In 2015, Life Is Strange took the video game world by storm. Featuring time-traveler Max Caufield, the game focused just as much on what it is like to be a teenager in today’s society as it did trying to unravel the mystery of missing girl, Rachel Amber.
With each of five episodes being released 6-8 weeks apart, fans of the series got plenty of time to speculate whodunit, how Max got her powers, and why we were forced to endure such disjointed teen slang as “Release the kra-can”?
After Episode Four ended on the biggest cliffhanger to date, fans were left panicking while waiting nearly three months for the final episode to be released. What fate would befall Max, her best friend Chloe, and their archnemesis Victoria? Would there be any sort of redemption arc for Mr. Jefferson, Nathan Prescott, David Madsen, or Frank? And, most importantly, what role would possible new friends that you could have made along the way like Kate, Dana, and Juliet play in determining your story’s ending?
Unfortunately, not a lot. (Major spoilers ahead!)
You see, regardless of what decisions that you made along the way, the events of Episode Five are primarily set in stone. You might experience a few Easter Eggs along the way depending on who you helped in Episodes 1-4, and who you hurt. But the final storyline is the same. And to many players like myself…that just isn’t right.
For those unaware, Life Is Strange heavily plays upon the butterfly effect philosophy, where one small change you make to your past can greatly impact the nature of your future. And while this is demonstrated beautifully in Episodes #1-4, not much of it comes into effect in Episode #5.
You would think that in the case of two main characters that you can either save or kill, their “dead or alive” status would make a great impact in the ending of the game. Sadly the ending is the same regardless of who lives and who dies, and whether it was directly or indirectly at your hands. It’s instances like this that left a sour taste in my mouth after the primary game ended.
Episodes #1-4 fit together beautifully, and as a standalone piece Episode #5 is brilliant as well. But sandwiched together, the story feels incomplete. And while I was happy to scream Life Is Strange’s praises for most of 2015, that was all silenced after I completed the game. Although it is true that Max and Chloe’s friendship should be at the forefront of the game, the other characters I encountered forged a connection with me as well. This is why the game has felt incomplete to me for almost two years.
A new Life Is Strange game has been announced, and it’s been determined to be a prequel to the original game! This means that we will be exploring the relationship between Chloe Price and Rachel Amber before Max’s arrival into Blackwell Academy. Playing as Chloe, we will get a greater look into how her mind ticks, as well as a greater look into the trials and tribulations of Blackwell’s other students, such as Victoria and Nathan.
Most fans agree that after the ending of the original Life Is Strange, there is not truly a way to produce a sequel with the same cast. What’s done is done, and a sequel would likely have to involve a new cast of characters and a new mystery. However, a prequel provides the perfect avenue to take a glimpse into the past and help to tie up loose ends.
One noticeable change, however, is that Chloe will no longer be voiced by voice actress Ashly Burch. Thanks to the continuing strike from the Screen Actors Guild, Burch was ineligible to accept the role once more, something that has left her “pretty heartbroken”.
Instead, Burch will be coming on-board as a writer for the Life As Strange prequel, fueling her passion into Chloe’s dialogue this time, rather than into Chloe’s voice. In Burch’s place, newcomer Rhianna DeVries will be voicing Chloe, and DeVries has been given Burch’s blessing and guidance to do so.
Life Is Strange: Before The Storm will be released on August 31st, 2017, and will be comprised of three individually-released episodes. Be sure to keep an eye out on my Twitch and my YouTube channels, as you all know that I’ll be jumping on this gameplay immediately.