A Small Thing I Appreciate About The PC Version Of Firewatch

A Small Thing I Appreciate About The PC Version Of Firewatch

You can play the PC version of Firewatch with a mouse and keyboard, if you want. You can also use a controller — any kind of controller.

In the Firewatch menu, you have the option to change the on-screen prompts to match up with an Xbox 360 controller, a Steam controller or a PS4 Dualshock controller. This is not the first time I’ve given a game props for this, but all the same: Yes! This! More games should do this!

Most PC games still default to Xbox 360 or Xbox One button prompts. Some games do allow for on-screen Dualshock prompts, but it’s rarely an explicit menu option like it is here. A few games automatically detect that I have a PS4 controller plugged in — Arkham Knight comes to mind — but only if I turn off InputMapper, the program I use to trick the majority of PC games into thinking my Dualshock is an Xbox controller.

It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I like that Campo Santo has included control method as a menu option in Firewatch. I haven’t actually played the PS4 version of the game (I hear it has some bummer frame-rate issues at the moment), but since they made it, might as well include the PS4 button prompts in the PC version, right?

I’ve never liked that the Xbox controller is considered the “default” controller for PC gaming, though given the ubiquity of Microsoft’s operating system, I understand why that is. These days, more and more people are using PS4 controllers to play on PC, so it’s nice to see more game developers letting their games reflect that.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll even get an official Windows driver for the thing. A guy can dream.

Full Disclosure: I’m friends with a couple of guys at Campo Santo. We’ve never really talked about Firewatch, but they have had me on their podcast a few times to argue about Far Cry.


  • Witcher 3 did this seamlessly. You could switch between controller and mouse/kb instantly whenever you want.

    Small but really nice touch in games.

  • This can’t be as big of an issue as its made out to be in the article right? The majority of gamers can read one set of inputs from a screen prompt and translate it to their preferred controllers input easily enough… Can’t they? I mean we have been using the same button layout for over a decade now…

    • Never bugged me – always preferred Xbox controllers over Playstation. Had too many of my PS1 controllers die on me to go back, Xbox has always been reliable.

        • My x360 and x1 controllers last less than a year consistently for the last 5 years. Normal everyday play.

          • Worst I’ve had with xbox controllers was an original xbox one had the right trigger snap. 5 mins of super glue and it was fine. Never had another issue.

        • The buttons just quit out and stop working. I remember “Crash Bash” on PS1 was pretty hard on the square button, had 2 controllers die from it.

    • Not really. I still get thrown by Xbox control prompts all the time, having been a lifelong Nintendo guy. And still cannot at all parse PlayStation prompts, I have to look down at the controller every damn time. Shapes are stupid 😛

      • Ok, I can see how only ever playing Ninty consoles may make using a ds4 or x1 controller a bit difficult.

        • It’s even more confusing with the SNES mainly using B and Y as the basic confirm/cancel buttons, but then with the DS they started to move to use A and B instead. And then on the Xbox controller they’re in opposite places and just… ugh. My brain 😛

          • Interesting. These days I dont even see the letter, just the color (unless there is only a non colored letter), while on the ps I only see the shape, not the color.

            Hadn’t even thought about it till now.

    • Except the green triangularish button on an XB1 (A) does the exact opposite of what the green triangular button on a PS4 does. I played Arkham Origins on my PC with a DS3 and I could never nail combos because I kept pressing triangle instead of X when I got the screen prompt.

      And just because XB has been using the same button layout for a decade it doesn’t mean users have.

      • Huh, triangle on ps is the equivelant of the the yellow y button. I was saying I use the color for xbox and shapes for ps.

        • Yes but if a game prompts you press the green A on the screen I’d press the green triangle on my DS3, since that what it looks like at a glance.

          • Ahhh. I get it. I’m not looking down at the controller any more and you are. That would make a huge difference.

            The colors (xbox) and shapes (ps) are memorised as positions that my thumb has been trained to press.

          • No it’s not that I look at the controller, it’s that I’m so trained to press the top button when I see a green triangle I do it even when it’s an Xbox A on the screen.

  • I’m just glad that we seem to be getting past the dark days of needing to have the controller plugged in before starting the game in order to use it. That used to annoy the crap out of me.

  • More games need this!!!

    Man I hope Dark Souls 3 will have this as I’ll be playing it on by my PS4 and my PC.

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