Firewatch team go tomb raiding with In The Valley of Gods


Archaeology might be coming of age. There was a time when the hunt for relics and the raiding of tombs and other forgotten places necessitated a thousand explosions and firefights. The Crofts, Joneses and Drakes of the world perform a very noisy kind of historical research and recovery. In The Valley of Gods, the next game from Firewatch creators Campo Santo, looks like it’ll bring a quieter mode of exploration and excavation. You play as one member of a two-person team investigating a remote valley in Egypt, documenting the mysteries you uncover as you explore. Take out your shovels and unearth the first trailer. It’s right here.

I may have done a genuine little swear when that ‘2019’ popped up at the end, though that has as much to do with my excitement about declaring 2018 THE YEAR OF ARCHAEOLOGY as anything else. We’re probably getting a new Tomb Raider – though this looks much more like what I’d want from a Tomb Raider, truth be told – and we’re definitely getting Heaven’s Vault.

The Valley of Gods probably has more in common with Heaven’s Vault than with Tomb Raider, but really the three of them are scattered along a fairly wide portion of the spectrum when it comes to what I expect from games about digging through the past. Alien languages and faiths in the weird worlds of Heaven’s Vault, presumably lots of shooting and stumbling and climbing in Tomb Raider, and something a little more contemplative and observational in Valley of Gods.

My favourite moments in Firewatch involved talking over that radio into the night, wondering what I was trying to achieve by dancing with the voice of someone so distant they might as well be a ghost. The sunsets and scenery in Firewatch are wonderful and when the fire was like a second sun over in the forest, the nights became stranger and more beautiful.

The lighting in Valley of Gods is an entirely different prospect. There are lots of hard lines, where man-made structures threaten to entomb you, and the trailer does great work with all kinds of light sources: the orange of the desert beneath the sun, the things revealed by a flickering cigarette lighter, and the beam of a torch washing across sarcophagi or blinding you temporarily as your companion gets your attention from across a chamber. Let’s not forget the campfire scene either, mostly because it makes me hope for rest points where the two characters can stop, talk and reflect. I love a bit of reflection and a change of pace.

I really want to know more about the actual documentation process. It sounds like a core part of the game will be making a film rather than simply recovering artifacts and dumping them in a museum/attic.

In the Valley of Gods is a single-player first person video game set in Egypt in the 1920s. You play as an explorer and filmmaker who, along with your old partner, has traveled to the middle of the desert in the hopes of making a seemingly-impossible discovery and an incredible film.

Remember, it’s not out until 2019 so there’s plenty of time to learn more as the weeks and months go by. For now, you could go and plunder the official site for more information, though it’s in scant supply. Unless I’ve missed some concealed chambers full of treasures.


  1. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    A year away?!
    Dagnamit :(

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    Nice, Firewatch is one of the most memorable games I’ve played lately. Looking forward both to this and Heaven’s Vault.

  3. bongobo says:

    Here, cleanse your palate of that horrendously milquetoast and heavy-handed trailer music with a little ginger:

    link to

    Never could finish Firewatch due to a game-breaking bug that many experienced and went unpatched for ages and ages – pretty rotten in a very short, high-production single-player linear-narrative game. That’s spoiled my opinion of Campo Santo somewhat and to be honest this poorly-edited trailer seems to be a supercut of the most boring moments in the game. No hints of characterisation or even a whole lot of mystery.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I got stuck in Firewatch, and because it had autosaved I had the choice of replaying half the game, or quitting.
      I ended up emailing their support, and someone took a copy of my save game, and edited it to fix my predicament.
      It wasn’t until I’d finally played through to the end that I realised it was one of the lead devs who’d fixed it for me. So they definitely get plus points for customer service from me.

      • Nelsormensch says:

        Oh yeah I think Jane, Jake and myself fixed basically all of those save file bugs, and all by hand. Bummer that happened to folks before we could patch in the full fix(es) for the problem, but I’m glad we were able to get almost everyone back on their way without having to restart the game.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Weirdest use of ‘milquetoast’ ever.

    • Minicow says:

      You seem immensely unpleasant.

  4. Premium User Badge

    johannsebastianbach says:


  5. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Look gorgeous. Colour me intrigued. I’ve been really enjoying AC Origins’ rendition of Egypt but I could definitely do with some 1920s Egyptian exploration as well! And documentary photography… :D

  6. Ibed says:

    I just read the “Best of 2016” article on Firewatch, and it’s one of the best pieces of game review I’ve ever read on this site. All the different voices and opinions really give a good idea of what the game is. I wish you would do more of it, outside of the end-of-year lists and more frequently than the verdicts, though I understand it might not be easy to organize or interesting for the writers.