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This article lists canon inconsistencies between Life is Strange (created by Dontnod Entertainment) and its prequel game Life is Strange: Before the Storm including the bonus episode Farewell which were created by Deck Nine Games. This article also lists issues that were previously highlighted as inconsistencies but have been fixed throughout the release of Before the Storm. (Note: The original game is always referred to as "Life is Strange", while the prequel is referred to as just "Before the Storm".)

See here for the inconsistencies within the prequel itself.

Major

Major inconsistencies are defined here as anything that has an impact on: timelines, settings, events, characters, (e.g. their established ages, details, behaviors, backgrounds, narrative arcs, and dialogue - internal or aloud); anything that adjusts, ignores, or contradicts the established facts of the source material or goes against logic in a manner which could diminish credibility of the game being truly canon.

Victoria's Age

With Before the Storm having Victoria Chase appearing as a sophomore in May 2010 (spring semester), we are faced with the following issues:

  • The August DOB (August 14, 1995) from Life is Strange starts her off as a sophomore only in fall 2010 but then fails to put her as a senior in fall 2013 with Max Caulfield (Life is Strange), as Victoria would have graduated earlier that year in the spring. However, the extended senior year program resolves this. But Victoria should be a freshman in Before the Storm in May 2010, not a sophomore as she is written to be.
  • The November DOB (November 14, 1995) from Life is Strange means she won’t even be attending high school in May 2010 (Before the Storm). It starts her off instead as a freshman in fall 2010 while also eventually situating her in Dontnod's timeline to graduate the normal senior year in spring 2014 with Max.
  • There is more evidence in support of the August date of birth being her canon date of birth as it is written on her official school papers which are signed/approved both by Principal Wells and her parents. (The November DOB only appears on Victoria's social media, though it is possible that she lied about her age on social media.)

Victoria's Presence in General

Victoria is introduced as a sophomore at Blackwell Academy in Before the Storm. There are two occasions in the original game however where Victoria has stated that she only came to Blackwell for Mr. Jefferson, yet the Before the Storm setting is entirely divorced from the Dark Room narrative, and Mr. Jefferson will not be present in the game. Jefferson has not even arrived at Blackwell Academy at this point in time.[1]

  • If Max blamed Mr. Jefferson in Episode 2 of Life is Strange, then in the next episode, Victoria will write the following statement on a social media page in support of him:

"The major reason I came to Blackwell was Mark Jefferson."

  • Later, in Episode 4 (regardless of Max's choices in the game), Victoria will win the Everyday Heroes award, and says the following shortly after coming to the stage:

"Thank you so much, Mr. Jefferson. It was your incredible photography that brought me to Blackwell and I hope I can live up to your name... and fame."

Sophomore Issue

A public statement made by the Square Enix Life is Strange Community Manager (Toby Palm) gave the following timeline information:[2]

"At the time of our BtS story (May 2010) Max, Chloe and most of the characters we know would be finishing their sophomore year. Here’s a mini timeline with some facts on dates and ages based on LiS1 canon:

  • May 2010:
    • BtS starts
    • It is the end of the 2009/2010 school year
    • Chloe is 16
    • Max is 14
    • Rachel is 15, going on 16
    • Victoria is 14
    • Warren is 13
    • They are all sophomores
  • October 2013:
    • LiS Season 01 starts
    • It is the [start] of the 2013/2014 school year
    • Chloe is 19
    • Max recently turned 18
    • Victoria is 18
    • Warren is 16
    • Max, Victoria, and Warren are all seniors at Blackwell."

The issue with this is that Max and Warren are being considered sophomores in May 2010 (Before the Storm). There may be an explanation for Warren (e.g. 'boy genius'), but there is no obvious explanation for Max having advanced two grades (at whatever high school she is attending). To help explain this:

  • Max turned 14 in 2009 after the September 1st cutoff date. This means that she wouldn't be starting high school until September the following year (fall 2010). The normal age requirement to start high school as a freshman is age 14 (i.e. turning 14 before the September 1st cutoff). It is currently unknown why Max has advanced two grades in 2010. She has a 2.8 GPA on her 2013 student information sheet, which suggests she is a low B / C / high D student (not an exemplary student). Her GPA is also said to fluctuate and she acknowledged in 2013 that she should be doing better.

Blackwell Student Photograph

In Chloe's bedroom in Before the Storm's Episode 1, "Awake", there is a student photograph. From left to right is:

BtS-student-photo

The first obvious issue with this is mentioned above in terms of Warren being a sophomore with Chloe, given his much younger age. (See #Sophomore Issue.)

The second issue is the fact that characters — namely Warren, Justin, Stella and Nathan — are present in the photo with Chloe even though in Life is Strange, dialogue (or text messages) between these characters seems to suggest that she did not know them as fellow students or even classmates prior to the original game's events.

A few other students we meet in Before the Storm are not featured on this photograph, so it can only be a photograph of students in Chloe's particular grade or a class photo. The actual game asset is labelled TX_Post_ClassPhoto01_D, so this suggests that it is a class photo. This class photo also provides the names of the students underneath.

Warren

During the dialogue that occurs between Max and Warren in Life is Strange's Episode 2, "Out of Time", Warren does not appear to know Chloe at all in 2013 even though they are shown to be classmates in Before the Storm. Outside the dormitory building in "Out of Time", Warren will have the following conversation with Max about Chloe:

"Even though you left me with said bully and ran off with that girl... She's pretty punk rock, how do you know her?"

"An old friend. Chloe Price? We haven't seen each other in a while."

"I bet you were glad to see her blast up in that truck like a rock star. Which begs the question—why is Nathan Prescott getting psycho on you?"

Other dialogue gives the impression that Warren does not know Chloe beforehand. For example, the text messages Max receives from Warren in Episode 4 if she kissed Chloe but declined Warren's invitation to the drive-in:

"Your friend Chloe txtd me that I'm out of the loop now. She sounds hot so I get why."

There is no mention of the fact he knows Chloe from when she was going to Blackwell, her complete change of appearance, or that he's surprised that Max knows her too! There are also a couple of points in Life is Strange where, if Warren knew Chloe from the past, he would have likely opened a dialogue with her about that it's good to see her again or even asking how life is outside Blackwell. Not even Chloe seems to recognize Warren, as she refers to him simply as "your friend" to Max:

"Your friend really took a beatdown for you." / "Your friend really stood up for you..."

And "your pal":

"Do I look like a Linux nerd like your pal, Warren?"

In Before the Storm, Chloe reads an email from Warren on Eliot Hampden's computer in his dorm room and says: "Warren Graham is such a nerd." Even if she was simply commenting on the email content, she would have already at least known Warren's name and what he looks like in 2010 in Before the Storm. So in the original game which is set three years later, this creates a contradiction with both Chloe and Warren not appearing to recognize each other or know each other by name.

Justin

When Max encounters Justin at the Blackwell Campus in the first episode of Life is Strange, "Chrysalis", she has the option to talk with him about Rachel and "her punk friend", as Max does not yet know the identity of the blue-haired punk girl that she had saved in the bathroom earlier. The conversation goes as follows:

Justin: "Rachel Amber and her punk friend used to skate with us / used to love skating with us."
Max: "Who was Rachel's punk friend?"
Justin: "I can't remember her name... But she was hot. Tats. Blue hair. Hardcore. She stopped hanging out with us after Rachel disappeared... or ran away."

As we see in Life is Strange, Justin refers to Chloe in a very vague way as Rachel's "punk friend" and as though he only knows her second-hand through Rachel. Yet the Before the Storm prequel game puts Justin in the same Blackwell student photograph as Chloe (standing directly in front of her), furthermore implying they are in the same classes. He would have had frequent contact with Chloe as a classmate of just that handful of students. Also in Before the Storm, Chloe interacts with Justin at Blackwell and they seem very familiar with each other. Justin refers to her as both "Chlo-ee" and "Price", so he definitely knows both her first name and surname. They also are texting with each other in Before the Storm.

Stella

Just before Max enters the End of the World Party in Life is Strange: Season 1's Episode 4, she will have a conversation with Stella Hill. Stella will tell Max:

"Wait, some girl just asked about Nathan before you came in."

Max asks:

"What girl?"

Stella replies:

"She had blue hair, dressed like a punk... I've seen her putting up those Rachel Amber posters."

Considering that Before the Storm features Chloe in the same class photo as Stella, and the class photo even features the names of the students, it seems strange that a student she would know as "Chloe Price" or even just "Chloe" (maybe even just as a former classmate) is regarded so vaguely as "some girl". Chloe may have dyed her hair blue, but her facial features are the same. She would surely be recognized by Stella as a former student if they had been classmates.

Joyce and David's Relationship

In Before the Storm, David and Joyce are currently unmarried and had started dating not that long before the game's events that are set in May 2010 (Chloe is 16 years old at this time). David is also about to move in to the Price household, which is seen happening by Episode 3. But in Life is Strange, a chronological timestream montage shows that Joyce and David were already married before Chloe's 16th birthday. A picture of a married Joyce and David appears prior to an image of Chloe on her 16th birthday in this timestream montage (also see "Chloe's Blue Hair" for further information).

In an Episode 3 ending montage in Before the Storm, we see David getting down on his knee to propose to Joyce with flowers and a ring.

Chloe's Blue Hair

In Episode 3 of Before the Storm, Chloe is shown dyeing her hair blue for the very first time. However, we know that in Life is Strange, Chloe had been dyeing her hair with a blue streak on or before her 16th birthday (two months before Before the Storm takes place). To support this, an image is shown during the timestream montages (which appear when Max changes realities and the old timeline gets overwritten) indicating that Chloe had already been using blue dye in her hair by the time of her 16th birthday. It would have made more sense if we had seen Chloe with a blue streak in Before the Storm Episode 1.

To explain the chronology of the timestream, when Max saves William and the timeline changes into the alternative timeline, the following two images merge into one another:

The left picture from the original timeline shows Chloe already having a blue streak in her hair. The picture that replaces this one in the timestream is of Alternative Chloe receiving the car she would later have an accident with. The fact that it's her 16 birthday is confirmed in-game by Alternative Chloe herself.[3][note 1]

Before Episode 3's release, Life is Strange Community Manager, Toby Palm, made a public statement to address the concerns of the community regarding this inconsistency: "I don't believe that it was stated that that was the first time she had a blue streak. It's just the first time everyone got to see that streak. The streak is a massive part of Chloe and we made sure to make it fit in canonically."[4] However, dialogue between Chloe and multiple characters in the episode - and also in Chloe's diary - supports that this is the first time she is dyeing her hair blue.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Chloe's Hella

In Before the Storm, Chloe's iconic "hella" was established as a "Cali thing" she learned from Rachel Amber.

The actual background behind the word however, as intended by the creators of the original game, is explained in an interview with writer Christian Divine:

"I'm very familiar with the Pacific Northwest (...). I go up to Oregon, Portland, and Seattle all the time. I'm there all the time, and as a Northern California boy, the word hella is probably one of the most indigenous expressions you'll hear. It's been around forever and ever, and around 2013 I noticed that young people around me were saying it again. It was so funny, like wow, people are saying hella again. I haven't heard that in a while."

According to this statement, the word "hella" simply is a slang word that American writer Christian Divine was familiar with being used all over the Pacific Northwest -- particularly Seattle, Portland and Northern California -- and he wrote it into Chloe's dialogue because he thought it is something a teenager growing up in Oregon would say. This is backed up by the Wikipedia article about the word "hella", which explains that the word has been a common slang term, particularly in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.[11]

Moreover, Rachel mentions that the word is a "Cali(fornia) thing", when in fact, it is a Northern "California thing". While the word is quite often used in Northern California, it is rarely used in Southern California. Because Rachel is from Southern California, it makes little sense for Chloe, a native to Arcadia Bay (which is near Portland, Oregon according to the game's dialogue), to learn the word from her. However, while Rachel was definitely born in Southern California, we can't be sure she didn't move to a Northern part of California during her childhood.

Max Contacting Chloe

In Life is Strange: Season 1's Episode 1, "Chrysalis", Chloe angrily says to Max:

"You were happy to wait five years without a call, or even a text."

In her journal on Chloe's character page, Max talks about her lack of contact with Chloe, texts included.

In Before the Storm's Episode 1, "Awake," Chloe's phone clearly shows that Max has been texting her during her time in Seattle and had even initiated text messaging after admitting to being "bad about emailing". Max had texted Chloe on the following dates in November 2009: 2nd, 13th, and 28th.

  • A possible explanation for this could be that, in Season 1, Chloe exaggerates the passage of time in her anger, but if this is the case, it seems odd that Max comments in her journal that she didn't text Chloe and that she didn't call Chloe out on an exaggeration.

Principal Wells' Office

In Life is Strange, when Chloe breaks into Principal Wells' office with Max, she makes comments that would suggest she has never been inside his office and seen its contents before, or at least never seen its current contents:

"Man, I can see why the Principal locks this room up. Fancy faux art crap. He must want everybody to know he has money. But no taste."

"How can you trust somebody who has a fucking bronze bird in his office? I'm glad I was expelled..."

Yet in Before The Storm, we see Chloe walking into the same office that has the same wall art. Even the bronze bird is present and directly in front of her when she sits down in a chair. Deck Nine reused a lot of Dontnod's environmental assets to bring back certain environments from the first game, but in this case, when taking into consideration what Chloe says in the first game, an issue is caused by using the same assets for an earlier time; therefore, it would have made more sense if the contents of his office in Before the Storm had been different.

Getting Expelled in 2010

In Life is Strange, Max looks at a report card in Chloe's bedroom which shows that Chloe was still attending Blackwell Academy up until the end of her junior year, which was in May 2011. The month and year is clearly visible on Chloe's report card, and Max can look at it and comment:

"Damn, Chloe was kicked out of Blackwell two years ago. She used to be a great student... when she cared."

Before the Storm is set in May 2010, yet it gives a non-canon consequence of getting Chloe expelled at that time. There is also no mention by the Principal of a recent suspension for "spray-painting graffiti in the parking lot" as was clearly mentioned on her school file in his office in Life is Strange, nor any mention of the "police reports." Although the suspension is temporary and she is to be hopefully reinstated in the fall to start her junior year on condition of her good behavior, the suspension was not over graffiti. Being expelled in 2010 completely contradicts the circumstances of the original game, and the suspension (although being the least non-canon consequence) is over the wrong reasons. Even if Chloe was suspended, it is not unreasonable to believe that she would be expelled anyway over the extensive graffiti she left in the bathroom.

In Episode 3 of Before the Storm, James Amber tell Chloe in the hospital, "I'll see if I can pull some strings with Ray, maybe get you back into Blackwell." However, there is no mention of a reinstatement on her school record in the original game. A student record is an official and confidential document protected by one of the USA's strongest privacy protection laws[12] and cannot be released without prior permission from the student,[13] so it makes no sense that a reinstatement is not mentioned on Chloe's student record when the principal has been recording other punishments (even padding it out with police reports) and its privacy is protected, anyway.

Chloe's Dominant Hand

After 20 minutes of pre-release footage of Before the Storm's first episode was uploaded during E3 2017[14], concerns were raised by fans that Chloe was seen writing with her right hand which seemed strange for a character who was confirmed to be left-handed by a key member of the DONTNOD team and who used her left hand in a dominant way throughout the majority of the original game (i.e. smoking, drinking, shooting a gun, wrestling a weapon from somebody; keeping commonly used things [car keys, cigarettes, and money] together in the left pocket). In response to these concerns, Square Enix made a public statement to explain that the Deck Nine team "went so far as to individually count the amount of times Chloe used her right hand versus her left hand in Season 01 to figure out which hand was dominant" and that the results were "fairly split." However, there is a strong contextual evidence in Season 1 towards Chloe's left hand being her dominant hand.[note 2]

The public statement also explained that Deck Nine "had long discussions about which hand was her dominant, and the writing on the hand and graffiti feature animations were created when it was believed that right was her dominant" and that these actions cannot be changed as they are tied to tangible features and camera angles, and fixing those scenes would mean recutting many scenes.

An instance of Chloe writing on her bedroom's periodic table with her left hand was inserted into Episode 1 for its release, but Chloe performs another action with her non-dominant hand that she performs with her dominant left hand in the original game:

It could also be debated that the hand she uses her lighter in may be an inconsistency, as most people will naturally operate a lighter in their dominant hand:

Episode 2 shows that attempts have been made to rectify the issue by having Chloe perform more actions with her left hand, including the majority of the optional graffiti achievements. That being said, there are still instances of Chloe writing graffiti with her right hand. Chloe continues to use her lighter with her non-dominant hand.
In Episode 3, Chloe uses her lighter once more, this time in her dominant hand which matches how she used her lighter in the original game.

Pompidou's Origins

In the original game, we learn that Frank Bowers used to bet on dog fights before having a revelation and saving a bunch of dogs, keeping one for himself.[15] "Revelation" implies that this is something Frank came to by himself. Max even comments to Frank that's she's heard how he "rescued a bunch of fight dogs",[16] and Frank replies to her, saying, "It was just the right thing to do. I couldn't stand to see those poor animals treated like slaves. That's how I came to own Pompidou." He also says that Pompidou "had a bad trainer before. Real bad. But he's dead now. And I trained Pompidou how to be my friend."

However, Before the Storm implies that Pompidou was gifted to Frank by Damon Merrick in an email we see from Damon to Frank (Episode 2):

"Frank, you like the dog? I thought you would. That dog is special, man. Kali's buyer wanted him and I said fuck off, keep your $3k, I'm saving him for my buddy Frank. I mean it, everything you've done for me adds up way more than the $3k. Don't thank me, this is from me to you. Just let me breed him later."

Knowing Pompidou's Name

In Before the Storm, we see that Chloe comes to learn Frank's dog's name in Episode 2 when she is inside his RV. It's also an interesting and uncommon pet name (one that somebody is unlikely to forget in a hurry).[17] However, during the events of the original game, Frank tells Max that "The only way you know my dog's name is if you broke into my RV." This can't be the case if a prequel game is now showing us Chloe had learned the name in the past as it should be obvious to Frank that Chloe: (A) knows his dog's name, and; (B) seems to be spending a lot of time with Max. It is entirely likely that Chloe could have told Max the name of his dog, so the prequel game causes a bit of an issue here. Also, according to the original game, Chloe has been a customer of Frank's for a while, owing a lot of money, so she is likely to have remained in contact with him and his dog and not forgotten the dog's name easily (if we are to believe that she came to know the name before the events of the original game).

Rachel's Parents

In the original game, when Max breaks into the principal's office, she can read several Blackwell Student Information Sheets. The Initial letters of the names written within the Parent(s) field on Rachel's file do not appear to match the names James or Rose (or even Sera) whom we are introduced to as her parents in Before the Storm. One parental name on the student file appears to start with an M or R (although it seems to closely match the M characters on other student files) and the other name appears to start with an E.

Rachel's Home Address

As above, there are several Blackwell Student Information Sheets that can be viewed in the original game. There are two address fields on these student files: Address (top right corner), and Home Address (further below). It appears that the students with dorms have the same address which seems to imply a postal address for the Prescott Dormitory. Students who are living at home while attending Blackwell or who no longer have allocated dorms appear to have a different address listed in the top right-hand corner. For example: Chloe has an address starting with "44" listed in both fields (and we know she is living at 44 Cedar Avenue).

Rachel Amber has an address of "6 Sa(?)u/n(?)tle Road, Arcadia Bay, Oregon". There is a piece of paper covering the Home Address field, but we can make out a "gon" from the end of "Oregon", so we know it is within the state. As her address in the top-right corner is different to what appears to be the dormitory address on the other student files, we can assume that "6 Sa(?)u/n(?)tle Road" is implying her home address (just like on Chloe's file). However, in Before the Storm, her home address is 2420 Blackfriars Road, Arcadia Bay, Oregon.

Minor

Minor inconsistencies are defined here as anything that can be seen as: a simple mistake or oversight, reusing assets for decorative purposes, or things that are out of place or inconsistent in visual style (e.g. continuity errors such as a poster seen illustrated differently in a later occurrence but intended to represent the same thing). Anything that does not have a direct impact on the things listed under 'major inconsistencies' and can perhaps be explained logically.

Pirate's Hat and Eye Patch

Wrong hat

The hat and eye-patch as seen in Before the Storm (red) and in the Chloe & Max picture (green)

The pirate hat and eye patch both seen in Chloe's room (on top of her mirror) don't match the shapes of the ones shown in the picture from Life is Strange: Season 1 with Chloe and Max Caulfield disguised as pirates. This is a pretty obvious inconsistency since the same picture is also seen in Before the Storm (in the Prices' living room).

  • A possible explanation for this could be artistic license (i.e. a slight difference in the visual style in Before the Storm).

Price Family Photo

In Episode 1 of Before the Storm, Chloe has the option to look at an old photo frame discoloration on the dining room wall of her house, and says, "Family pic used to hang here. I-- Wow... I can't actually remember which one." In Life is Strange: Season 1, when Chloe is 14, there is a family photo hanging in this general area that has square dimensions, but in Before the Storm, the interactive text displays the discoloration as "discolored square" when it is clearly rectangular. For visual consistency, it should be called "discolored rectangle", or to be consistent with the original game, the discoloration should be square.

When Chloe goes into the garage on David's request, she comments on the framed picture (showing Joyce and William having fun with food) being the picture Joyce removed from the living room. While it clearly wasn't this one as shown above. However, it makes the discolored rectangle more logical.

Chloe's Phone

In Before the Storm's Episode 1, "Awake," we see Chloe using the same phone that she had decorated with Max two or more years ago (as seen in Life is Strange: Season 1's Episode 3 if Max had opened one of Chloe's bedroom drawers). However, there are differences with the decorations on these phones, as well as the general wear and tear and scratches.[note 3] The phone in Before the Storm has more scratches and wear in a place where it is absent on the phone as we see it in 2013; it also has the addition of a big camera lens on the front with an overlapping sticker. Other stickers on the phone seen in "Chaos Theory" are missing in Before the Storm, such as the sticker of the "chicken" on a red circular background that we also see Max wearing on a couple of her T-shirts in Season 1. The sticker that looks like two Furbies or owls is a misinterpretation of the actual sticker in Season 1.

Captain Chloe Bluebeard 

When looking at the towel in the bathroom of her house, Chloe says:

"The preferred towel of Captain Bluebeard, Scourge of Arrrr-cadia Bay."

In the dining room downstairs, Chloe can read the back of a photo of her and Max dressed as pirates. It reads:

Captain Chloe Bluebeard, Scourge of Arcadia, and her first mate Long Max Silver.

Chloe also signs her journal with "Captain Chloe Bluebeard, Scourge of Arcadia Bay". This nickname is very likely to have been something Max would have known too, given their love of playing pirates together. However, in Life is Strange: Season 1, after Max found the five bottles in the junkyard, she said: "Now I can deliver this bottle booty to Captain Chloe". Given the fact that she used the pirate lingo, she would have likely said "Captain Chloe Bluebeard" instead of just "Captain Chloe" if this was the pirate nickname Chloe went by.

Time-Displaced Magazines 

The same magazine covers from Life is Strange: Season 1 (set in 2013) can be seen in Before the Storm (set in 2010). While this is because they are reused DONTNOD assets, some new posters and assets have already been created for use in Episode 1 "Awake," so it seems strange for the 2013 magazine covers to have been used.

Dark Room Phone Reception

The last scene of Before the Storm's Episode 3 shows Chloe trying to call Rachel when the latter is inside the Dark Room. Chloe tried to call Rachel 18 times, meaning there is a good signal inside the Dark Room. However, six months later in Life is Strange, it is shown that Max has absolutely no signal reception at all on her phone inside the Dark Room, forcing her to go outside to call Warren (and to receive all the texts she missed while she was kept underground) - very likely due to the thickness of the reinforced bunker's walls and its underground location.

Possible explanations are that Jefferson installed signal jammers inside the Dark Room after Rachel's death, the storm was interfering with the signal or Rachel was using a different cell provider.[18]

Rachel's Missing Earring

Rachel wears two feather earrings (one in each ear) in the black and white photo booth photographs that can be looked at in both the original game and Before the Storm. However, during the ending montage of Episode 3 "Hell Is Empty," Rachel's character model only wears one. This creates an inconsistency within the game itself and also with the original game.

Bonus Episode - "Farewell"

A number of "inconsistencies” have been discussed in the community regarding the “Farewell” bonus episode, but it was felt that some narrative context had perhaps been lost due to the shortness of the episode and the focus being on Max and Chloe (understandably). It was also felt that information from the writing stage may help to shed some light on some of these things, especially as certain “inconsistencies” seemed to have logical explanations or were perhaps being misinterpreted. With this in mind, one of the writers at Deck Nine was approached to see if they could assist.

The following answers provided by writer Felice Kuan have received input from Lead Writer Zak Garriss, Square Enix, and the other writers, and all of these answers can be shared widely. (However, please be mindful not to misquote.)

Incorrect Ages

Episode text/subtitles, assets, and audio suggest Max is 8 years old on 6/27/2003 (27th June, 2003) which is the date on the audio cassette tape Chloe finds in her bedroom and also on the letter Max wrote that was addressed to Chloe's future self. Max is 7 years old at that time and wouldn’t have been 8 until September that year.

  • Chloe: This tape is from five years ago. It's a message from our past selves to our current selves.
  • Max: So we were eight years old? That's crazy! I can't even imagine what we sounded like.

A possible explanation is that Max could be forgiven for estimating their ages to be the same as she would have been in a given year, because there are two instances in Life is Strange: Season 1 where she generalises Chloe into the same age bracket as herself when she thinks back on the past, even though the two girls are never the same age at the same time due to their birth dates/years. Max may even be quickly looking at the year 2003 and subtracting 5 years from her age in the current year (2008), which would cause her to say 8 without realising that she wouldn’t be that age until the September.

  • Chloe: I think I know what 8-year-old you meant by the manuscripts of Captain Bluebeard.
  • Chloe: Because we were eight years old and the attic was the scariest place we could think of.

Two examples where Chloe is now generalising them into the same age when this would be impossible. But perhaps it’s easier to say one age when you are very closely aged to somebody. It’s probably "clunkier" to say, "Because I was X and you were X and..." Neither of them are perhaps doing the mental math or forgetting they are never the same age at the same time. But this explanation may come across as reaching a bit.

  • Max: I can't believe we were eight and nine when we planned this.

Only Chloe’s age is accurate. It seems strange that Max would lump them both into the same age earlier in the episode, and then get Chloe’s age correct here but not her own.

Deck Nine's response:

"You're of course correct about Max and Chloe's actual ages on the pirate tape (7 and 9), but it's on purpose that Max always says 8. The date of Farewell is Sept 28, so Max has recently turned 13 and therefore strongly associates herself as being 13 in the present day. When she sees 2003 on the pirate tape, she subtracts five years to get age 8. We wanted the moment to be quick, excited, and naturalistic (they want to get to listening to the tape asap), so she doesn't bother with more than that; this is the same reason that both Max and Chloe just call themselves both 8, with the exception of the line in the backyard, which was a short enough line that it didn't sound pedantic to specify two different ages. I realize that I'm giving the explanation that you describe as a reach, but for us it was actually much more naturalistic and believable to do the quick subtraction and also lump the ages together."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Joyce Being a Smoker

In Farewell, it appears Joyce is trying to give up smoking by chewing nicotine gum (as seen in her bedroom), and we see sneaky cigarette butts in a corner of the backyard. But there is a line in the original game where Max says "Joyce used to hate smokers in the diner", and a contradiction where Chloe makes a comment in Before the Storm that her mom was "never a smoker."

Deck Nine's response:

"The intent was that Joyce stress-smokes on the sly (so Chloe never saw it) and has been trying to quit when Farewell occurs. Max was supposed to discover both the gum and cigarette butts as a secret, but I believe the assets were placed more in the open than originally intended (likely for level / gameplay considerations)."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Is Joyce Home?

When attempting to blow up the dolls, Max asks, “But isn't your mom gonna freak?” Chloe responds that her mom is “probably cooking with the radio” on and “won’t hear a thing” then a short while later after they stop trying to tidy the room, Choe says they are “under-unsupervised.” It’s never made clear whether Joyce or William are even at home at this point, but Chloe’s comments suggest that at least Joyce is home. But isn’t she working at the diner? If so, wouldn’t Chloe’s comment to Max be strange if they both already know she’s at work?

Two scenarios were shown to Deck Nine to see if either of these reflected the intended order of events in the game. The one Deck Nine confirmed as accurately reflecting their narrative was "Scenario 2" (referred to in their response below). This was "Scenario 2": Baking scene in LiS takes place before the Farewell episode begins, and William has already left to pick up Joyce. After eating the pancakes, the girls go upstairs to tidy Chloe’s room (Farewell episode starts). Joyce isn’t home from the diner yet with William, but they both think she’s home by now. Chloe would have discovered her parents aren’t home yet when she heads downstairs to get the telescope from the garage, but as William had said to Joyce over the phone that it would give him “an excuse to get a mocha”, it’s probably not that worrisome to Chloe that they aren’t back yet at this point, so she carries on playing pirates with Max in the backyard. When they come back in from outside with the time capsule, it’s almost 6:30 on the dining room clock and this is the point where Chloe looks at the time and says, “I thought they'd be home by now.” Now, bearing in mind that the clock was around 4:30 when William got Joyce’s phone call in LiS and looked for his car keys, this would mean that the entire episode’s events would have had to take place from start to finish over two hours or just under, and that the time on the dining room clock would have to be wrong (or both Chloe and Joyce’s bedroom clocks would have to be wrong) if they had been baking in the morning before the episode starts. But it’s a bit strange that somebody wouldn’t have noticed the clock being wrong.

Deck Nine's response regarding the clock issue:

"I'm answering this one out of order because it will help clarify some of the other answers below. The clock in LiS definitely says 4:30, but we took as canon that it's breakfast and it's supposed to be late morning. We met several times about how to resolve this issue, and ultimately decided on the explanation that the downstairs clock is simply set wrong. The correct amount of time (2 hours) elapses on the downstairs clock, but for the accurate time, only the upstairs clocks are reliable. The timeline for Farewell is as follows: The scene from LiS occurs and William departs. The girls go upstairs to clean/play dress-up/mess around, during which time William is killed. While the girls are doing all the time capsule stuff, the police are on the scene, contacting Joyce, etc."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Deck Nine's response regarding the line about Joyce cooking downstairs:

"The writers discussed this line a few times, leading to some really interesting discussions about our various upbringings. Here was our reasoning: William goes to pick up Joyce, which is supposed to be a short trip, and Chloe and Max head upstairs. By the time Chloe and Max are blowing up the dolls, Chloe assumes her parents have already been back awhile and are hanging out downstairs. Later on, she's mildly surprised to discover they aren't home yet, but their household is very relaxed about comings and goings, so she's (sadly) not worried at all. I believe this matches your Scenario 2. The purpose of the line is to reinforce the idea that Chloe assumes that everything is completely normal."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Different Diner Uniform

A work uniform is laid out on Joyce's bed on its hangar, but it is a completely different colour to the Two Whales uniform that we have seen Joyce and one other waitress wearing in the original game, and the unform in the original game is what Joyce shows up to the house in at the end of "Farewell". The different colour and different name tag style seemed strange. Max looks at the uniform and says, "The Two Whales makes the best Belgian Waffles. No other diner could even come close," and she also comments on the photo tucked in the apron and says, “It's so sweet that Chloe's mom takes this photo with her to work.”

Deck Nine's response:

"As far as I know, it's simply her second uniform of a different color."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Different Clothing

A lot of fans have been asking why Chloe and Max are in different clothes in Farewell as they are in to Life is Strange: Season 1 on this same day in 2008. It can be noticed that Chloe's grey "Oregon" sweater and Max's "No F*cks Given" blue T-shirt from the original game can be seen in the pile of "old clothes" on the bedroom floor when they're tidying Chloe's bedroom at the beginning of the episode. Max mentions they had been playing "dress up" for an hour earlier instead of sorting through that pile of old clothes. Farewell seems to be implying that the sweater Chloe wore in LiS is an old sweater that she perhaps wouldn’t mind getting rid of. Maybe the T-shirt Max wore during the baking scene in Life is Strange was one of Chloe’s old T-shirts.

Deck Nine's response:

"I saw this discussed a lot on Reddit and was really happy/impressed to see how many people noticed the original clothing in the pile. The clothing switch was critical to not give away the date of Farewell right at the start. We needed players to be able to enjoy their time with Chloe and not think about William's death until the last possible moment. We considered various ways to cover or hide their clothes, but ultimately decided to have them change clothes instead, with dress up as the explanation."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

House Side Not painted Blue

In the original game, William had painted the house with a pale blue wash on the side that is visible from the backyard, and Max can comment about this incomplete paint job when examining the unpainted wall that faces onto the backyard in the original game ("William never finished painting that wall…"), but the side of the house isn’t painted blue in Farewell, which is definitely an inconsistency.

Deck Nine's response:

"Wow, good catch!! We actually checked with Dontnod about the back of the house, to confirm that it was not supposed to be painted yet, but the side of the house slipped through!! The house was, of course, supposed to match the state of the house on that same day in LiS."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Max Telling Chloe About Leaving

Chloe says to Max in the original game (after Max asks how she knows Rachel disappeared), "Unlike you, she would have told me, okay?" So as Max has the chance in Farewell to tell Chloe about Seattle before she actually leaves, then wouldn’t this ending be contradicting canon? A possible explanation could be that Max had just strolled back into Chloe’s life out of the blue after already being in Arcadia Bay for a whole month without contacting Chloe. Chloe was angry, exaggerating, and being guilt-trippy with Max - speaking before she thinks. We even see this on a few occasions in the original game, such as that moment in Chloe’s truck when she’s incredibly upset about Rachel’s liaisons with Frank and accuses Max of pretending to care about her like all the rest, even when she knows this is not true: "I can't trust anybody again. Everybody pretends to care until they don't. Even you!" Even if Max tells Chloe in person in Farewell, Chloe is pretty angry at this time and has had 5 years to be upset and angry at Max, so things may get lost in translation with her angry outbursts. She may also have been wishing Max had told her a lot sooner.

Deck Nine's response:

"Yes, it's meant to work both ways. Even if Max does tell Chloe, she's waited until the last possible minute and Chloe (knowing already from her parents) has been sitting on that knowledge and wondering if Max was going to ever have that talk. While Farewell-Chloe is very generous about Max's hesitation, LiS-Chloe looks for things to dig at Max about and can turn this into a sore point."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

First Pirate Fort?

If you choose not to tell Chloe the truth, face to face, about moving to Seattle, you get some dialogue at the end about Chloe's plans to take Max to the beach to build a pirate fort so they can hide away from everything (a nice nod to something Max says to Chloe in Episode 2 of the original game: "Can we build another pirate fort and keep the world out?") So, from this, we already know they had built a pirate fort together when they were kids before William would have died. We also know that they had built a tree fort that Chloe had marked with a skull and crossbones on the orientation map next to the lighthouse, so the tree fort would more than likely have been a pirate fort. This was located near to the beach.

However, the dialogue at the end of Farewell may come across like it’s their very first time building a pirate fort, especially with these lines from Chloe: "I'm so excited! We're gonna have the coolest pirate hangout ever, just like we always talked about."... and... "Exactly. Our own little place." (They already had their own little place with the one they had built before.) Because William dies before Chloe can take Max to the beach to build this, we know this pirate fort does not get built, but we also know from the original game that they did build one.

Deck Nine's response:

"The beach hideout was intended to be a separate thing from the tree fort, an extension of their fondness for hideouts, but serving a different function for the girls. A key difference is that it's more adult and therefore more pirate-like--it's slightly forbidden, in a public place but without people noticing, and potentially used for illicit things like spying on people, going at night, or drinking rum. Furthermore, it's been a long time since the tree fort, as Farewell has them returning to their "pirate phase" after several years."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Chloe Hating Math

In the original game, Max comments to Chloe, "What do you know about Chaos Theory, Miss "I Hate Math"?", and Chloe responds with, "Five years ago, asswipe. Some people change...and your situation is the perfect storm for quantum physics." But her report card in Farewell from the last school term (her last year in Junior High before starting at Blackwell) shows her with an A in Pre-Algebra, which falls under Mathematics.

A possible explanation for this would be that there can be subjects at school that are hated or boring, but a student can still manage to achieve good grades in those subjects if the teacher is particularly easy to please (i.e. lower marking standards!), or said student knew exactly what to do to tick all the right boxes, even if the homework was dull and boring.

Also, it can be noticed that Pre-Algebra is the only subject on Chloe's report card that has a comment in one of the columns. Perhaps this could be something the teacher has written like, "A marked improvement. Well done."

Chloe could have worked extra hard to get that A so she can secure her scholarship to Blackwell in that September. It’s often the case that a student will try harder to get the grade requirements for certain places.

Deck Nine's response:

"Pre-Algebra is indeed math. This is a good catch, one we didn't explicit take into account with her report card. I agree with you that it's entirely possible to hate a subject and still do well, so I'm glad that can still make sense. It was really important to us to show Chloe's academic strength, first to be consistent with admission to Blackwell and her continued success in the alternate timeline, and secondly, because we love that aspect of Chloe."
— Felice Kuan, Writer, Deck Nine Games.

Fixed

This section lists the issues that were previously highlighted as canon inconsistencies, but have been fixed throughout the release of Before the Storm.

William's Death Date

According to Life is Strange, William Price died in 2008 when Max was aged 13, which is evidenced by the in-game dialogue, "I'm 18 years old inside my 13 year old self... How?", and the journal entry: "Then I found myself actually back in the photo... to when I was 13 years old. I was back in Chloe's kitchen in the year 2008." The time period of 09/21/2008 to 12/31/2008 is the only period that William could have died, because this is the only time period in 2008 where Max would be 13 years old. However, with the release of Episode 1 of Before the Storm, it seemed to be implied that William died on 6/21/2008 at 11:57 a.m. from the timestamps on Joyce's texts during Chloe's dream. This day was a Saturday, explaining why Max and Chloe stayed at home that day, but as Max is not 13 years old at this time, this date in Before the Storm is inconsistent with the original game.

  • This "major" canon inconsistency was patched with the release of Episode 2, "Brave New World". The timestamps on Joyce's texts have now been altered to put the date of William's death on a Sunday and an exact week after Max turned 13. Max's texts have also been altered to match.

Official Statements

About Canon

"The Deck Nine team care about canon immensely. We have a wealth of unpublished documentation from the folks over at DONTNOD that contains the full biographical data, background and narrative arcs of characters."
— Toby Palm, Life is Strange Community Manager, Square Enix[19]
"Where possible we work with the ambiguity of the game, but we will always take pains to ensure our game stays within the canon of season 01."
— Toby Palm, Life is Strange Community Manager, Square Enix[20]
"So as huge fans, we really strive every day—honestly—every day to remain true to the original Life Is Strange. It means a lot to us to do that."
— Chris Floyd (Game Co-Director), Deck Nine Games.[21]
"Square cares so much about the franchise, about every character in the universe, but they wanted us to take the reins and run with the story. And it's a constant dialogue with them, around what we want to do with Frank, what we want to do with David, what we want to do with Joyce. And that's one of the best things about the partnership with Square, for us as developers, is how much they care and how precious they are with Life is Strange. But at the end of the day they really encouraged us to find the version of Before the Storm that we were most passionate about as developers."
— Zak Garriss (Lead Writer), Deck Nine Games.[22]
"To that end, we deliberately set the events of this game years before the original Life is Strange. We found plenty of room to create some new details, moments, and mysteries that will surprise even the most dedicated fans while remaining true to the canon of the original game."
— David Hein (Producer), Deck Nine Games.[23]
"Everything we're doing in LiS is being vetted, questioned and poked by everyone involved in the project - both at Deck Nine and Square Enix, including myself :) Anything that may be slightly contentious is thoroughly discussed in depth (and yes, we had long sit down meetings about things like Chloe's Hair)"
— Toby Palm, Life is Strange Community Manager, Square Enix[24]

Character Appearances

In late October 2017, a fan messaged one of the writers of Before the Storm, Felice Kuan, to raise the following issue: "It bothers me to hear some people say that there are, as they say[,] "huge mistakes" when it comes to the overall "canon" of Before the Storm as the Prequel to Life is Strange. They used an example like this: Warren is 13 in [Before the Storm] and in Chloe[']s class. Which means he would've graduated school even before Max joined Blackwell. So what they say is Warren can't be in Before the Storm, like many other characters." Felice gave a long response before stating in summary:

"Hey! So firstly, during the time of BtS, Blackwell is transitioning to a 5-year program (you can hear about it on the radio in Frank's RV, and it's also implied by the [conversation] with Mrs. Grant in Ep 1 and on posters around campus). Even with this, though, some characters need special circumstances to explain why they're still around in LiS, such as skipping a grade to taking a year off to travel or get experience for college applications. To us, as long as there was a possible explanation, it was important to have these characters in the story. One reason is that BtS might be the only chance to ever see these characters from the LiS again, so we knew it would mean a lot to players to get to see evidence of Warren, Alyssa, Stella, etc. Another even bigger reason is that we wanted to show what Vicotira and Nathan were like they were younger, since a core of LiS is the complexity of even the worst-seeming people. So that's why we've included characters whose high school career would have to be a little untraditional for it to make sense. In general, though, we've tried not to explicitly fill in every detail, in order to leave space for fans to theorize about what happens in between BtS and LiS.

tl;dr - I agree with you. There's truth to their questions, but we think there are many plausible explanations given the 3 year gap."[25]

Ambiguities

This section is for liberties we believe may have been taken with the writing of Life is Strange, such as using ambiguities to retcon backstories that were perhaps not intended by the original creators.

How Chloe Met Nathan

In Life is Strange Episode 1’s Cliff chapter, Max will ask Chloe about Nathan. Chloe will tell Max:

"I met him in some shithole bar that didn't card me. He was too rich for the place and too wasted. And he kept flashing bills..."

If a backstory of Chloe and Nathan attending high school together (before she got expelled) already existed in DONTNOD’s files, it is strange that Chloe doesn't mention to Max that she knows of him from school. The chances of Chloe knowing who Nathan is are high anyway (as everybody in town seems to know of the Prescotts), but the way she describes her predicament to Max sounds like she is describing her first impressions from the first time she ever met or had one-to-one dealings with him (i.e. no previous encounters before that).

Meeting Nathan face-to-face for the first time (in a bar) could be exactly what DONTNOD intended Chloe’s comment to mean, but it is unknown what is contained in DONTNOD's unpublished background documentation that was passed on to Deck Nine Games.

When asked for an explanation on this, the Square Enix Life is Strange Community Manager, Toby Palm, commented that: "It’s implied that the mill that is shown in Before the Storm isn’t the first time Chloe visits an underground party or bar. Chloe would have properly "met" Nathan previously much like she in BtS meets Rachel for the first time (even though they know of each other in school)."

Definitions

The term canon means what is officially accepted as established fact(s)/story that takes place in a fictional universe. It is also used to refer to things that are created and/or acknowledged by the original creators. The term can also be used to distinguish originally created material from later material created by others.

The term retcon is short for retroactive continuity and refers to new information that is introduced later that changes or adds a different interpretation to what was implied before.

Notes

  1. The official Life is Strange Twitter and Facebook accounts have previously used the timestream image of original-timeline-Chloe's 16th birthday on their social media to celebrate the date of Chloe's birthday in 2016.
  2. A full playthrough of Season 1 was conducted after Square Enix announced that Deck Nine's results were "fairly split". Screenshots of hand usage were taken, and each situation was taken into context, dismissing common sense situational actions such as picking something up with the right hand when it is situated to the right. The conclusion is that the hand usage being "fairly split" is incorrect.
  3. There is an additional texture for cracked screen glass in the Before the Storm game files that the artist would have applied to the phone texture.

References

  1. Confirmed by Chris Floyd (Co-Game Director) at the 27:17 mark during the "Before the Storm - E3 2017 Q&A Stream".
  2. Public post made on the Life is Strange (GAME) group on Facebook (7th July 2017): Statement
  3. When Max and Chloe are at the beach and talk about the accident, with the "Blame William" dialogue path, Max will say, "You don't really blame William, do you...?" . . . Chloe: "For getting me the hybrid I wanted for my sweet sixteen?"
  4. Reddit post by /u/thearcan
  5. Joyce: "Your hair! When did you -- was this for the play? I heard you performed last night?" - Chloe: "Nope. I mean, I did, but this... This is something different."
  6. Rachel: "Holy shit, your hair! It's so..." - Chloe: "Badass?" / "Weird? I know. It was a spur of the moment thing." - Rachel: "I was gonna say hot. But yeah, badass too." / "I was gonna say badass."
  7. Eliot: "Hey. Wait, your hair! It's different." - Chloe: "Yeah, yeah." - Eliot: "I like it. It's, uh.. it's nice."
  8. Steph: "Love the hair, by the way." - Chloe: "Thanks. Just trying it out." - Steph: "Sometimes you've just gotta do something new."
  9. Chloe's inner monologue when looking at the blue hair dye in the bathroom with her old pirate assessories: "Captain Bluebeard's hair dye. Max was going to make me a pirate, but we never got around to it..."
  10. Chloe's diary entry: "Funny how much simpler life seems when you keep that in mind. Like my hair. I wanted to see what it would look like blue, so I did. It looks awesome. One day, I'll make it all blue. And if I don't like it then, so what? It'll all fall out eventually. See how that works?"
  11. Hella Wikipedia page
  12. Protecting the Privacy of Student Education Records.
  13. Privacy of Education Records by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
  14. "Life Is Strange: Before the Storm First Gameplay [E3 2017]" YouTube link
  15. Officer Berry: "Frank used to bet on dog fights. To his credit, he had a revelation and he saved a bunch of the dogs. Kept one for himself." (Episode 3 - Two Whales Diner.)
  16. Max: "I heard you even rescued a bunch of fight dogs. That's amazing!" (Episode 4 - Beach.)
  17. Frank: "Aw, shit. Pompidou! Get up here! Ya little killer..." - Chloe: "Pompidou?" ... "Pompidou, huh? That's one badass name for a dog." (Before the Storm - Episode 2.)
  18. Reddit discussion
  19. Official public statement by Square Enix’s Life is Strange Community Manager, Toby Palm.
  20. Last paragraph of the public post made on the Life is Strange (GAME) group on Facebook (7th July 2017).
  21. E3 2017 Q&A Stream on Twitch (Timestamp: 8:25).
  22. Published interview by Eurogamer.net.
  23. Interview by WCCFTech
  24. Official public statement by Square Enix’s Life is Strange Community Manager, Toby Palm.
  25. Reddit post by /u/IgelRM