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Delilah: Henry, there's something I... something someone should've told you about this area.
Henry: What is it?
Delilah: It's outside. The whole thing. And people come and go as they please. It's... It's madness!
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Firewatch is an Environmental Narrative Game developed by Campo Santo and helmed by the former creative leads of The Walking Dead. It was released on February 9, 2016.

Henry is a middle-aged man, happily married to his wife, Julia. Ever since he learned that she was suffering from early onset dementia, however, he has been struggling with how to care for her, if he even should. One day, he finds an ad for a firewatch position in Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, and takes it to get away and maybe contemplate. Arriving at the tower that is to be his home for the summer, his only regular human contact is the radio voice of the senior watcher in the next tower over.

However, things start to take a dark turn shortly thereafter...


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Firewatch contains examples of:

  • The '80s: Takes place in 1989, and the technology of the time reflects that, e.g. having a typewriter sitting on your desk, two teens having a giant boombox.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: There are some obstructions that Henry cannot pass without the right equipment. For example, ropes to climb down steep scree, or a pulaski (fireman's ax) to clear overgrown trails.
  • Accidental Pun: Henry asks what would happen if a controlled burn got out of control. Delilah replies "Someone gets fired." Henry's not amused, but Delilah claims she was too stressed out from the events at that point to make a joke like that.
  • Adult Fear: Most notably, toward the end of the game Henry is audibly falling apart as he considers the possibility that he has early onset dementia like his wife and that his conversations with Delilah may be in his head.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
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    • For some reason, Delilah calls Henry "Hank". She claims that she chose it because it rhymes with "thanks". Henry disagrees, naturally.
    • Henry's nicknames for Julia and Delilah are "Jules" and "D", respectively.
  • The Alcoholic: Henry tends to drink a bit. Delilah as well. In fact, most of the rangers up in Shoshone N.P. drink quite a lot. It most likely has to do with being completely isolated in the middle of nowhere for an extremely long period of time. Also, the two teens encountered at the beginning of the game manage to consume a truly epic amount of beer between them, going through several cases and leaving trails of discarded cans wherever they've been.
  • The Alleged Boss: Delilah, who spends most of her time bantering with Henry instead of giving him instructions. It's a bit of a plot point, given how solitary and non-intensive the job is.
  • Anticlimax: Played deliberately. The major drama the entire plot seems to be building up towards ultimately turns out to be nothing more than a Red Herring, seemingly making a point about how bored and lonely people turn mundane events into giant conspiracy theories. Henry never even confronts the actual culprit, Ned Goodwin, who exits stage left after leaving a tape recording giving a half-hearted apology to him. The final days also involve what has to be the most relaxed forest fire in video game history (although this is because the fire isn't close enough to be an immediate threat, and all the characters know that they'll be long gone by the time it arrives.)
  • Badass Beard: Henry has one. Since the game is shown through his eyes, his beard is only shown in pictures.
  • Bears Are Bad News: A "Problem Bear" is alluded to on several occasions, Henry thinks it's probably more than a problem. He never encounters it, and it turns out he has better things to worry about anyway.
  • Big Bad: Ned Goodwin
  • Brain Bleach: Henry grows very uncomfortable when he realizes the girls skinny dipping in the woods are teenagers.
  • Brick Joke: If Henry asks about Pork Pond, Delilah will mention that people stole the sign a lot, so the Forest Service eventually stopped bothering to replace it. She will then argue that it would look great in a den- and hastily corrects her wording to "anywhere". The sign is hanging in her lookout tower when Henry arrives at the end of the game.
  • Chekhov's Gun: More attentive players will notice a shoe in the rocks above the cave. Later on, we see that Brian's body is missing a shoe.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: The game focuses a lot on choices you make. Think carefully about what you can say or do. It could alter the path you take. While your choices don't really alter the progression of the game' main plot, it does somewhat affect minor elements (such as whether or not you end up with a pet for your tower) and how Delilah treats you.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Delilah sometimes drops these. At one time, Henry calls her out for it.
  • The Conspiracy: Invoked and Played Straight. Ned hears Delilah and Henry become paranoid about his observing them, so he creates a fake conspiracy. However, the fake conspiracy also doubled as a real conspiracy to stop them from snooping around the cave.
  • Cowboy Cop: For the senior ranger in the area, Delilah plays pretty loose with the park service's rules and regulations. Whenever people cross her and Henry, she's the first to suggest getting even in ways that could be considered petty and definitely aren't strictly legal.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Ned seems to have been this. He made special precautions to monitor Henry and Delilah and went to a great deal to scare them.
  • Crossword Puzzle: What Delilah does in her spare time (besides drinking). Henry can even find crossword puzzle books in her tower.
  • Cut Phone Lines: One of Ned's attempts to sabotage your investigation is cutting the Thorofare wire.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Henry and Delilah, sometimes towards each other.
  • Downer Ending: No matter what you do, Ned gets away and the Thorofare Fire is set to burn a swathe of destruction across untold acres of the Shoshone. Anything you leave in Two Forks Lookout will be lost to the flames — including your books, your pet turtle, your picture of Julia, and possibly your wedding ring if you forget them. You can't save the lookout, the books, the boombox, Forrest Byrnes, your pine cone collection, or most evidence from Ned's bunker, and there's nothing you can do to stop the oncoming firestorm. All you can do is flee to Thorofare lookout, meet with the evac chopper, and wish there was something you could say to make Delilah stay long enough to meet you in person.
  • Evidence Dungeon: Ned's hideout you find in the closing chapter.
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt: At first, the game presents you with a lot of notes and posters you can pick up and keep, making them seem to be relevant later on. Henry uses them to create a String Theory wall, but it turns out to be irrelevant and everything is burned in the Thorofare fire.
    • Henry can, however, pick up the notes left by Ned in his hideout, coupled with the cassette tape left for him that essentially amounts to a confession, and possible pictures the player can take - Henry can amass a truly staggering amount of evidence that could convict Ned for a whole host of crimes if turned over to the authorities.
  • Eye Cam: Eyelid movements are visible on-screen when Henry wakes up at night and thinks Julia is on the radio.
  • The Faceless: Everyone in the entire game, since you never really get to look to another person in the eye. Delilah only ever communicates with you via radio, Jules' face on your photo is obscured by her own camera, the two drunk girls only appear as silhouettes in the distance, the only time you see Ned, he shines a flashlight in your face while staying hidden in the shadows, the firemen at the firebreak are long gone by the time you reach their camp, the fireman who hauls you aboard the chopper has a fogged-up visor, and even Brian's skeleton is buried under rubble from the shoulders up. You do, however, get to see Henry's own face in several photographs and sketches. As well as Ned's and Brian's.
  • First Person Snapshooter: At one point of the game, you find a disposable camera which you can use to take pictures: these pictures are shown in the end credits, and afterwards, you're given a link to view them online, and can even have physical versions of them delivered to you.
  • Foil: Ned Goodwin is a dark foil for Henry, representing what Henry could become if he ran away (quite literally into the woods) from his responsibilities and guilt long enough to become completely trapped by them.
  • Foreshadowing: The fact that the wilderness is actually a very dangerous place is constantly foreshadowed, up until The Reveal. E.g., early in the introduction, Henry walks past a trail head sign that states very clearly that these trails are dangerous, and for experienced hikers only.
    • On the first day, Henry tries to rappel down a cliff with a damaged rope, which snaps off and makes him fall. If you believe Ned's confession, this is similar to how Brian died.
  • Government Conspiracy: Henry finds a rather creepy government research camp seemingly dedicated to collecting invasive data about him and Delilah. And subverted — it turns out to be an actual research camp committed to studying the local flora and fauna, but was infiltrated by Ned and planted with false evidence of a conspiracy purely to freak out Henry enough that he'd stay in his fire tower and not look for him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ned's paranoia causes him to obsess over monitoring Henry and Delilah, which in turn provokes them into trying to figure out what's going on when they would've just ignored him in the first place. Additionally, his fake conspiracy ends up getting himself discovered, and creates a massive forest fire that drives him from his makeshift hideout.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Even though you have a flashlight, you never really need to use it. There's plenty of blacklight, even inside the cave and at night.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Henry with Julia.
  • Hurricane of Puns: While Henry is trekking back to the observation tower during a thunderstorm, Delilah rattles off a long list of lightning related puns. The more Henry complains, the more she shares.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Delilah ribs Henry about this when he's about to go and confront the two nude girls blasting fireworks in the woods.
  • Immersive Sim: While not a full-on immersive simulation, Firewatch borrows a lot of elements of the genre to immerse the player in its world, from an Unbroken First-Person Perspective and Diegetic Interface elements like the map and the compass, to real-time conversations and Story Breadcrumbs scattered all over the place and not walled-off by any artificial (non-diegetic) barriers.
  • Inherently Funny Words: A mattock serves roughly the same purpose and would be just as common in fighting a wildfire, but then no one in the game would get to say the very fun word "pulaski".
  • Insistent Terminology: Likely to lampshade the above trope, Henry repeatedly refers to the pulaski he picks as an axe only to be corrected by Delilah to call it by it's actual name.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The player can't stray far from the main paths before bumping into insurmountable bushes and knolls, which can get frustrating over time.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Implied between Delilah (a 43-year-old woman) and Brian Goodwin (a twelve-year-old boy). Their friendship leads to Delilah blaming herself when Henry tells her that Brian's body is in the closed off cave.
  • It's All My Fault: Delilah feels this way upon the discovery of Brian's body; Because she allowed Ned to keep Brian with him on the site, she feels like she's responsible for his death. The news of his death also leads to her to have a Heroic BSoD for the remainder of the game.
  • Jumpscare: When Henry discovers the Wapiti radio, he's suddenly knocked out by an unseen assailant. Due to the game's relaxing atmosphere, it will catch people off-guard when Henry is attacked.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Henry asks what would happen if a controlled burn near his tower got out of control. Delilah tells him someone would be fired. Henry's unamused by it (though Delilah claims she was too stressed to make jokes).
  • Level-Map Display: The map displays your current position within the Shoshone National Forest.
  • Manipulative Editing: The first recording left for you by Ned is a segment of one of your radio conversations with Delilah, in which she tries to convince you that burning down a campsite is the best course of action. It's edited to make the evidence even more damning.
  • Miles Gloriosus: At one point in the game, Henry claims to be pretty clever, and not very easy to fool. Empirical evidence says... otherwise.
  • Minimalist Cast: Henry doesn't interact with many people during the course of the game, which makes sense as he's in the middle of nowhere. The few people he does interact with are either just a voice on the radio (Delilah), or obscure figures off in the distance (the two teens, and... other visitors). In fact, in the entire game you only come face-to-face up close with one other human being, and that person had absolutely no role in the plot whatsoever (it's the rescue personnel who helps you get into the evac chopper at the end, and they're wearing a helmet that covers their face, so you couldn't even see it anyway).
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Ned vandalizing the lookout, and cutting the Thorofare wire - Vandalism and Destruction of Public Property, end up exposing much more serious crimes, Attempted Blackmail, Stalking, and Arson, which reveals the entire plot in the first place, (possibly Accidental) Manslaughter and Obstruction of Justice.
  • Mockspiracy: By the midpoint of the game, Henry and Delilah become increasingly convinced to have been unwitting test subjects in a secret government research of human behavior in long-term isolation. It turns out, however, that the "conspiracy" is a hoax perpetrated by a previous occupant of Henry's watchtower who attempts to drive them both mentally unstable and have them kicked out before they can discover evidence of his crimes.
  • Moral Myopia: Delilah has a history of playing loose with the rules, and has frequently encouraged you to do things which would get everyone in trouble, not to mention lying to the authorities on multiple occasions. All that's being passed over since she's on your side. It does ultimately come back to bite her though, when Henry finds a doctored recording Ned planted to blackmail them, and again when Henry finds Brian's body, as he would've been alive if Delilah hadn't bent the rules for him.
  • Nerd: Brian was a typical example. He loved comics and playing "Wizards & Wyverns", while his father obviously wanted him to be more of an action man.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Defied. When Henry has to go deal with illegal fireworks being set off, he asks Delilah about what he should do since he technically has no legal authority to punish them.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In almost the entire run of the game, there are no people you can see face to face, but most of the time, you know or suspect that someone's out there.
  • Not in My Contract: Henry claims this a few times when asked to do dangerous or potentially illegal things by Delilah. You can even name a dangerous ridge after the trope.
  • Oh, Crap!: Delilah says something similar to this when she and Henry hear someone cough on their line.
  • Orgy of Evidence: Ned plants false evidence for a Government Conspiracy at Wapiti Station.
  • Panty Thief: The two teenage girls accuse Henry of stealing their underwear from the tent when, in fact, it was Ned ... or some bear.
  • The Paranoiac: Ned. 80% of the events of the game would have been avoided if he hadn't been paranoid about Henry and Delilah.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Henry and Delilah seem to have this type of relationship; Delilah reveals that she never talks to the other rangers like the way she talks to Henry. It's also implied that she might have developed feelings for him, despite his marital status.
  • Reality Ensues: Inside Ned's hideout, you manage to find his previous attempts at trying to forge the supposed government observation sheets on Henry and Delilah. Given that he tried to imitate a telex print using only his typewriter, it took him many attempts to do so without typos, crooked spacing or the odd Freudian Slip.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: Henry discovers a secret government monitoring facility deep in the woods, and his Mission Control Delilah, in a bout of conspiracy paranoia, demands that he burns it to the ground. Even if the player has Henry talk her out of it, the facility still catches on fire later, and he finds an audio cassette taped to his outpost door the next day, revealing that someone had intercepted their walkie-talkie communication and spliced it to sound like Henry had committed intentional arson on Delilah's orders.
  • Red Herring:
    • The possible government conspiracy turns out to be nothing more than a grieving or guilt-ridden father who can't get over the death of his son. It's up to the player to decide if his son, Brian, was murdered by his father, Ned, or died by accident during a hiking trip.
    • On his first day, Henry encounters two teenage girls shooting fireworks by the lake and confronts them. A few days later they're reported missing by their families, but not before leaving a note accusing Henry of stalking them. Naturally, Henry and Delilah come to believe they've somehow fallen foul of the same forces that are conspiring against the lookouts. Turns out they just got arrested for, erm, "grand theft tractor" and joyriding soon after arriving at the nearest town, and were too embarrassed to call their parents to bail them out.
    • The early messages about a "problem bear" and the clawed up tree foreshadow... nothing.
    • It's easy, going by some early conversations]], to assume there's a twist coming regarding Delilah's true identity.
      • She slips up a few times with "we" and "you", "your" and "our" during a stressful situation. It just happens.]
      • She has a mysterious conversation with an unknown third party, seemingly regarding Henry. It's nothing.
      • If Henry reports the burnt out cabin to her, she doesn't respond, despite having conversations with him about every other topic, as though she's avoiding the subject. It's just the wrong time to ask her.
  • The Reveal:
    • Brian Goodwin never went home like Delilah thought. He died years ago in the Shoshone forest because of his dad's recklessness, and Ned covered it up.
    • The conspiracy is a phony plot created by Ned.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Ned's elaborate attempt to make Henry believe in a Government Conspiracy fails.
  • Rope Bridge: There's a suspension bridge that collapses under Henry at Wapiti Meadow.
  • Scenery Porn: Since the entirety of the game takes place within just over a square mile of wooded terrain in the mountains, the environment artists could take the time to really make the scenery lavish. Henry even finds a camera with no gameplay use beyond taking pictures of views the player might want to remember.
  • Serial Killer: Subverted. Turns out Ned didn't kill the girls, they just got arrested after stealing a tractor and didn't wanna contact their parents; the only person he may have killed was Brian, and Henry believes him when he states it was an accident.
  • Shared Universe: Takes place in the same continuity as Gone Home and by extension the BioShock games.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Ned served in Vietnam and was discharged due to personal issues, which carried over into his later profession as a watchman... and conspirator.
  • Ship Tease: Some may happen between Henry and Delilah, despite the fact that they never properly meet. When the huge forest fire first appears, a tipsy Delilah might mention that she wishes Henry could be with her. If Henry returns the affection, she'll say that they could do things together, but the chapter ends before the two of them get into specifics.
    • In one possible outcome, when Henry discovers Ned's hideout, he'll find logs of all the conversations between him and Delilah that Ned recorded. The log for June 31st, the night of the fire, has "GET A ROOM!!!" written on it, which pretty much confirms the two had phone sex, or he thinks they should just get it over with.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One cache contains a hoodie from the University of Eastern Colorado, including its iconic mouflon mascot.
    • The Richard Sturgeon thriller novels seem to be heavily inspired by the works of Tom Clancy, with covers reminiscent of Saul Bass.
    • One of the other novels you can find in the caches is a copy of The Accidental Savior, the novel written by the protagonist's father in Gone Home.
    • Wizards & Wyverns is obviously a pun on Dungeons & Dragons
    • Playing with the echo in the cave on Day 1 twice will lead to Henry saying this:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Delilah mentions a budget increase the Forest Service got the previous year after a fire that was allowed to burn raged out of control. This actually happened, exactly when she said it did (1988). She also mentions the Forest Service was "really good" at extinguishing fires; the "10 AM rule", extinguishing fires by 10 AM the morning after the day they're reported, lead to a buildup of fuel, which was a contributing factor to the fire in 1988.
    • Forest Service logos appear, or reasonable facsimiles thereof.
    • The pulaski, named after its inventor forest ranger Ed Polaski, Henry finds is a real tool commonly used to fight wildfires.
    • Delilah talks about Roy Sullivan, who was actually hit by lightning seven times, then killed himself in 1983. He holds the Guinness World Record, and even his wife was once struck by lightning... while he was helping her hang clothes on the line.
    • When you come across an unusually lush aspen grove in the south-western corner of the map, Delilah explains that every tree in it actually belongs to a single organism, sharing water and nutrients through their interconnected root system. This is a reference to Pando, the heaviest currently-living organism on the planet (which is, however, located in Utah, rather than Wyoming).
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: At least once a chapter, someone will drop an f-bomb and both Henry and Delilah will often utter "shit". Given the situation they soon find themselves in, coupled with Delilah's frequent drinking, it's pretty understandable.
  • Skinny Dipping: Henry's first activity as a firewatcher is to confront two drunk teens who are setting off fireworks and skinny dipping.
  • Smash Cut: Several happen in the middle of the game, from gameplay to the card indicating the day the following scene takes place, to show time passing over the summer.
    • One can occur when Henry and Delilah are watching the fire on Day 64.
    Delilah: I don't mean to get all heavy, but...it's been really nice. I wish I was over there.
    Henry: I wish you were too.
    Delilah: We could sit outside. We could talk, without these radios. We could, um... You know.
    Henry: What? What could we do?
    Delilah: Well, let me tell you.
    *DAY 76*
  • Spy Speak: Once Henry and Delilah have confirmation that someone is listening in on their conversations, Delilah is more careful about what she says to Henry on the radio.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Ned Goodwin. Ever since he saw Henry on the first day, he had been keeping an uncomfortably close eye on him and Delilah, listening in on their conversations and recording them, tracking Henry's movement through the forest and following him wherever he goes. It turns out that he was worried about being discovered, even though Henry and Delilah forgot about him after the first day.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Henry and Delilah can have this type of relationship while still trading barbs with each other.
  • String Theory: Later into Henry's stay, he starts putting one of these together, but never gets around to finishing it.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: Parodied with the "Black Band" comic Brian left in his hideout, about a superhero whose powers come from the fact that everyone he loves keeps getting killed.
    Go ahead, kill my family! It'll only make me stronger!
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Henry apparently does this one night, believing that he's having a coherent conversation with his wife Julia, when he's actually mumbling in his sleep to Delilah.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The teenagers that Henry encounters on his first day are more than disrespectful. They insult him even if he asks them very nicely to not fire any more fireworks, they litter the place with beer cans note , and they turned out to have taken a farmer's tractor for a joyride.
  • Tracking Device: Used to find the key for the cave, and later the antagonist's Evidence Dungeon.
  • Trail Of Breadcrumbs: In this case, discarded beer cans and clothes.
  • Uncanny Valley: Forrest Byrnes, a park ranger mascot, is considered unnaturally creepy in-universe. Henry says that he was always creeped out by him as a kid.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: We never do find out if Brian's death was accidental or not.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Whoever you piss off, whoever you encounter, they all know you live at the Two Forks watchtower.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Henry communicates with his supervisor Delilah via a hand-held radio as he explores the park and investigates the strange goings-on.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: At some point, Henry takes off his wedding ring. He may have done this to make sure he doesn't lose the ring somewhere in the forest. The player can have Henry take the ring and put it back on, though, and it reappears on his hand for the rest of the game. Alternatively, they can have him leave it.
    • Another possibility as for why Henry took the ring off could be because he's having an affair with Delilah. Note that the wedding ring can only be found removed and on Henry's desk after the events of the night of large fire (June 31st), where one of the dialogue options heavily implies the two are engaging in sex over the radio.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Delilah and Henry end up believing that they're in some sort of conspiracy fiction, complete with a spooky government camp. As it turns out, the plot of the game is much more mundane than that.
  • Your Cheating Heart: It's possible for Henry to develop a relationship with Delilah in the game. However, Henry can choose to remain faithful to Julia, even in her current condition. The fact that Julia may not even remember Henry anymore may justify this to an extent.

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