Firewatch’s Mundane Ending Is Perfectly Fine
*Warning – While there’s no actual plot points revealed, some people may find some of the suggestions spoiler(ish)*
Firewatch has received generally positive reviews, but there’s a running theme in a number of them. Praise has been thrown at the writing, voice acting and plot development. The game’s ending seems to be the main hang up for most people, but I can’t really understand why.
Throughout the whole game, Campo Santo goes to great lengths to make the game feel grounded. There’s no over the top characters or events, it’s all very rooted to real life. Henry is just a normal guy, living his mundane life. Sure he has his problems, but his reactions and coping methods are human, he’s not fighting aliens or saving the world, he’s just a everyday guy.
Delilah is just as mundane as Henry. She has her interests in life, along with a sharp tongue, but she’s nothing special. The general realistic nature of both Henry and Delilah feeds perfectly into Firewatch’s main themes and story.
Campo Santo’s story is a character piece, from the start to the very end. There’s hints towards possible plot lines that tantalise and tease much more fantastical possibilities, but there’s never any commitment. It didn’t stop people from expecting the ending to climax in typical video game style. No hidden threats, no conspiracy and not even a single plot twist, Firewatch’s ending is simple not the normal video game conclusion.
By the time the credits roll, decisions have been made and characters have grown. It’s not flashy nor is it even that much of a climax…but that’s exactly the point. Firewatch keeps its tone consistent throughout, never going beyond the human motives and mundane nature. To expect the typical video game climax detracts from the game, perhaps even misses the point..
The ending won’t be for everyone, that’s been made clearly by resulting reviews, but it shouldn’t be discredited. It fits the tone and themes of the game, allowing it to produce the exact experience Campo Santo desired. If Firewatch did conclude with typical video game fantastical elements, would it really of fitted within the tone of the game?