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New demo shows Firewatch might be a perfect exploration game

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Gone Home, a first-person exploration game that hit PCs back in 2013, was a breath of fresh air for gaming in that it demonstrated how to make an affecting game without ever needing a gun. Firewatch looks like its natural successor, as watching 17 minutes of gameplay, courtesy of IGN, is a fascinating and singularly engrossing introduction into the life of a fire lookout.

Firewatch is being developed by San Francisco-based Campo Santo, which is comprised of folks who helped develop The Walking Dead Season 1 at TellTale Games, as well as minimalist artist Olly Moss, whose work you might recognize from a few certain Star Wars posters. The title follows Henry, voiced by Mad Men's Rich Sommer, as he traverses his corner of the woods and winds up being pulled into strange occurrences. There are no guns. There are no gangs. But there's a mystery afoot, and Henry has to make choices — a la TellTale's offerings — while keeping in contact with fellow lookout Delilah over his walkie talkie.

Stunning for an unfinished product

Even though this preview is an early build of the game, things appear polished, and every choice Henry makes is engaging. There's an artfulness here that's also pretty stunning for such an unfinished product. Firewatch doesn't have a release date yet, but we're looking forward to it dropping sometime this year.