Forgoing the time travel powers of the first game, Before the Storm instead introduces a new gameplay mechanic that takes the form of a dialogue puzzle. Each time Chloe is having a conversation with someone, the option of using Backtalk sometimes becomes available as a possible dialogue option. Backtalk has Chloe use her wits to throw insults back at the other character or cleverly try to change their perspective. Backtalk is optional, and even if you fail a sequence, you can just find another method or route.
"Certain dialogue choices, marked with sweary speech bubbles, trigger a backtalk sequence. It’s a minigame of sorts in which Chloe, without the time-twisting powers of her friend Max, exercises her most potent ability: aggressive sarcasm. Chloe and her target trade insults, and there are ‘correct’ choices to make, picked out by figuring out the response that most directly plays with the previous line of dialogue."
- "In Backtalk, you use arguments and insults to get someone to do what you want.
To succeed, pay attention to what your opponent says...then pick a comeback that reflects their words back at them."
- — Backtalk tutorial
Backtalk is essentially a timed dialogue with a scoring system where a "correct" answer will award a point for the player and a "wrong" answer (or saying nothing) will award a point for the opponent instead. Each point awarded will fill up a small circle on either person's side.Whoever reaches the required number of points by reaching the large circle at the center first (shown in the user interface) is the winner.
Backtalk Challenges Edit
Backtalk challenges appear when Chloe has certain objectives, e.g. getting into the club in Episode 1. Failing the challenges however does not prevent the player from progressing within the story; the player may find alternative solutions to a problem, be forced to deal with negative consequences or avoid certain challenges altogether. Depending on the outcome of the backtalk opportunity, certain consequences will occur; see here.
Firewalk Bouncer Edit
Objective: To get into the punk club.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she must get into the punk club using the dog kennel and the back door.
"Isn't it past your bed time?"
- Your bedtime? (+1/5)
- No bedtime. (+1/5)
- Do me a solid. (-1/4)
"Real cute. But I still don't know you." or "Stop being cute and just split."
- What could it hurt? (-1/4)
- I don't do cute. (+1/5)
- Cute is relative. (+1/5)
"Ok, kid. I get it, you're tough." or "Kid, you're not listening. Beat it!"
- This isn't a playground. (+1/5)
- Fine. I'll sneak in. (-1/4)
- I am not a kid! (+1/5)
"A girl like you... I can't protect you in there." or "Girls like you get chewed up in there."
- A girl like me? (+1/5)
- Girls kick ass. (+1/5)
- Flowers on your bike? (If Chloe looked at the bike with flowers on it) (+1/5)
- I'm not worried. (-1/4)
"Look. My boss decides who gets in, alright?" or "My boss will kill me if I let you in."
- Who's your boss? (+1/5)
- Look the other way. (-1/4)
- Bosses suck. (+1/5)
"Okay, you're funny. But that's not the point." or "Around here funny people have a way of getting hurt."
- Knock, knock. (+1/5)
- F.U.N. (+1/5)
- You try too hard. (-1/4)
"Being mean won't get you anywhere, kid." or "Keep pushing me. See where it gets you."
- I'm sorry. (-1/4)
- Eat your feelings. (+1/5)
- Is that bracelet for real? (+1/5)
"You know Damon would probably get a kick out of you..." or "Doesn't matter, Damon doesn't like new people, okay?"
- Who's Damon? (+1/5)
- Help me out here! (-1/4)
- Damon Shmamon. (+1/5)
David's Lecture Edit
Objective: To get David to be quiet.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, David will give her the lecture anyway.
"Language! You are way out of line, young lady."
- French is a language. (+1/5)
- Military language. (+1/5)
- Mustache! (-1/2)
"You've got a smart mouth, don'tcha?" or "You're so smart. Too bad you don't know who you're dealing with here."
- You're stupid. (+1/5)
- Can't threaten me. (-1/2)
- Let me dumb it down. (+1/5)
"Hey! Watch your--I can crap bigger than you, got it?" or "I can crap bigger than you. Just remember that."
- Thought I smelled crap. (+1/5)
- You're the crap master. (+1/5)
- Just shoot me. (-1/2)
"You--! Your mother... You're breaking her heart!" or "It would break your mother's heart to hear you being so disrespectful."
- Don't pretend to care. (-1/2)
- Leave mom out of this. (+1/5)
- At least she has a heart. (+1/5)
"I was in the army! You will respect me!" or "In the army that kind of talk would get you assigned to KP duty for a month."
- I didn't enlist. (+1/5)
- You're not my father. (-1/2)
- Bill of Rights, fool. (+1/5)
"Look. Now. In this house--I have my job to do and...so do you!" or "My job is to make sure you and your mother have a safe and peaceful home."
- Go away. (-1/2)
- How about telecommuting. (+1/5)
- You have no job. (If Chloe saw the job fair flyer) (+1/5)
- You deserve a raise. (+1/5)
Principal Wells Edit
Objective: To get Wells to leave Chloe alone and not have to go to his office after school.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she will have to go Principal Wells' office after school.
"And here I thought your well of witticisms had finally run dry."
- Learn some tolerance. (-1/1)
- Principal "Wells." I get it. (+1/3)
- My well is deep. (+1/3)
"Jokes? In my experiences, that's how the guilty cover up their infractions."
- Who's guilty now? (+1/3)
- Article four-twenty. (-1/1)
- The guilty have rights. (+1/3)
"We are a private institution, and policy allows me to search all students on the premises."
- You seem stressed. (-1/1)
- My own policy. (+1/3)
- The Prescotts' policy? (If Miss Grant mentions the Prescott donation to Chloe and Skip didn't mention the high risk policy) (+1/3)
- High risk policy? (If Skip mentioned that term) (+1/3)
- Insurance. (+1/3)
Objective: To get the dragonkin's keys.
"He steps back, his scaly skin quivering in fear. What do you say?"
- Meat puppet. (+1/2)
- Dragons are pussies. (-1/2)
- Shoes. (+1/2)
"The dragonkin pleads with you. 'Please don't harm me, tall one. But I cannot give you key. Duurgaron much taller and meaner than you.'"
- Could make you shorter. (+1/2)
- Could make you taller. (+1/2)
- Die of old age. (-1/2)
- Grab the key. (-1/2)
- Pull out your stomach. (+1/2)
- Taste my axe. (+1/2)
Drew bullying Nathan Edit
Objective: To stop Drew from bullying Nathan.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, Drew will throw Nathan's portfolio in the fountain.
"What the hell did you just say to me?"
- Back off? (+1/4)
- Idiot? (+1/4)
- Leave. Now. (-1/2)
"You're seriously defending Nathan Prescott?" or "You're actually standing up for Nathan Prescott?"
- Nathan's an easy target. (+1/4)
- That's hardly fair. (-1/2)
- Got me feeling sorry for a Prescott. (+1/4)
"You're such a crazy freak! Mind Your own business." or "Are you crazy? Mind your own business, freak."
- I'm crazy, that's true. (+1/4)
- What if he cries to Daddy? (-1/2)
- You know what's crazy? (+1/4)
"You want a piece of this?"
- No thanks. (-1/2)
- A piece of your bromance? (+1/4)
- A piece of cake. (+1/4)
"You think this is funny? You think I'm joking, here?" or "Do you really think I'm going to let you talk to me like that?"
- You suck. (-1/2)
- I think we're done. (+1/4)
- Think? (+1/4)
Picnicking Couple Edit
Objective: To steal the couple's wine bottle without them noticing.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she will steal the couple's wine bottle but they will see her doing so.
"What are you waiting for? Go!"
- Who's the one waiting? (+1/3)
- Won't have long to wait long. (+1/3)
- Sterilize the wound. (-1/1)
"Good point. We'll keep watch while you go."
- Watch out for rabies. (+1/3)
- Here's some medicine. (-1/1)
- Watch her die? (+1/3)
"This woman need help from someone who actually knows what they're doing."
- It's contagious. (-1/1)
- Good Samaritans. (+1/3)
- Unlock your potential. (If Chloe overheard the picnicking couple while looking for a way to use the viewfinder) (+1/3)
- Encouraging platitude. (+1/3)
Episode Two - "Brave New World" Edit
Principal Wells Edit
Objective: Make sure the Rachel doesn't get cut from the performance of The Tempest.
Success: Rachel will get off scot-free and Chloe will get expelled from Blackwell Academy.
Failed: Rachel gets cut from the performance of The Tempest and Chloe gets suspended from Blackwell Academy for the rest of the year.
"Ms. Amber has accepted her responsibility."
- Accept reality. (+1/4)
- If it quacks. (-1/2)
- You are unacceptable. (+1/4)
"Rachel confessed. Are you calling her a liar?" or "Rachel confessed. I'm not listening to this nonsense."
- I confess she can act. (+1/4)
- You should confess. (+1/4)
- She just wants attention. (-1/2)
"You don't have to do this. It's okay. Really." or "You should know better than to try something like this, it isn't gonna work" (Failing the Bouncer Backtalk challenge.)
- You don't tell me what to do. (+1/4)
- We're not friends. (-1/2)
- You do you. (+1/4)
Chloe, this can't be you. Apologize this instant!" or "Apologize, Chloe! That's enough!"
- Sorry for making you look bad. (+1/4)
- I regret bullying Nathan. (+1/4)
- Shouldn't have dragged Rachel into it. (-1/2)
"Why come forward now? I'd commend you for your honesty, if not for... everything else." or "Why speak up, Ms. Price? Your words do not exonerate Rachel, but they do further implicate you."
- Why not leave with a bang? (+1/4)
- Why not tell the truth? (+1/4)
- I'm the worst. (-1/2)
Frank's Information Edit
Objective: Get information about the woman.
Success: Frank will tell Chloe that the woman's name is Sera.
Failed: Frank gets annoyed and tells Chloe to shut up. Chloe does not find out the woman's name.
"Idiot. I make money by being discreet."
- You made no promises. (-1/2)
- I won't sell you out. (+1/3)
- Give me some credit. (+1/3)
"Come on, Price, I gotta protect my clients. Happy customers are the foundation of a good business." or "Nope, I protect my clients. Happy customers are the foundation of a good business."
- Build our relationship. (+1/3)
- It's about the drugs. (-1/2)
- Sharing is constructive. (+1/3)
- Dream Cloud. (if Chloe viewed Frank's search history) (+1/3)
"Sure, I guess. So, why are you so hung up on this chick?" or "God, Price. Don't you have enough dumb high school shit going on? Why get hung up on some chick?"
- Hang myself out of boredom. (+1/3)
- Just hangin' out. (+1/3)
- So sensitive. (-1/2)
"Well, I guess you're not asking for life or death information here." or "What? No, I-- Forget it, Price. Over my dead body."
- What I imagine will be worse. (-1/2)
- Listen to your sixth sense. (+1/3)
- You've already crossed (+1/3)
Skip in front of the dorm Edit
Objective: Convince Skip to let you into the dormitory.
Success: Skip will let Chloe pass and will run off to inspect the mysterious vehicle in the parking lot.
Failed: Skip will lose it and go off on Principle Wells. Skip quits his job and Chloe gets to pass on by.
"I don't think I can. In fact, I think I have to ask you to state your official business, or else vacate Blackwell property."
- Women's business. (+1/5)
- Dirty business. (+1/5)
- Whatever. (-1/1)
"What? No! No, it's my job to ask, Chloe."
- Not cool, Skip. (-1/1)
- You're going to lose your job. (+1/5)
- Your job is creepy. (+1/5)
"It's not like that! Do you know what Wells would do to me if i didn't... you know... patrol?"
- Is Wells pressuring you? (+1/5)
- Wells doesn't respect you. (+1/5)
- So sick of this. (-1/1)
"I thought we were friends. Where is this coming from?"
- I need to get by. (-1/1)
- Friend? Hah. (+1/5)
- I thought we were friends, too. (+1/5)
"Look, look, look, I'm really sorry, Chloe! I'm so confused right now."
- You just looked at my tits! (+1/5)
- Look the other way. (+1/5)
- I don't even know. (-1/1)
Victoria in changing room Edit
Objective: Get Victoria to give up the role of Prospera in The Tempest.
Success: Victoria will quit her role and Rachel will play Prospera.
Failed: Rachel will drug Victoria's tea. Rachel will play Prospera.
"What are you talking about? You think I'm going to take advice from a loser like you?"
- Lost your mind. (+1/3)
- Greek Chorus. (-1/2)
- 'Tis lost and shit. (+1/3)
"People... love theater. It's cool." or "Theater isn't something I'd expect trash like you to understand."
- Quit now. (-1/2)
- Theater of war. (+1/3)
- Theater in the round. (+1/3)
"The dramatic arts at Blackwell are venerated by... what am i saying? I don't have to justify myself to you." or "The dramatic arts are important, Chloe. They teach us about life."
- Drama queen. (+1/3)
- Dramatic irony. (+1/3)
- Understudy. (-1/2)
"Only the best of Blackwell get to perform, and I've earned this!" or "The best of Blackwell are out there watching!"
- Best-kept secret. (+1/3)
- Best talents. (Don't know how i came across this option, please fill in if you know.) (+1/3)
- Improvise. (-1/2)
James and Rose Edit
Objective: Get James to confess to kissing Sera.
Success: Rachel will smash the table and confront her father about Sera.
Failed: Rachel will smash the table and confront her father about Sera.
"Oh? I thought you of all people would be grateful for family, at least."
- Grateful dead end. (+1/4)
- No thanks. (-1/2)
- Gratitude? How Privileged. (+1/4)
"Still, there must be some room for personal responsibility. I'm sure you agree, Chloe." or "Even if you do not have gratitude, you must believe there is an imperative toward personal responsibility, is there not?"
- Good question... not. (-1/2)
- Military responsibility? (+1/4)
- Responsible like my dad? (+1/4)
"Since you have answers for everything, Chloe, perhaps you'd like to enlighten us with some of your hard-earned wisdom about the world." or "Agreed. I'm sure we'd all love for you to enlighten us with some of your own perspectives."
- Shed some light. (+1/4)
- There's always darkness. (+1/4)
- Wake up. (-1/2)
"No, I don't believe it is. It seems clear that there points Chloe is making are merely veiled attacks on me."or "Yes, Chloe, I believe your point was a bit too veiled for me to understand."
- Incognito attacks? (If Chloe went through James' history on his computer.) (+1/4)
- No cover-up here. (+1/4)
- One percent. (-1/2)
- You can't hide. (+1/4)
"Nothing. It's her whole... attitude." or "I must agree. I don't understand the cause for this attitude."
- Unwomanly attitude? (+1/4)
- Nonviolent protest. (-1/2)
- Micro-aggressive attitude. (+1/4)
Episode Three - "Hell Is Empty" Edit
Each character involved in a Backtalk challenge is represented by a unique symbol.
|Rodney Sears (Bouncer)|
A studded bracelet
Sergeant army stripes
|Dragonkin (Tabletop Game)|
A ring of keys
A picnic basket
An open tin of beans
A Blackwell security badge
A compact mirror, powder puff, and lipstick
Scales of Justice
- The reason for leaving time travel powers behind, outside of canon reasons, is because Deck Nine wanted the game to center on realistic characters and storytelling. “We didn’t want to focus on science fiction, but instead what we think was so courageous about the first game: authentic flawed characters, and a story that was, despite the time travel, incredibly well-written,” lead writer Zak Garriss says.
- The symbol used for showing that Chloe won her backtalk challenge is a skull which bears an uncanny resemblance to the misfit skull symbol Chloe has on her shirt in Life is Strange, the only difference being that both symbols are mirrored.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Five Ways The Prequel Changes Things Up (August 22, 2017)
- ↑ Life Is Strange: Before The Storm is a coming-of-age tragedy (August 22, 2017)