Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a three-part standalone adventure that serves as a prequel to Life is Strange, set three years prior to the main game's events, developed by Denver-based Deck Nine Games and published by Square Enix. Screenshots were leaked by 4chan anons on June 1, 2017. The game was officially announced with a trailer on the E3 2017 on June 12, 2017. Episode 1, "Awake", was released on August 31, 2017 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (Steam). The PEGI age rating is 16 and the ESRB rating is mature.
You play as sixteen-year old Chloe Price who forms an unlikely friendship with Rachel Amber, a beautiful and popular girl destined for success. When Rachel learns a secret about her family that threatens to destroy her world, it is her newfound friendship with Chloe that gives her the strength to carry on. No longer alone, the girls must confront each other's demons and find a way to overcome them together.
The prequel is set in May 2010, three years prior to the events of the main game, shortly after Chloe's mother Joyce Price got together with soon-to-be step-father David Madsen. The game will feature returning characters William Price, Frank Bowers, Nathan Prescott, and Victoria Chase as well as returning background characters such as the Truck Driver. The story focuses on Chloe's life as a sophomore at Blackwell Academy as well as the relationship between Chloe and Rachel and the events that made them bond.
Max Caulfield will not be making an appearance in Before the Storm, as it is set during the period where Max is absent from Chloe's life; however, Chloe will feel her absence and will reference her throughout the game. There will be no rewind power, so choices are even more crucial in this game as Chloe can only rely on her sharp tongue. As in Dontnod's first offering in the Life is Strange franchise, every action has a consequence that affects the short, mid and long term. "Strange elements" are said to return, but the nature of these is not yet known.
Community Manager of Square Enix UK, Toby Palm, announced that it will be "an entirely new story. We want to take the player on a new journey and not tell a story that players already know the ending of." The game's story will be a mystery story with an investigative angle like the first game.
Deck Nine Games stated that the story that most resonated with them was one that comfortably spanned across three episodes and takes around 6-9 hours to complete. They have listened to the Life is Strange community's wishes to see more of Max Caulfield, so a self-contained bonus game called "Farewell" will be released, which takes place long before the events of the prequel. This bonus episode will be released after Episode 3; however, it will only be included with the "Deluxe Edition" of the prequel. Deck Nine Games have emphasized that the bonus game will have no bearing on the prequel story; it is only intended as a bonus for those who wish to play as Max once again.
On August 10, 2017, a live Reddit AMA was held with members of Deck Nine Games. During this live question and answer session, fans were informed that, "even the most dedicated fan won’t know how Before the Storm is going to end. Be prepared to anguish over choices just like in LIS1! We decided very early on to ensure we’re writing a story that no one knows the ending of. In fact, the vast majority of events throughout the series are all brand new."  Fans were also told during the AMA that "returning to Arcadia Bay was a direct response to fans telling Square [Enix] that they wanted to go back to Arcadia Bay."
The game uses the Unity engine that supplements a self developed toolset called StoryForge, which Deck Nine is experienced with. This is different from Season 1 which used Unreal Engine 3, which allowed low system requirements, and Season 2 which continues building onto the Unreal Engine with the newer version 4.
- Choice and consequence driven narrative adventure.
- Multiple endings depending on the choices you make.
- "Backtalk" - A risk/reward conversation mode that allows Chloe to use her barbed tongue to provoke or get her way.
- Make your mark on the world with witty tags and drawings.
- Choose Chloe's outfit and see how people react to your look.
- Distinct Licensed indie soundtrack.
- Optional in-game purchases.
- Letters to Max - Chloe's equivalent to Max's Diary from the first game.
On May 6th, Chloe Price sneaks off to the old mill and trash-talks her way into a Firewalk concert. After a confrontation with two men, she is rescued by schoolmate Rachel Amber. After reuniting at school, Chloe and Rachel decide to stow away on a cargo train that takes them to lookout point. After looking through the viewfinder, Rachel is suddenly determined to get drunk by drinking previously stolen wine. After moving on to the scrapyard, Chloe confront Rachel about the mood change. Rachel leaves and Chloe discovers the family car her father was killed in. Rachel later discloses that she had witnessed her father cheating on her mother via the viewfinder. In a rage, Rachel burns a family photo in a trash bin, then angrily kicks it over, lighting a nearby tree on fire.
Episode Two - "Brave New World" Edit
Beginning on the morning of May 7th, Chloe and Rachel attend a meeting with Principal Wells and their parents where Chloe faces suspension/expulsion from Blackwell Academy. After the meeting, David announces his intention to move in with Joyce; upset, Chloe angrily leaves and walks to the junkyard. There she starts fixing an old truck until Rachel appears for a short while, before leaving to get ready for her performance in The Tempest later that night. Shortly after Rachel leaves, Frank arrives and instructs Chloe to help him collect a debt from Drew North by breaking into his room at Blackwell Academy. Whilst in Drew's room Chloe is disturbed by Mikey and then Drew, who is then confronted by Frank's boss Damon Merrick. Chloe then attends backstage at the school production where she witnesses Victoria attempting to sabotage Rachel's performance, or, if Rachel was removed from the play by Wells, Victoria will be getting ready for her performance. Shortly after, due to a missing cast member, Chloe is pushed into performing in the play opposite Rachel. After the play, Chloe and Rachel walk back to the Amber residence, intent on leaving Arcadia Bay that night; however, when Rachel's dad spots her in the house, they end up staying for dinner, and a revelation around who that mysterious woman Chloe and Rachel saw with Mr. Amber comes out.
Episode Three - "Hell Is Empty" Edit
- Similarly to Life is Strange, each episode of Before the Storm will take place over the span of one day. The three episodes will cover three consecutive days like in the first game.
- Deck Nine Games have stated that a Nintendo Switch release for Before the Storm is not out of question.
- Deck Nine Games confirmed on Twitter that there will be a Platinum trophy for the PS4.
- In an interview, Lead Writer Zak Garriss stated that players should expect about 8 to 10 weeks between the three episodes, with the hope being to land on the shorter side of that range.
- Square Enix had a presence at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, from August 22 to 26, 2017, the week before the launch of Episode 1, "Awake".
- A new character is confirmed to be Caleb (voiced by Caleb Couch).
- The dialogue system in Before the Storm has undergone a restructuring. Some variants of answers will become available to the player only after the heroine interacts with a certain object or displays information in a dialogue with other people.
- Before the Storm includes Denuvo on Steam, an anti-tamper software. It was officially stated that there should not be any performance related issues as a result of Denuvo.
- On September 25, 2017 the SAG-AFTRA strike reached a "tentative" end after 11 months, leaving new possibilities for the voice actors of the "Farewell" episode, the production of which was stated to start after completing the three main episodes.
Deck Nine Games Edit
- Main article: Deck Nine Games
On May 31, 2017, it was announced that long time PlayStation developer Idol Minds had rebranded and would be known from this date as Deck Nine Games. On this same date, it was revealed that the studio has partnered with a major AAA publisher (which we now know to be Square Enix). The studio rebranded due to a shift to story-driven-narrative games following their development of a new toolset called StoryForge, which focuses on "meaningful storytelling and rich gameplay" and would function similar to the engine used by Telltale Games. StoryForge will allow the integration of "motion capture, narrative choices, music and more". The development team consists of motion capture professionals and cinematic artists who will be working 'in house'.
Publisher Square Enix chose Deck Nine to develop the prequel to Life is Strange after the developer's proprietary StoryForge tools had made an impression. Development started in 2016, at least in October that year, with the Unity game engine.
Leaks and Announcement Edit
Leaks of screenshots and concept art for a new game featuring Chloe Price and Rachel Amber, which came from Deck Nine Games' newly set up website, were reported on June 1,2017. Just a day before that, on May 31, the same developers studio revealed that the studio had partnered with a major AAA publisher (which we now know to be Square Enix) and was "deep in development on their first title, a brand new addition to a critically acclaimed franchise" which would be revealed later this year at E3.
A core member of the writing team explained that it was important for Deck Nine to have certain characters such as Victoria, Nathan, Warren, Alyssa or Stella back in the game because they knew it would mean a lot to the players with Before the Storm being the last opportunity to meet these characters as well as because they were wanting to show how complexe characters like Nathan and Victoria were like when they were younger.
For the prequel, the diary device from Life is Strange was replaced with a letter device. The player is be able to read unsent letters from Chloe to Max in which she puts down her thoughts on what's going on, replacing Max's diary as an assistant narrative device. It's meant to grant the player a "unique insight" into Chloe's life and how she views people and events. It's explained that she doesn't send those letters because she has given up hope that Max will ever return to Arcadia Bay or play any part in her life. Max's photography mechanic which allowed the player to take optional photos throughout the game to unlock achievements was replaced with a optional graffiti mechanic that allows the player to "leave their mark on the world", which is meant to be Chloe's special thing as photography was Max's. The player is often be able to make a choice on what to write.
Social Issues Edit
In an interview with Before the Storm Lead Writer Zak Garriss, he explained that, "it’s the prerogative now of the franchise to tackle social issues, to talk about issues that are difficult to talk about, and to take a game and utilize what games have that other media don’t have to explore and open a dialogue around things like bullying or depression or domestic assault or sexual assault: what it’s like to be a teenager." 
Dontnod's Involvement Edit
It was stated that Deck Nine Games did not get any consultation or any advice from Dontnod Entertainment. From the beginning until the launch, Deck Nine were the only ones behind the game with some help from Square Enix, including some of the developers that worked on the original game. However, they were given access to Dontnod's game assets and original files that contain character arcs and backgrounds. They communicated with Dontnod and flew to Paris to let them test out the gameplay. Game Director Michel Koch complimented their work and told the new team that the fans will love their work. Dontnod however received special thanks in the credits of the first episode of Before the Storm, saying, "A very special thank you to all of the amazing developers at DONTNOD. We've been honored to continue the amazing work you started in Arcadia Bay."
Rhianna DeVries, who initially did the game's motion capture for Chloe Price, voices the character, while the original voice actress Ashly Burch returned to the franchise as part of the writing team to help provide consistency and authenticity to the younger version of Chloe. Ashly Burch and other members of the original voice acting cast such as Nik Shriner, Nathan's voice actor, were unable to lend their voice to the characters due to participation in the SAG-AFTRA strike. However, the VA strike reportedly did not have any influence on the game's story.
Game Editions Edit
Complete Season Edit
The Complete Season includes Episodes 1, 2 and 3.
Season Pass Edit
The Season Pass includes Episodes 2 and 3 and is only purchasable upon having previously purchased Episode 1 as a standalone episode.
Deluxe Edition Edit
The Deluxe Edition includes the following:
- Episodes 1, 2 and 3.
- Bonus Episode “Farewell” featuring a young Max (to be released after Episode 3).
- Mixtape Mode: a main menu option which allows you to create a playlist of the in-game licensed music and set it to play against an in-game moment of calm.
- The Outfit Pack: a set of three additional outfit options that Chloe can change into at certain points in the story: Punk Doe, Hawt Dawg Man, and Illuminati.
- For pre-order-ers: "Classic Chloe" outfit and (for PS4 users) a dynamic theme.
System Requirements Edit
|OS: Windows 7 or above (64-bit)||OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)|
|Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 (3.1GHz) or AMD Phenom X4 945 (3.0GHz)||Processor: Intel Core i3-6100 (3.7GHz) or AMD Athlon X4 845 (3.5GHz)|
|Memory: 3GB RAM||Memory: 6 GB RAM|
|Graphics: AMD Radeon R7 250 or NVIDIA Geforce GTX 650||Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 460 or NVIDIA Geforce 1050|
|DirectX: Version 11||DirectX: Version 11|
|Hard Drive: 14 GB available space||Hard Drive: 14 GB available space|
Note: 32-bit operating systems will not be supported.
Episode 1 had a mostly positive reception: TBC
Awards and Nominations Edit
Following E3 2017, Before the Storm received one of GamesRadar's Best of E3 awards and was nominated for Hardcore Gamer's Adventure Game award. It was also nominated in the Games for Impact category at The Game Awards 2017.
References to Life is Strange Edit
- Main article: Easter Eggs (Prequel)
- Pirate's hat and eye patch (in Chloe's room)
- Picture of Max and Chloe
- William's camera (in the garage)
- Chloe's wallet and ashtray (in Chloe's room)
- Chloe's old cell phone
- Chloe's American flag (at her wall instead of at her window)
- Mix Tape, Max made for Chloe
- William's car
- Chloe's truck (at the junkyard)
- Nathan's gun (gun that Nathan possibly carried around)
- Everyone lies tag (in Chloes room)
- This game shows several references to William Shakespeare's The Tempest, such as the episode titles and the achievements you get for completing them. Moreover, the play is shown to be played by Blackwell Academy's theater group.
- The "i" in Life is Strange: Before the Storm was non-capitalized in contrary to the first game's title. The title has been updated in July 2017 and now matches the first game's title.
- The Steam product title had an upper case "T" in contrary to most uses and even the Steam product description. The product title has been updated in July 2017 and now matches the most frequently used title.
- According to the game files, the working title for Before the Storm was "Project Dawn"; the filename of the game's logo is "ProjectDawn Logo S5-13". For some time around the release of Episode 1, people were able to find a listing for "Life is Strange: Project Dawn" on the Xbox One version of the game. The developer build of the game being also entitled "Dawn". This codename could have been chosen because of Rachel's middle name: Rachel "Dawn" Amber.
- Casting calls for the game under its codename "Project Dawn" were posted on June 28, 2017, looking for two female actors to workshop, motion capture and voice over "a highly dramatic scene for an upcoming cinematic narrative adventure video game title for a AAA game publisher." The scene workshops, motion capture and voice over was planned to be done within the week of July 11-15, 2016. In the casting call, they used the codenames "Nikki" and "Jessica" for Chloe and Rachel. "Jessie/Jessica" and "Nikki" apparently are the names Dontnod used for the characters in pre-production. Hints at Rachel's original name "Jessie" can still be found in the game files.
- A Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) with the Deck Nine Games team took place on August 10, 2017.
- The font used on promotional images is called "Mixtape Mike" and can be downloaded here.
- The font used for "Before the Storm" in the game's logo is called "India" and can be downloaded here.
- #e80aca is confirmed to be the the official color code for the Before the Storm pink by Community Manager Toby Palm.
- In a let’s play of the recently released gameplay by a German let’s player (timestamp at 6:01), the journal pages were opened for a brief moment prior to the game's release.
Promo Screenshots Edit
Leaked Images Edit
Misc/Promo Images Edit
Concept Art Edit
Developers Diary Edit
Note: In the E3 Coliseum pre-release footage reveal, they show a few minutes gameplay more than in the previous gameplay videos (timestamp at 4:58 for the extra scenes).
- Main article: Articles
- Life Is Strange: Before The Storm preview and interview – ‘We can make a game that’s kind of normalising flaws’ (August 24, 2017)
External Links Edit
- ↑ Official Announcement Post
- ↑ Steam Store page
- ↑ Xbox Store page
- ↑ PlayStation Network Store page
- ↑ Official Reddit FAQ
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 This was stated by David Hein, Producer of Before the Storm, on the Reddit AMA. You can find the original Reddit thread here
- ↑ This was stated by Zak Garris, Lead Writer of Before the Storm, on the Reddit AMA. You can find the original Reddit thread here
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Deck Nine Games' website, technology section
- ↑ Life Is Strange: Before The Storm Switch Version Is A Possibility (June 23, 2017)
- ↑ Twitter post by @Ash_H_97
- ↑ Expect 8 to 10 Weeks Between New Life Is Strange Episodes (June 13, 2017)
- ↑ Gamescon 2017 Official Website
- ↑ Before the Storm's IMDb page
- ↑ GAMESCOM 17 - Interesting details about Life is Strange: Before the Storm (August 27, 2017) (translated from Russian to English)
- ↑ Life is Strange: Before the Storm EULA (August 30, 2017)
- ↑ Video game voice-actor strike might finally be over (September 26, 2017)
- ↑ ref for production start needed
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 PlayStation Developer Idol Games Rebrands as Deck Nine Games, Partners with Major AAA Publisher (dualshockers.com)
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Reddit post by /u/denetii
- ↑ Report: Life is Strange prequel leaked (June 1, 2017)
- ↑ Reddit post by /u/IgelRM
- ↑ E3 Coliseum Panel (June 14, 2017)
- ↑ ref needed
- ↑ ref needed
- ↑ ‘Life is Strange: Before the Storm’ developers reveal reason for prequel choice (October 4, 2017)
- ↑ Life is Strange: Before the Storm got a lot of help from exiting voice actor Ashly Burch (June 14, 2017)
- ↑ Twitter post by Ashly Burch
- ↑ Twitter post by Nik Shriner
- ↑ GamesRadar+ E3 awards - our best, most exciting games of E3 2017 (June 19, 2017)
- ↑ Best of E3 2017 – Day Three: Fighter, Adventure, RPG, Shooter, Action (June 21, 2017)
- ↑ The Game Awards 2017: List of Nominees (November 14, 2017)
- ↑ Reddit post by /u/Fry98
- ↑ Auditions for Teen Actresses in Denver Colorado for Video Game Project on AuditionsFree.com (June 28, 2017)
- ↑ Auditions for Teen Actresses in Denver Colorado for Video Game Project on Shook.com (June 28, 2017)
- ↑ Announcement post