The Hollywood Reporter recently revealed that Campos Santos, the development studio behind 2016’s indie smash hit Firewatch, have teamed up with indie production company Good Universe to create a movie adaptation. The two teams seem to have found common creative ground in their projects, with Campos Santos co-founder Sean Vanaman describing how “when we met Good Universe we were floored by how they recognize, cultivate and produce incredible stories”. With all the tripe-A bonanzas flying around the cinema screens at the moment, as well as the bizarre Tetris trilogy that’s about to hit us, it’s easy to get excited about a smaller, more personal title getting its time on the big screen. If Good Universe and Campos Santos really are on the same page with this project we’ll hopefully see one of the most innovative yet faithful-to-medium adaptations of our time in Firewatch. That being said, it’s easy to put filmic assumptions onto content as soon as the movie poster is revealed, so here are three things we’d like to see from the Firewatch movie that will retain its beautiful roots.
1. First Person Perspective
This is highly unlikely, but imagine how cool this film would be if it retained that claustrophobic first person point of view. The eery feeling as your gorgeous surroundings suddenly seem more sinister would tap straight into the soul of viewers if they saw it from this brilliantly limited perspective. It’s a far cry from reality, as Firewatch would also benefit greatly from more traditional means of film production, and perhaps keeping that personal view may render the adaptation too similar to its gaming origins, but it would be a great piece of filmmaking if they pulled it off.
2. Hyper Stylised Visuals
One of the things Firewatch was most renowned for was its simple yet incredibly powerful art style. Block colours that bleed into each other and bright oranges with pervading greens have come to define the look and feel of the adventure game. Considering its natural park setting, and the level of recognition of this art style out there at the moment, it’s unlikely Good Universe will want to change it any time soon. Imagine though if colours were brought right out of their comfort zones in post production, with natural sunsets and golden hours leaping from the screen in hyper-coloured, hyper-stylised visuals. It’ll be tough retaining a natural hue of human colour alongside these souped-up oranges but if they go with my first person idea that shouldn’t be much of a problem… #JustSaying
3. Leave The Action Sequences On The Cutting Room Floor
One of Firewatch‘s main selling points, in play as well as in YouTube playthroughs, is its ability to retain tension without providing any actual action sequences. It’s the old Blair Witch Project approach – keep the viewer in the dark and the fear of the unknown will take care of the rest. It would be easy for Good Universe to take the storyline of Firewatch, or create their own within the same universe, and ramp it up with chases, high-fueled fight scenes, and dramatic fire tackling sequences. But the beauty of the original experience was always in this place of mystery. By never encountering another living human (apart from some rowdy teenagers), Firewatch creates a space of doubt, subjective realism, and dreamscape and it would be soul destroying to see this penetrated with Hollywood special effects.
Either way, i’m excited for Firewatch to hit the big screens. We have nothing in the way of actors, release windows, or filming times at the moment – just ideas on a piece of paper. However the two teams have revealed that the movie is part one of a series of projects between the two companies to hopefully this is just the beginning of a beautiful chapter in independent storytelling.