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Life is Strange
LiS logo
Developer(s) Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Director(s) Michel Koch
Raoul Barbet
Writer(s) Jean-Luc Cano
Michel Koch
Raoul Barbet
Christian Divine
Artist(s) Michel Koch
Kenny Laurent
Amaury Balandier
Composer(s) Jonathan Morali
Platform(s) PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC/Steam, Mac/App
Release date(s) Episode 1: 30 Jan, 2015
Episode 2: 24 Mar, 2015
Episode 3: 19 May, 2015
Episode 4: 28 Jul, 2015
Episode 5: 20 Oct, 2015
Genre(s) Interactive Storytelling

Drama, High School, Adventure, Supernatural, Coming-Of-Age

Language(s) Audio: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese
Rating(s) PG16, ESRB-M, USK12, ACB-M


Life is Strange is a five-part episodic graphic action drama adventure game that sets out to revolutionise story-based choice and consequence games. It was developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and published by Square Enix.[1] The developers describe the game as a nostalgic coming-of-age story that combines the present with the past, creating key moments for each episode. Episode 1, "Chrysalis", was released on January 29, 2015. The final episode, "Polarized", was released on October 20, 2015. The PEGI age rating is 16.

The game's protagonist is Maxine Caulfield, better known as Max, a shy 18-year-old photography senior who discovers she can rewind time to change the course of events. Back in her hometown Arcadia Bay, a picturesque seaside town in Oregon, Max is reunited with her old friend, Chloe Price, and they start to uncover the truth behind fellow student Rachel Amber's mysterious disappearance, and soon they find themselves exposed to the darker side of Arcadia Bay.

Max gets disturbing premonitions of the future, and must take on the responsibility to prevent a devasting destiny for her town. As she struggles to understand the implications of her power, she must quickly learn which consequences her interfering in time and space holds.

The characters have to deal with everyday life issues created by their own families and school mates, and as you can expect in a typical public high school environment, there is a lot of high school drama, and sometimes teens make bad decisions. Players will be given the opportunity to make choices while playing Max, and each choice will have consequences in gameplay. Her ability to 'rewind time' will impact the game's narrative. There are multiple endings depending on the choices the player makes for Max. The game has a licensed indie soundtrack and hand-painted visuals.

The game approaches real world issues and situations such as depression, bullying, suicide, mental illness and loss of loved ones.


Key Features:

  • Life is Strange is an interactive episodic, modern adventure game with a twist.
  • Player choice and consequence play a key role and your actions will determine how the story unfolds around you.
  • The rewind feature allows you to go back in time by a few moments at any point: solve puzzles, change reactions, or simply experience new choices.
  • Discover how it is to return to a world that lies 5 years behind you, and rekindle with your childhood friend.
  • Explore the picturesque seaside town Arcadia Bay and the stories behind its people as you investigate the mysterious disappearance of Rachel Amber.
  • Discover the world of art and photography at the prestigious Blackwell Academy.
  • True to the lives of most modern teenagers, you get insights into Max's cellphone and her diary, which records your exploration in Arcadia Bay and reveals extra snippets of Max's inner thoughts depending on your choices.
  • Distinct soundtrack, with modern indie-folk influences.
  • Striking art style, with hand-drawn textures to give it a highly unique look.

Story

Before the Storm

Main article: Life is Strange: Before the Storm

On June 11, a prequel was announced.

Season 1

Episode 1: Chrysalis

On October 7th, Max finds out she can rewind time when she uses it to save her old friend Chloe from being shot by Nathan Prescott. They later reunite and Max senses that a storm is coming after getting premonitions.

Episode 2: Out Of Time

On October 8th, Max tries to find out more about her ability to rewind time, and finds out the reason for Kate's sudden change in mood and behavior. Chloe tests out Max's rewind power intensively and Max starts to discover the limits on her ability. Max will eventually discover the ability to stop time itself to save her friend Kate from a suicide attempt.

Episode 3: Chaos Theory

On October 8th, Max and Chloe’s investigation into Rachel Amber’s disappearance lead them to break into Blackwell Academy after dark, searching for answers. It’s here and in the following day, they discover that Rachel kept many secrets and was not the person Chloe thought she knew. Max meanwhile discovers she has another power that brings with it some devastating consequences.

Episode 4: Dark Room

In an alternate timeline created by Max's actions to save Chloe's father, William, Max learns the consequences of her abilities and changes things back to the way they were. In the original timeline, Max and Chloe work together to piece evidence that Nathan Prescott drugged Kate and is going to strike again at the Vortex Club Party. They discover the Dark Room and Rachel Amber's whereabouts, and get outmaneuvered by the real culprit.

Episode 5: Polarized

Trapped in the Dark Room, Max must escape and rewind to save Chloe from the gunshot by Mr. Jefferson. Finding out Nathan was killed, Max eventually finds a way to reunite with Chloe. Max is confronted with the devastating consequences of her actions over the week and her biggest fears, and in the end, is left with two choices: Sacrificing Chloe, saving Arcadia Bay and her friends, but Chloe ends up dead; or sacrificing Arcadia Bay, presumably killing all her friends, but leaving Chloe alive. The two leave the town's ruins in Chloe's truck shortly after the town's destruction.

Season 2

Main article: Season 2

A second season was announced on May 18, 2017.

System Requirements

Minimum: Recommended:
OS: Windows Vista OS: Windows 7
Processor: Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent Processor: Dual Core 3.0GHz or equivalent
Memory: 2 GB RAM Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI or NVidia card w/ 512 MB RAM (not recommended for Intel HD Graphics cards) Graphics: ATI or NVidia card w/ 1024 MB RAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or ATI HD 4890)
DirectX: Version 9.0 DirectX: Version 9.0
Hard Drive: 3 GB available space Hard Drive: 3 GB available space

Reception

During its release, Life is Strange received generally favourable reviews commending the character development, rewind game mechanic and use of taboo subjects. Reviewers disliked the slang, lack of lip-syncing and tonal inconsistencies. It had sold one million digital copies by the end of July 2015.

  • It is rated as "overwhelmingly positive" (with 96% of over 27,000 user reviews positive) on Steam. On Metacritic it currently has a Metascore of 82/100 and a User Score of 8.8.
  • 5/5 “After 'Episode Two: Out of Time,' Dontnod's 'Life is Strange' is the best episodic adventure game out there. With more character depth, and more gameplay, along with a technically superior game engine, there's really no debate." - BlogCritics 
  • 90% "Dontnod have clearly put a lot of effort into the little details and it’s worth your time paying attention to their work." – Siliconera 
  • 5/5 Stars "Magnificently charming atmosphere" - The Examiner 

Awards and Nominations

Date Ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
2015 Develop Industry Excellence Awards New Games IP – PC/console Life is Strange Won
Use of Narrative Won
Golden Joystick Award Best Original Game Runner-Up
Best Storytelling Runner-Up
Best Audio Runner-Up
Best Gaming Moment Saving Kate Third
Performance of the Year Ashly Burch as Chloe Won
Game of the Year Life is Strange Third
Global Game Awards Best Adventure Life is Strange – Episode 1 Won
Best Story Second
Best Original Game Won
Game of the Year Second
The Game Awards Best Narrative Life is Strange Nominated
Best Performance Ashly Burch as Chloe Nominated
Games For Change Life is Strange Won
PlayStation Official Magazine Best Episodic Adventure Won
Best Moment Episode 2 conclusion Won
Vice Canada's Top 20 video games of 2015 Best Game Life is Strange Fourth
Vulture's Top 10 video games of 2015 Won
Red Bull Games' Top 10 video games of 2015 Second
Polygon's Games of the Year 2015 Game of the Year Seventh
Destructoid's Best of 2015 Best Xbox One Game Nominated
Eurogamer's Top 10 video games of 2015 Best Game Tenth
2016 IGN's Best of 2015 Game of the Year Pending
PlayStation Blog's Best of 2015 Best PS4 Game Nominated
Best Story Runner-Up
Best Soundtrack Runner-Up
Best Digital-Only Release Runner-Up
New Statesman'​s Top 10 video games of 2015 Best Game Won
Hardcore Gamer'​s Best of 2015 Best Adventure Game Runner-Up
Emotional Games Awards 2016[2] Best Emotional Game Nominated
Best Emotional Game Design Nominated
Best Emotional Music Game Nominated
DICE Awards[3] Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction Nominated
Adventure Game of the Year Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Character Max Caulfield Nominated

Trivia

  • In the development diary, "A New Beginning", DONTNOD Entertainment's developers state that every publisher except Square Enix asked them to make their protagonists male instead of female.
  • Though it was originally named What If?, DONTNOD Entertainment considered over a hundred different names for Life is StrangeWhat If was not used because a Daniel Radcliffe film of the same name had been released in 2013 and 2014 earlier.
  • The developers conducted research on the setting by travelling to the Pacific Northwest 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.
  • Artistic director Michel Koch revealed in an interview that they wrote episode one with the intention of introducing the typical high school stereotypes, before building upon them and subverting them with every episode. "When we started to create every character, we really wanted to use known archetypes that people see in teenage drama and in movies."[4] According to Koch, the developers wanted the game to have "gray characters," where no one is completely good or bad. Dontnod wants to bring that complexity of people's personalities to Life is Strange.[5]
  • According to coding files in Life is Strange, the series may have been originally planned for eight episodes instead of five.[6]
  • While the exact number of episodes initially planned has never been officially confirmed, Dontnod's CEO, Oskar Guilbert, confirmed in an interview (recorded before the first episode came out) that more than 5 five episodes were planned "we want to be able to tell the players when episodes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc will be available" [7]
  • Jean-Maxime Maurice, co-founder of Dontnod, said in an interview that they were very close to choose Seattle as main location for the game but they didn't because the city was too big for an intimist story. He also said they considered making the game take place in a Scandinavian country because the general atmosphere and colors would have been similar[8]
  • The budget for Life is Strange was around €4 million. As a matter of comparison, the budget of Dontnod's previous game, Remember Me, was close to €20 million.[9]
  • Actress Ashly Burch, auditioned for the roles of both Max Caulfield and Chloe Price . DONTNOD blind-cast Burch as Chloe after hearing her take for the character.
  • At the end of the credits on episode four, it says "thanks for crying" instead of "thanks for playing".

Gallery

Concept Art

References

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