We liked the ruggedly beautiful deep-woods fire-watching sim Firewatch quite a bit. And as it turns out, so did quite a lot of other people. Publisher Panic recently revealed on its blog that the game sold roughly 500,000 full-priced copies in its first month of release, and that sales were strong enough that it was able to recover its investment, which it described as “huge for us,” in a single day.
“As an indie game, or heck, even as a ‘real’ game, ok fine but not as a Call of Duty or Star Wars game, Firewatch can be considered a sales success,” the company wrote. “We’re so grateful. And relieved. But mostly grateful.”
A fun surprise at the end of Firewatch—and I suppose this is a spoiler, but we did a news post about it back in February and so I think it’s fair game at this point—is the ability to upload the photos you’d taken with the in-game disposable camera to the Firewatch server, and even have physical copies printed and mailed to you. Panic said that 214,802 photos had been uploaded when the blog post was written, and that “well over 1000 sets” of photos had been printed and shipped.
The post also addresses the game’s ending, which not everybody loved. I thought it was a bit overly contrived but a good fit with the game’s overall tone; in our review, however, we call it “fairly rushed [and] unsatisfying,” without any real relevance to either Henry, the lead character, or the game’s overarching theme. (Another little spoiler alert for the quote below.)
“When you make a game, you’re telling a story, and there’s no ‘patch’ in the world that will make a story perfect for everyone,” the dev wrote. “We were fully prepared for this, but: some people really loved Firewatch’s ending, others didn’t. Both opinions are completely valid. But we wanted to tell a ‘real-life’ story, and those often end quietly and sadly. We’re just grateful people played enough to have an opinion!)”