By John Lora
If you own a Playstation 4 or PC, you’ve likely heard some of the buzz surrounding a new independent game by Campo Santo called Firewatch. In this open-environment, exploration game, “You are Henry,” a man with an exuberant and devastating past. To get some distance away from that past, he decides to become a fire lookout at Yellowstone National Park. The only other human connection you have during the game is your boss, Delilah, who communicates with you through your walkie-talkie. As you begin investigating small occurrences within the grounds, mysteries present themselves, and an encapsulating plot begins to take form.
The artistry of the setting is what makes this game standout and the style and color palettes throw you into the evoked mood. This is highly important because of the strong emotional nature of Firewatch. Your character is flawed, vulnerable, and physically alone (save for a map, a compass, and a walkie-talkie). Solitude can have a strong impact on the mental sanity of a person when events out of your control and explanation begin to happen around you, so in the midst of all that worry, peace can be found in music.
The themes of a painful past, solitude, mystery, and beauty in the style and surroundings are most commonly emanated in folk music. The bare bones of one voice and one string instrument match with the simplicity of the artwork. The soul-stained lyrics are akin to the emotional backstory of Henry. The stomping of feet trudging on to the rhythm through grass, dirt, and dried leaves with no idea of where the song will take you, but you keep walking because the journey has filled you with wonder over the destination.
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