How successful developers deal with the inevitable rip-offs of their creations can vary wildly from studio to studio. Filing a complaint with Apple (in the case of iOS game copycats) is standard, while some may also take to social media to call the offender out in particularly egregious cases. Cabel Sasser of Firewatch publisher Panic, Inc. went several steps farther in the case of “New Firewatch,” a blatant knock-off that until recently was available in Apple’s App Store for a measly $1.
Sasser had the game removed from sale, yes, and he took to Twitter to call out the app’s “developer,” Albert Gavril. But he also posted a hilarious “Let’s Play” video in which he showed just how poorly the knock-off performed.
And here's my LET'S PLAY of the [complete rip-off] iOS game, NEW FIREWATCH!!! Enjoy!!! pic.twitter.com/QuloTCTwxD
— Cabel Sasser (@cabel) April 4, 2017
“Oh, wonderful. NEW FIREWATCH. Important note: we did not make NEW FIREWATCH,” Sasser wrote, followed by several bemused emoji faces.
The video showed Sasser exploring “New Firewatch” for two minutes, during which time he found he was unable to climb ladders, and encountered numerous graphical glitches. He also discovered a mysterious, glowing purple orb, and joked that it must be Delilah, a character whom you speak with in the real Firewatch but never meet. The ending places the cherry delicately on top when Sasser unceremoniously falls through the ground to reveal the endless nothingness underneath.
Digital Trends’ review of Firewatch praised the game’s beauty but criticized its narrative elements, calling out a forced conclusion and meandering story. The game’s character interactions between protagonist Henry and the unseen (until now, apparently) Delilah are “the game’s best stuff,” however. Who could have guessed that she was a shiny pink orb all along?
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Firewatch developer Campo Santo’s art director, Claire Hummel, responded to Sasser’s jabs at “New Firewatch” with some, uh, updated official art for the game, as Polygon pointed out: