Campo Santo hasn’t got a significant number of titles under its belt, yet despite that, it still managed to make a name for itself. That is mostly due to the success of Firewatch, an indie first-person walking sim, with a strong emphasis on story. Throughout the course of its 6-hour gameplay, it managed to evoke emotions in all of us, without us even realizing it.
Their next project, In The Valley of Gods, is still a few years away it seems. But you might have overlooked another small title with the same level of detail, but a different studio. Today we will look at an upcoming game titled Lost Brothers to see just how much Firewatch inspired this title. Get your tissues ready.
Much like Firewatch, Lost Brothers hits hard in the feels, and without zero care in the world, from the beginning of the game. You take on the role of John, who after years of coping with a personal tragedy, finally decides to get answers. During one visit to the forest, John lost his younger brother and soon after the boy was presumed dead. Stricken over the loss of his younger sibling, John immediately blames himself and closes off from his family and friends.
Yet, something compels him to once again return to the forest in search of his brother, or answers to his disappearance. It is then he discovers, thorough his brother’s lost walkie-talkie, Samantha. A local writer on strange anomalies, seeking to learn what is happening in the forest, much like your protagonist. So naturally, the two of you join forces in helping each other and getting to the bottom of your personal questions and dilemmas.
A Firewatch Clone?
Now, this is where Campo Santo’s influence really starts to shine. Lost Brothers doesn’t go much out of its way to craft meaningful missions or quests for the player. Ideally, it allows the players to uncover everything at their own pace without realizing that the narrative is linear. Yes, you have this vast open forest with beautiful visuals to bask in, but in the end, you will still take the same route. Be that after an hour of basking, or a brief 5-minute glance at the horizon.
One thing the game also amazingly demonstrates is character depth. During Firewatch, players had the chance of romancing a specific character, and yet without physical interaction. It created a sort of bond, one that felt real, regardless of the ending. It perfectly shows a more realistic side of people, one that is rarely seen in video games.
The same can be said here. John is grief-stricken due to the loss of his brother. Without the player knowing, his protagonist suffers from his own inner demons, and seeks closure for that purpose alone. We as the players sympathize with him, as we demand to know what happened, much as he does.
Humanity is at the heart of these types of games, one that can regularly happen in real-life events. It doesn’t need physical characters to tell an astonishing story. But it instead shows us the highs and lows of an individual, one that could be much like ourselves.
Less is More
That being said, the visuals are spot on. I was immediately grabbed by the design and thought this was a legit game made by Campo Santo. Turns out it wasn’t. The studio behind this masterpiece is Bit Light, a relatively new studio that apparently strives for the same creative direction as its inspiration. Much like its guide, it promises a web of twists and turns, discoveries, and of course, a few tears along the way.
Lost Brothers is looking more and more by the minute like a direct follow up to Firewatch, yet don’t let that fool you. This experience should be viewed on its own. While the redundancy of walking simulators has overcrowded the video game market, this one looks like it might be a different take on the genre. It also looks like it will deal with some heavy stuff, which lacks a significant representation in gaming.
Hellblade was the last game that dabbled in psychological disorders and mental health. The same can be spotted here, yet we will wait for your opinion on the matter. With that said. Lost Brothers releases on Steam on February 18, 2020. So be sure to give it a try, especially if you are a massive fan of Firewatch.