Firewatch devs respond to those who refunded the game

Firewatch devs respond to those who refunded the game

Firewatch devs respond to those who refunded the game


The Developers of Firewatch have offered a response to those who have refunded the game on Steam, stating that it saddens them that some player believe that the game is not worth the $18 asking price, £15 in the UK, but that they do not hold it against the consumers or even consider the Steam Refunds policy unfair for the developers of small games. 

Right now the Steam Refund Policy allows any game to be refunded within two hours of playtime, leaving the developers of shorter more refined experiences like Firewatch in a rather difficult position, with players being able to refund the game when it is close to completion for a full refund. 

Many have expressed in the past that Steam’s refund system should be a tiered system, with cheaper and shorter titles having a shorter refund period of One hour, and leaving the two hour refund window for game with a longer average playtime. 


  Firewatch devs respond to those who refunded the game  

The developers of Firewatch made it as a passion project, deciding to create the independent title that they wanted to make rather than taking higher paid jobs elsewhere. 

While a large amount of refunds is bad for any game developer it hits indie developers the hardest, as they do not have the luxury of having the financial burden being taken by their employers or publisher. The developer states that it saddens her to see people refund their game, but they do not hold the refunds against the user of against Steam itself, which is a very admirable position to hold. 


      So here is what I think. As the developer. Sorry if it’s a bit stream of consciousness because I want this to come from the heart. 

The 11 of us all took a lot of risk to make this, and sacrificed financially to give Firewatch a chance. We all could have had much better paying jobs elsewhere, but we all thought this game idea had potential to be something special. We seemed to like each other ok, so we all took a big leap of faith. Two years, we say. Let’s give this a go, worst outcome is we all hate each other and go back to various money jobs, but we all could say, WE TRIED.

Two years +. We are all crammed in a tiny office, sharing one bathroom. It is not a glamorous thing, making an independent game. It is just a small room full of computers and a used microwave and $10 office chairs we luckily got from craigslist. Life happened during those two years: there were big breakups, profound illnesses of loved ones, a baby, etc. The dev team got to be like family, because that’s how making an indie game is, you are all in it together, through thick and thin, supporting one another bc if you don’t, there is no way in hell this game would get made, let alone any chance of it to be worth more than a bucket of ♥♥♥♥.

We were excited, but terrified. We felt free, but were constrained. I have been in this industry for 15 years almost, and this is the hardest I have ever worked. We all gave it our all, to make this weird thing, and we had no idea if it was any good to anybody else. All we could do, was try the damn hardest to make something we are honestly proud of. At the end, if this was a commercial failure, all we have got is what we have made. Nobody could take that away.

So yes, I am sad when people think this game is not worth the money we asked for (which we thought was a fair ask). It makes me feel like I failed them. It is ok if people don’t like the game, but it affects me personally a lot, when people feel like it was not -worth- the time they engaged with it.

But do I blame you for wanting to get the most out of your $18? No. I don’t know your financial circumstances. $18 might be a lot. Or even it isn’t a lot, why shouldnt’ you try to get the most out of it? That’s a fair desire. That’s why we asked for $18 too, because money is something we could all use more of. 


In a world where even AAA developers can release completely broken PC games on Steam the option of Steam Refunds is something that is very important to the consumer. The developers of Firewatch obviously see the importance of the Steam Refund policy, which while it is hurting them financially they are still not blaming users or Steam for that loss.

Hopefully in the future Steam’s refund policy can be adapted to better suit those that offer shorter/cheaper gaming experiences, but right now the policy has greatly helped a lot of gamers who have previously been unable to receive a refund for broken/unplayable PC releases. 


You can join the discussion on Firewatch and Steam’s Refund policy on the OC3D Forums.