Firewatch launched a little over a month ago. Hard to believe four weeks have passed, since the game weighs heavily on my mind even today. I gave it a 9.5 out of 10, knowing that it occupies a unique space in the adventure game genre, and even carves out new ideas and imagery in the burgeoning "walking simulator" category of games.
Panic Inc., the not-a-video-game publisher that published Campo Santo's Firewatch, posted a post-mortem blog about what the month since launch has looked like. The blog looks at reviews, and also the many thinkpieces that've gone into people processing their time in the Shonone National Forest in game.
Firewatch undoubtedly divided the staff here at Gaming Nexus. Some of us played through and loved it (*holds up two thumbs pointed at himself*). Some of us played through and didn't feel it added up. Campo Santo would be the first to admit that both conclusions are valid.
Either way, from an economic standpoint, Firewatch sold through 500,000 in one month. Not only that, but Panic Inc. recouped its investment in Campo Santo on day one. Sure, at $20 a pop, it didn't rake in Call of Duty profits. And there are the inevitable people that played through the entire thing and still asked for a refund on Steam anyway. But, for a game made by maybe a dozen people, half a million units sold ain't bad.
It's also great how they address the game's ending, which, no doubt, was the number-one thing throwing people into a divisive rift over Firewatch as a whole: "As a side note, there was one big post-launch mental difference for us at Panic: when you make a game, you're telling a story, and there's no 'patch' in the world that will make a story perfect for everyone. We were fully prepared for this, but: some people really loved Firewatch's ending, others didn't. Both opinions are completely valid. But we wanted to tell a 'real-life' story, and those often end quietly and sadly."
Couldn't agree more. And that's why I'll bring up this game again in nine months when we talk about our favorite games of the year.