Firewatch is about a man trying to lose himself in the mountains of Wyoming, but it’s also about self-discovery — sometimes in painful, difficult ways. It’s a story that hits a lot of players hard as they see themselves reflected in Henry, Firewatch’s unhappy protagonist.
In this spoiler-filled piece for Destructoid, David Jenkins, examines his own reactions to Firewatch. Henry’s isolation and connections helped him reflect on his experiences with social anxiety. One moment in particular stood out, when Delilah, a constant companion who Henry can only reach by walkie-talkie, temporarily cuts off contact.
I was devastated. I got this game with the intention of wanting to be alone as much as possible… and once I finally got that dream to come true, I only wanted to keep hitting my walkie talkie and hoping for her voice to come back on. I felt pathetic and alone. The moment was extremely brief but it was something that rung true to me that inspired me to write this post. As I continued my story throughout Firewatch, it was more and more that I found out about myself that I didn’t really think to consider.
I love being alone in real life because that’s when I feel I’m not hurting anyone or bugging them. However, that’s by my own choice in real life and in Firewatch I was forced into it. I was forced to leave my ill wife and to go on an adventure on “self-discovery” or some bullshit reason like that. That’s when I realized I’m doing just the same in real life. That I’m hurting others around me more by assuming I know what is best for them. It was an awakening for me.
As games explore a wider diversity of experiences, the potential for these moments of recognition, these “awakenings,” grows. Firewatch tells a story that won’t resonate with every player, but for Jenkins, it was the exact story he needed to reevaluate his fears and anxiety. Head on over to Destructoid for more.