"So maybe Arcadia Bay will actually turn out to be the island
of treasure and adventure I've been looking for..."

Max Caulfield in her diary on August 18, 2013

Arcadia Bay is a picturesque seaside town in Oregon, United States that originally appears in Life is Strange. It reappears in Life is Strange: Before the Storm, the prequel to the first game, and in the franchise's newest installment Life is Strange 2. It was originally inhabited and founded by Native Americans, as mentioned by Ms. Grant. According to her, when the settlers arrived they lived peacefully with one another. Arcadia Bay's main source of commerce was fishing, which has now all dried up due to the Prescott family's doing.

Life is Strange Edit

In Life is Strange, the town is experiencing strange weather and other phenomena that is somehow linked to Max Caulfield's time-controlling abilities

A snowstorm ends Episode 1: Chrysalis, and an eclipse ends Episode 2: Out of Time, while the reoccurring deaths of animals are seen throughout Episode 3: Chaos Theory and a double moon appears at the end of Episode 4: Dark Room. In Episode 5: Polarized, Arcadia Bay's fate is in the player's hands as it can be destroyed by the tornado in Max's visions, or it can be saved by going back to the beginning of the game and letting Chloe get shot by Nathan.

Life is Strange 2 Edit

The town reappears in Episode 1 of Life is Strange 2. If Chloe was sacrificed back in Episode 5 of the first game, the town will be lit up with lights and the lighthouse will be rotating its light. If Arcadia Bay was sacrificed, the town will appear abandoned and the lighthouse will appear half destroyed due to the storm. When Sean leaves, the sign where it describes Arcadia Bay will be painted with "FOR ALL THE SOULS LOST IN THE ARCADIA BAY STORM, OCTOBER 11 2013. Time won't forget you.". If Chloe was sacrificed, the sign will be normal and describe the town.

Locations Edit

Known Residents Edit

  • Max Caulfield - Grew up in Arcadia Bay, moved away in 2008 with her parents when she was 13 and came back five years later after being accepted into Blackwell Academy. She now lives in the Prescott Dormitory.
  • Chloe Price - Grew up and lived in Arcadia Bay at least since 2008 and likely long before, presumably since her birth. She lives in the Madsen household.
  • Joyce Price - Long-time resident, raised Chloe with William since at least 2008 in Arcadia, presumably since Chloe's early childhood. She lives in the Madsen household.
  • David Madsen - Lives together with Joyce Price in the Madsen household in Arcadia Bay at least since they married in 2010 and presumably sometime before.
  • James Amber (Before the Storm) - Arcadia Bay's District Attorney for eight months at the time of Before the Storm.
  • Rose Amber (Before the Storm) - Presumably has lived in Arcadia Bay her whole life.
  • Rachel Amber - Lived in Arcadia Bay during Before the Storm and her deceased body is found on the junkyard.
  • Frank Bowers - Lives in an RV that he moves around Arcadia Bay.
  • Homeless Lady - According to her own words, she has lived in Arcadia Bay for a very long time and saw the city undergo many changes. During the events of the game, she is seen sitting on a piece of cardboard behind the Two Whales Diner.
  • Mark Jefferson - Born and raised in Arcadia Bay. Left town for an unknown period of time after he became a famous photographer. Has recently returned to take on a teaching position at Blackwell Academy.
  • Prescott family - Arcadia Bay's oldest and wealthiest family.
  • Pompidou - Frank's dog that can either get hit by a truck or be spared.
  • Alice the Rabbit - Kate's rabbit that lives in Kate's room at the Prescott Dormitory.

Former Residents Edit

Wildlife Edit

Main article: Wildlife

Arcadia Bay has a large and diverse range of wildlife. It varies from different types of birds to the various deer that you see throughout the episodes of the game. However, not much is said regarding the different types of animal species in Arcadia Bay.

Symbolism Edit


Sticker from Max's journal. Latin for "Even in Arcadia, there I am."

The name "Arcadia" was deliberately chosen for the symbolism it bears. Arcadia is a utopia introduced in Greek and Latin mythology, which is full of flowers, fruits, and forests. In an interview writer, Christian Divine explained that “it just sounded more peaceful and mystic, and the word ‘Arcadia’ has all these connotations that would be fun to play with and contrast with the darkness that’s actually going on in the town. It has all these different representations and metaphors that you can look in to and work with.”[1]

"Even in Arcadia, there I am."

Inspirations Edit

In construction.

The developers conducted research on the setting by traveling to the Pacific Northwest — particularly the Tillamook Bay area — for the purpose of conveying a nostalgic and autumnal feel to the game. The development team visited the region, took photographs, looked at local newspapers and used Google Street View to make sure the environment was accurately portrayed.[2]

  • In early stages of development, the main reference for the town of Arcadia Bay was Astoria, a city on the hillside of Oregon, but it was way too big for the setting they were aiming for. Eventually, they found Garibaldi, a much smaller town which was working well with its main street running along the coast.[2]
  • The Arcadia Bay map layout was directly inspired by Garibaldi, OR, as evident from this map provided by "Visit Garibaldi". Several places were either directly based on their Garibaldi counterparts as shown on the map, including their locations on the map, or inspired by them.
    • Harbor
    • Railroad
    • Beach
    • Barn ("Old Mill")
    • Sawmill - Old Mill
    • Garibaldi Ave - Arcadia Bay Ave
    • Birch Avenue - Cedar Avenue
    • Monument at the Garibaldi Museum - Northwest Valor statue
    • Garibaldi Elementary School - Blackwell Academy
  • Arcadia Bay has been built with inspirations from multiple locations in Oregon. These probably include Oceanside, OR, Bay City, OR, Newport, OR and Lincoln City, OR on the coast. In the episode "Out of Time", Warren Graham notes that the Newberg drive-in is sixty miles away from Blackwell, which matches the distance from Lincoln City.
  • Several characteristic details are very likely based on the area of Tillamook Bay. The railroad track, water tower, and harbor can or could be found in Garibaldi, OR, while the lumber mill, as well as some signs, can be found in Tillamook, OR. The lighthouse design might be based on either Heceta Head Lighthouse or Yaquina Head Lighthouse (Newport, OR).
  • Oceanside, OR is down the coast from Cape Meares Lighthouse, part of which is a line of sight to the lighthouse, from Short Beach, in the same way as the lighthouse in Arcadia Bay. The view from Cape Meares south to Oceanside is very similar to that of the view of Arcadia Bay from its lighthouse.
  • There are a few streets in Arcadia Bay with real-life counterparts in the Tillamook County area. Those include the Cedar Ave, where Chloe lives, and the Franklin Street, where she was given a parking ticket.
    • The Cedar Ave exists in Tillamook, OR, a city located south of Garibaldi.
  • The list of 146 coordinates found in David's locker in Episode 4 actually are the coordinates for Tillamook Bay, although they correspond to the water itself to prevent the coordinates matching up with real locations. This is further evidence that Arcadia Bay may be based on Tillamook Bay and its surrounding areas.
  • It's possible that the town is meant to represent the town of Bayocean, OR which was destroyed over the course of 40 years by man-made erosion, and existed where there is now water, which could be another possible explanation for the coordinates from David's file corresponding with the water area.
  • In a postcard sent to Chloe, Rachel wrote Chloe's address stating that Arcadia Bay's ZIP code is 97141 (which is the real ZIP Code of Tillamook, OR). Another postcard sent by someone called Amaury contains the same ZIP code. However, on the auto repair invoice, the shop's address in Arcadia Bay states a different ZIP Code: 97603. This is also a real ZIP code belonging to Klamath Falls, OR. And while in Drew North's room, area codes written on a post-it note state Arcadia Bay's ZIP code is 97103, the real code for Astoria OR.
  • Postcard2
    Another postcard found in Chloe's room seems to have been sent from Tillamook Head, OR. While Tillamook Bay serves as one of the main inspirations for Arcadia Bay, Tillamook Head is a high promontory well-known by hikers. It became famous in 1806, after Captain William Clark and 12 members of the Corps of Discovery hiked over the promontory where they encountered a beached whale.[3]

Trivia Edit

  • The town was originally called "Aurora Creek" before Christian Divine suggested the name "Arcadia Bay" because "it just sounded more peaceful and mystic, and the word ‘Arcadia’ has all these connotations that would be fun to play with and contrast with the darkness that’s actually going on in the town. It has all these different representations and metaphors that you can look in to and work with."[1]
    • In the game files for the first level (the vision on the cliff), the textures for the Arcadia Bay map are called "Aurora Creek Map", a leftover of its initial name.
    • The game file for the large picture of Arcadia Bay that hangs in the upstairs hallway at Chloe's house is named "TX_Post_AuroraCreek_D".
    • Aurora Creek is a river located in the Pacific Northwest coast area close to places that directly inspired Arcadia Bay such as the Tillamook Bay area where Garibaldi is located, or are mentioned in the game such as Portland and Seattle.
    • "Aurora" is the Latin word for dawn and the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology. In Roman mythology, Aurora renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun.
  • When Max goes back in time to 2008, an Oregon state map decorated with pictorial Tillamook County tourist attractions is on the wall in the kitchen.[4] The majority of these pictures have been identified to be reflective of real-life Tillamook attractions, such as:
    • The orange block - representing the cheese made at the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory.
    • The bird - representing the fact that Tillamook County is said to be a bird watching paradise.[5]
    • 1959 with historical-looking shield emblem - 1959 is an important date for Tillamook County; this is the year that the community came together once again to construct a replica of the Morning Star vessel that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to export Tillamook dairy products and seafood. The vessel was a game-changer for Tillamook.
    • Lighthouse - there are 11 lighthouses that run along the Oregon coast, two of which are located in Tillamook County: Tillamook Rock, and Cape Meares.
    • Native American - Tillamook is a Chinookan word for a Tillamook place-name, possibly meaning "land of many waters" or "People of Nehalem."[1]
  • The people living in Arcadia Bay are called "Arcadian Bayers".[6]
  • The current mayor of Arcadia Bay is presumed to be Mayor Cochran.[7]
  • According to Before the Storm, Arcadia Bay is located inside or near the Tillamook County area, since a letter to James Amber mentions the "Tillamook County Family Services".
    • "Tillamook County Family Services" may be based on the "Tillamook Child Welfare Office", which is a part of the "Oregon Department of Human Services" and covers Tillamook, Clatsop, and Columbia counties.

Gallery Edit

Life is Strange Edit

Locations Edit

Menu Screens Edit

Early Logo Concepts Edit

Life is Strange 2 Edit

Sacrifice Arcadia Bay Edit

Sacrifice Chloe Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 From ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ to ‘Life Is Strange’ – A Discussion with Writer Christian Divine
  2. 2.0 2.1 Edouard Caplain on the Art Behind Life Is Strange (February 9, 2016)
  3. History of Tillamook Head
  4. The name of the game file suggests this belongs to William.
  6. This is how the radio host DJ Stan Stanwick addresses his audience when listening to the radio in Chloe's room in Before the Storm.
  7. His name is mentioned on the "25th Annual Happy Halloween Bazaar" flyer located just inside the entrance of the Two Whales Diner.