Some of the biggest games of 2015 will be entries in massive franchises, the likes of Battlefield: Hardline, Mortal Kombat X and Halo 5: Guardians. However, for every sequel to a billion-dollar IP, there's a relatively unknown title with the potential to surprise — and Firewatch is something of a poster child for that category.
The first game from developers Campo Santo is described by its creators as a 'mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness', which casts you as a man named Henry who takes a job as a fire lookout. Faced with trouble in his personal life, Henry retreats from his native Colorado, working and living in isolation.
Since the release of its announcement trailer last year, we haven't seen all that much of Firewatch. Today's footage released by IGN is the biggest glimpse of the title we've had thus far, and it showcases the game's focus on dialogue as well as hinting at the mystery at its core.
If you're at all familiar with the impressive array of talent that call Campo Santo their home, you'll see their fingerprints all over this new footage. From the visual trademarks of Olly Moss to the strength of narrative contributed to by The Walking Dead co-directors Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, a great team is clearly producing great work.
Fans of the Idle Thumbs podcast will also see discussion topics being brought to life in the game. Rodkin, Vanaman and Campo Santo composer Chris Remo all host the show, and it's clear that their dissections of games like Far Cry 2 and overlooked indie adventure Miasmata have influenced the direction of Firewatch.
This looks set to be a hugely immersive adventure, with some beautifully realized characters. If you're tired of playing as cliched heroes and watching tired inter-character relationships unfold, Firewatch could well be the breath of fresh air you need between bombastic AAA releases.
At any rate, it's set to be one of the more unique games to look out for this year. While there's certainly a place for the mastodons of the video game industry and their biggest franchises, it's great to see titles like this break new ground for the way that stories are told in this medium. If the finished product can deliver on its potential, Firewatch could well be a classic in the making.
Firewatch is set to release in 2015 for PC, Mac and Linux — other platforms are currently TBA.