It goes without saying, but this article will contain full spoilers to the entire Firewatch story. So if you haven’t played/finished the game yet and you don’t want to know how the game progresses and ends, do not read this article!
Anyways, let’s start right off the bat with the opening sequence of the game. It seems a lot of people had a tough time getting through that first section. I don’t know why honestly, I mean it sucks for Henry, but at this point let’s be honest, we have zero attachment to either Henry or Julia, so for me personally, it didn’t hit me hard at all. For those wondering, I picked Bucket the Beagle, convinced Julia to commute and in the end, put her in a full-time care facility. I figured it would’ve been bad to take care of her myself, given it would likely lead to more alcohol issues, which after watching my girlfriend struggle through this part and picked just that, that’s how it happened.
When it came to the overall mystery of who was listening in on Henry and Delilah’s conversations, I flipped through several options for what the big reveal would have been. Initially, I thought it was some weird government indoctrination experiment (as the reports were supposed to make you believe) but then I had a more harsh idea of what was going on. I was convinced from about the halfway point until the big reveal near the end that when the story ended, Henry would wake up in a mental asylum being asked question after question. I was sure everything we played was all in his own head and the game was going to be about dealing with mental trauma, depression, all that jazz. Turns out after going back into the cave with the anchors, I was wrong.
I had at no point in the entire game thought that Brian Goodwin would be dead, let alone us finding the poor kid’s rotting corpse in the cave. The second I saw the body, I knew and a long “Holy shit…” escaped my mouth when that realization came to me. I realized the story was no longer about Henry’s mental troubles, it was now all about Ned struggling to deal with his son’s death. My girlfriend was upset the whole time after that point, playing the card Delilah was with Ned, thinking he killed Brian, was a bad father, all that stuff. I played half and half on this. Ned was a terrible father, but not because he was abusive or whatnot, but because he either couldn’t see or wouldn’t see that Brian was scared of all the advanced climbing he was having to do, clearly Brian was doing way too much too fast and in the end Ned had him do something that he wasn’t experienced enough for and because of that, Brian didn’t hammer in his anchor hard enough and the rope gave out, falling to his death. Ned knows it’s his fault, but still won’t quite admit it because even to the very day he’s found out, he still believes Brian was just being careless and not that he was inexperienced. Sigh, it always sucks having to deal with a dead child story.
Lastly, the ending. I get why a lot of people are not happy with it, it’s definitely a buzzkill after everything that had happened. We thought we were going to be attacked, possibly killed, that a much larger mystery was going on, all the things that were bigger than what the ending ended up being. But honestly, it shouldn’t be bothering people as much as it has been. Firewatch is clearly a game built on real people with real emotions, so why would the game end with some over the top alien conspiracy level of ending? It makes zero sense.
The only thing that sucks is we never get to see Delilah. This woman we spent hours talking with and we never got to at least see her face. I think it would’ve been much better for people if we at least got to see a photograph of her, at least leaving Henry something to remember her by, as regardless of what you say to her she leaves you and you’ll likely never see or hear from each other again. For a game that clearly wants you to care about the relationship formed between Henry and Delilah, they sure didn’t want to bring any closure to it. That I will accept as being frustrating.
So what did you think about the entire Firewatch story? Leave your ideas and comments below!