls’ murder which didn’t happen?

Jo: I don’t know why Ned has such a vendetta against Henry.

*Insert comment about young people not knowing what cameras are* [No – Ed.]

Rik: He doesn’t, does he? I thought it was just all a cover up for what happens to Brian.

Jo: Because he sees you near the cave on the first night?

Rik: Yeah, with maybe a small amount of jealousy over your developing relationship with Delilah.

Jo: But why pretend that the people at Wapiti are spying on you?

Rik: In some respects his messing with you only seems to make you more curious, instead of packing up and leaving.

Jo: I mean it seems to backfire massively.

Rik: I guess he thinks that the isolation gets to people. And trying to mess with their heads should have the desired effect in most cases. But why does he start something in the first place, just based on a chance encounter?

Jo: He goes to quite a lot of effort. And if the reason is for Brian not to be found, then it just seems over the top.

Rik: Yes, he literally gives you the key to the cave by leaving it for you to find.

Jo: Why give me that, if you *don’t* want me to find the dead body? You could have just kept this key and I never would have gone in there.

Rik: Maybe in the end he did want someone to know.

Jo: That’s what I wondered.

Rik: Certainly, as the player, I was not so bothered.

Jo: But then, he might also be trying to trap Henry in a cave and leave him for dead. Either way, I never got the impression throughout any of Henry and Delilah’s conversations that they were like ‘BUT WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BRIAN?!’

Rik: The incentive is to find out who is behind it all, I guess. Although, in the end, Delilah isn’t really bothered…

Jo: No, she’s just happy to jump in a helicopter and go. But I can’t say I ever really expected them to meet at the end. Or ever.

[Jo’s third playthrough thoughts: In the tape left for Henry by the bunker, Ned reveals that he had to ‘keep an eye on you’ after seeing you down by the cave. He admits that he stopped worrying just when ‘things went shithouse with you two’ – referring to the super-flirting during the night of the June/Flapjack Fire. Combing through the notes left in Ned’s bunker you discover that he messed up, presumably by leaving his clipboard out by Jonesy Lake (FUCKED UP. DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE. REMINDER: HIDE SUPPLIES FOR MIGRATION) suggesting that the backpack with attached cave key was actually a supply pack hidden in case he needed to flee the area quickly. He later finds that Henry acquires the supplies and the cave key (2F FOUND SUPPLIES (HOW?). KEYS GONE. CAN’T LET 2F FIND B). Perhaps he hadn’t anticipated Henry taking the wave receiver from the Wapiti site. Other notes in the bunker suggest that Ned simply used Delilah and Henry’s own conspiracy theories/paranoia about being under observation to his advantage as a way to distract them from discovering both him in hiding or Brian’s body in the cave.]


Go See Your Wife

Rik: There’s a horrible sinking feeling on that last day. Finding the tape Ned leaves for you satisfies your curiosity, but is secondary. Really you want to know what Delilah’s deal is. And all the signs are that she wants out, and you’re never going to know. You’re running through the burning forest…

Jo: (Or stumbling while trying to read a map/use a compass)

Rik: …which is tense, even though you know you aren’t going to come to any harm. And you know she wants to go. You think, shall I ask her to stay? Because I know she doesn’t want to.

Jo: Yes, you’re kind of rushing to get there but knowing that she’s going to go.

Rik: Then I did think back about the relationship between Delilah and Henry. And actually, I thought she was a bit forward earlier in the game, wanting to meet and have a drink. Because, as we said, there isn’t that much routine/humdrum contact between the two, that you observe, before the drama kicks in, it seems a bit too soon. The relationship develops off-screen, maybe. But for the player, I thought, hang on, we’re flirting a bit early on here.

Jo: Playing it second time around, I guess I thought it was a bit like a holiday romance. Or, I dunno, an online romance? Where it’s safe, because you’re never going to escalate things when you return to ‘real life’. Like, while they’re out there in the wilderness they can just kind of flirt away on the radio.

Rik: I thought that the relationship is what the game’s about, but I thought the end would be more like, ‘Henry you’re married’ – she would be the grown up, and be honest with him. But it happens in a different way.

Jo: He’s escaped from his life, and she’s escaped from hers, but that’s only ever going to be temporary. So I guess there’s a feeling of doing whatever you want, but not having to deal with the consequences.

Rik: But I came at it from a place where she has done this for 13 years, and you’re just on your first summer. I didn’t quite realise to what extent she was hiding too.

Jo: True, but then she says at the beginning something about ‘you don’t take this job unless you’re trying to get away from something’ – and I always took that to mean she was also including herself.

The hazy chaos of the final day.

Rik: I guess I thought that meant ages old regrets in her case.

Jo: Hmm…I got the impression she had far less to lose than Henry.

Rik: I suppose what I’m saying is, you know Henry is flawed. But I assumed that Delilah was further along in dealing with her issues. It turns out she isn’t, but that’s how I saw it initially.

Jo: I’m not sure I agree. I mean, I agree that I definitely saw her as an authority figure but she crosses a line fairly early on in the game which I guess highlighted her own flaws.

Rik: I must have put all of the warning signs out of my mind. It was only when I was trudging through the wilderness, knowing she wanted to get out, knowing she didn’t want to talk about Ned, and knowing she didn’t really want to talk to you any more, that I went back through it all and thought: oh, she’s got big problems too. She’s not the grown up, neither of you are. That last conversation…it just makes you feel sick.

Jo: At the end, she just can’t get away fast enough.

Rik: ‘I don’t care what happened, I don’t want you to die, but I don’t want to see you either’.

Jo: And, again, I felt all like clumsy, burly Henry, lost in the smoke and kind of broken-hearted, knowing that he has to go back to his real life and face the consequences of his actions.

Rik: When Delilah says, you should go see your wife, she’s trying to be the grown up again.

Jo: Yeah, but you can’t really respect her at this point.

Rik: No, it seems very hollow.

Jo: I think overall, the story is about Henry and Delilah, and their relationship. You kind of get sidetracked with the Ned stuff. The teens. The controlled burn that gets out of control.

Rik: I suppose they are the jobs, the busywork.

Jo: But there’s a real sense of being disheartened at the end, because I was so invested in Henry as a character, and I just felt sad.

Rik: I did feel bad for Henry. It does feel like a harsh breakup. Even though he shouldn’t even be there really, and isn’t exactly innocent himself. But he didn’t have the summer he wanted, and his friend turned out to be a disappointment in the end. Although maybe that provides some reassurance, in that she doesn’t have things together either. But when Delilah tells you to see your wife, it’s a bit like, well yes, I don’t need you to tell me that.

Jo: I agree. He admits himself that he shouldn’t be there. But I guess I was sympathetic to the fact that he ran out of road and maybe didn’t really know what to do.

Rik: It was a tough situation.

Jo: And then someone is like ‘hey, at least we can have a nice time for a bit’.

Rik: Then they effectively say, you shouldn’t have had this nice time.

Jo: It’s a bit like using your own guilt against you. ‘You know how you said you shouldn’t be here? Well, actually I agree…’

Rik: ‘When we were flirting earlier, you really should have realised that it wasn’t appropriate…’ Were you tempted to break out the ‘Brian’s death is your fault’ answers? It still felt far too unkind to me, and not what Henry would have done, but I was a bit tempted second time around.

Jo: I think you can be a more assertive Henry at various points throughout the game, and second time around I tried to go for some of the more, er, ‘colder’ responses.

Rik: But, at the end, were you hitting the ‘you let Brian die’ answers?

Jo: No. But I might try it if I play it again, just to see what happens.

[Jo’s third playthrough: If you tell Delilah that Brian’s death is all her fault she calls you an insensitive shit (accurate) and says that of course she knows that it’s on her and that she will have to live with that forever. Going for the more ‘insensitive’ dialogue options prompts Delilah to be more explicit about what she’s thinking/feeling – she doesn’t want anything more to do with you, the Shoshone or this job as whole as it all serves as a reminder of Brian’s death that she could have prevented (much like the situation with her ex, Javier, that she describes earlier in the game). You can persuade Delilah to agree to wait for you at the Thoroughfare Tower, but upon arrival you still find that she has left.]

Rik: There’s not a lot of options in terms of varying the story as you go. Replay value is slightly limited in that respect. Although I happily gave it a couple of playthroughs. But it always ends up the same way. (Apparently you can just not get in the rescue helicopter and burn to death?)

Jo: Yeah, I think the story stays the same. It’s not one of those “YOUR CHOICES MATTER” type games.

[Jo’s third playthrough: While the story ostensibly stays the same and you choices don’t really impact the narrative, more is revealed depending on how much you’re prepared to go combing through the Shoshone, as doing so can uncover more. In my third attempt I discovered a dead elk with a tracking device similar to those at Wapiti Station – which pretty much confirmed that Wapiti was some sort of… I dunno, Elk Research Centre? Either way, not a surveillance operation.]

Rik: And that’s fine.

Jo: It doesn’t need that element.

Taking in the scenery.

Rik: Lots of people seemed to be disappointed by the ending. I felt disappointed during the ending. But not by it.

Jo: Yes, you just took the words out of my mouth!

Rik: The misstep, if there is one, is earlier. I did read an interesting piece about this which basically says, the ending isn’t the disappointing bit. If anything, it’s the middle.

Jo: I’ve come across some (ahem) interesting theories. (By interesting, I mean, far-fetched).

Rik: I do feel like when you see people Googling about whether you can meet Delilah in the end, it’s not that far removed from when kids in the playground said there was a secret unlock code where you can play as Michael Jordan in NBA Jam. It’s like, it’s not there dude. It’s not the point. Get over it!

Jo: I think a lot of the ‘theories’ I’ve come across have been about the Ned situation. But, that’s the secondary story. I think people want some big mystery or conspiracy to have taken place. There are a lot of theories about how Delilah was in on it from the start.

Rik: Yes of course. Because a female character can’t just be flaky and unreliable and human. They have to be evil masterminds, who plan the demise of men in their underground lair.

Jo: Another that Ned and Delilah were in a relationship and had plotted to torment Henry from the beginning. I just think, if you’re going down that route… then you’ve missed an awful lot of stuff. I also read people saying how you can’t tap a walkie talkie, and Delilah would know that being in the job for however many years.

Rik: Gamers are totally cool and normal. All the time.

Jo: I guess I just mean that if you’re focusing on stuff that’s not really there, then you’re missing what is there. And that’s a shame.


Do Not Go Out Walking With Me

Rik: So how do you rate this one overall, in terms of what we’ve looked at so far?

Jo: I really, really like this game.

Rik: More than Gone Home?

Jo: I’d say I’d put it on a par with Gone Home . That packed more of an emotional punch for me because of my strange feelings about our house move when we were younger, and my weird fixation with the 90s.

Rik: Also it did everything first, so that has an impact.

Jo: But there’s a lot that I love about Firewatch. I love that you’re quite free to go exploring wherever you like and that’s kind of rewarding enough. It doesn’t feel like you’re wading through pointless scenery.

Rik: I felt there was a bit too much trudging. I guess my frustration was with my own idiocy. ‘Do you know how to read a map, Rik? Use a compass? Because you have been walking for 10 minutes in the wrong direction you fucking arse.’

Jo: I said this to you in a text while I was playing. Do not go out walking with me with only a compass and a map. We will get lost. I think the setting of the Shoshone wilderness was very well realised. I liked the way the landscape changed, and the scenery changed depending on the time of day.

Rik: And at the end you really feel like it’s all burning down, even though you know you won’t come to harm, there’s an urgency…it’s like a metaphor for your summer romance. You’re running towards something but you won’t make it.

Jo: Yes, there’s a real sense of it being over, in a big way.

Rik: I think I liked Firewatch. Probably not *quite* as much as I thought I would.

Jo: Maybe I hyped it up too much.

Rik: Possibly I preferred Gone Home. But that ending – it’s clever stuff.

Jo: Did you notice the little nod to Gone Home ? In one of the supply caches, there’s one of Terrence Greenbriar’s books. I think it’s The Accidental Savior.

Rik: Ah, no, I didn’t. Is there anything else you wanted to mention?

Jo: I love the soundtrack. Oh, and I wrote down in my notes, ‘missing hiker?’

Rik: Beardy man. There’s a note about him. But he’s missing from 1982? I guess that’s in Delilah’s time, but I don’t think you can ask her about him.

Jo: I guess I have a few unanswered questions, as I always do [hence the third playthrough]. There were a few missing hiker posters at various points.

Rik: Do you think there’s anything to that? Related to the Brian and Ned situation?

Jo: Possibly just another red herring. I thought Brian died ‘cos Ned was a bit of a useless father.

Rik: Me too.

Jo: Second time around, I wasn’t sure if there was the implication that he murdered Brian because maybe he didn’t want to be a father or something.

Rik: What, and deliberately live in hiding for many years?

Jo: I think useless father is more likely scenario. Anything else you want to add?

Rik: No, I don’t think so. I think we’ve touched on everything. Thanks again, this was fun!

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