Life is Strange originally released back in 2015, introducing us to the beautiful seaside town of Arcadia Bay as well as Max and Chloe, the iconic faces of the series. Their story touched the lives of many, influencing and inspiring people in various ways. Eventually, the second main instalment would go on to continue the series with Sean and Daniel, introducing us to more elements of this extensive universe. With the Square Enix Presents event on March 18th, we’ll be hearing more about this new game, but what should we expect from the next chapter in the series?
An Unforgettable Bond
Each entry so far has kept a dual-protagonist structure in which we play as one and care just as much about the other. The bond between these two characters often drives the series forward each time. It’s undoubtedly crucial to both narratives and acts as our reason for trying to make the ‘right’ decisions. When your world is thrown into chaos, it’s important to have someone to depend on, someone who understands you.
In Life is Strange, Max and Chloe are childhood best friends who reunite again after many years have passed without communication. Chloe is very different after all this time, being shaped by the harsh events that took place within her life. Further, into the narrative, we begin to see Chloe soften; she has found something to truly care about again.
In Life is Strange 2, Sean and Daniel are brothers who didn’t see much positive interaction before the events of the first episode. What brings them together is the realisation of the importance of that brotherly relationship. They discover this first-hand and through the many characters in the game that can see how much they care for one another. Playing as Sean, we try to shape who our younger brother will turn out to be, and only in the end will you find out how your choices have impacted him.
It’s reasonable to assume that the next game will feature another relationship like the past two duos. However, it is entirely possible that the game takes a turning point and moves in a new direction. We’ll have to see.
A Heartfelt Narrative
Both main titles brought many fans to tears various times throughout their respective series. I remember how my version of the ending to Episode 2 played out, and how the story of Rachel Amber came to a close in Episode 4, both of which turned on the waterworks for me. It really revealed the true power and potential of such an incredible narrative videogame. We care about these characters so much, and it’s difficult to watch as the world treats them so unfairly. It opens our eyes as to how even if you did have superpowers to control your life, you’d be more out of control than ever.
I absolutely adored investigating the darker secrets of Arcadia Bay mixed in with a nostalgic journey and then embarking on a never-ending road trip in an attempt to build a brand new life. Whatever is next will surely bring moments of warmth, heart-ache and times where you’ll have to pause your game as that glaring decision screen stands before you. But the big question is: where will we head next in the timeline?
The original series was followed by the prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm, which was succeeded by The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit before finally settling into Life is Strange 2. With Square Enix’s confirmation of new characters, this could mean something as big as Life is Strange 3, or it could mean a little segment of it, similar to The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Who knows where we’ll be taken next, especially with the fabric of reality itself being broken by a certain someone.
Arcadia Bay, Oregon was breath-taking. From its sandy shores to its lush green forests, it was a pleasure to explore. Even though we were mostly playing within one small town, each location felt distinct, yet part of the same area. I find myself jumping onto the game after completion simply to enjoy a “Moment of Calm”, as it has been named. Whether it’s chilling in Max’s dorm room or in the Junkyard, it feels so refreshing just to sit for a while and enjoy what the immersive world can offer.
In the second series, we explored much more of the west coast, even coming across Arcadia Bay itself at one point. It was amazing to see how different each episode was in terms of scenery and location. From California’s redwood forests to Arizona’s grand, red cliffs, it was one emotional yet visually pleasing road trip.
Undoubtedly, this next title will deliver something similar. So far, we’ve pretty much stayed in the USA, allowing the characters from all four games to link in different ways. In the new Life is Strange game, it’s likely that we will stick there, but there is a chance that we may find ourselves somewhere else entirely.
In the main titles, one of the two main characters possesses a superpower. In the original, this was the ability to manipulate time, and in the sequel, it was telekinesis. Both times, we felt so out of control, even when we had these crazy abilities. Max was constantly at war with herself. She tried to use her powers for good but quickly realised how little control she really had. Sean, on the other hand, tried to help his brother to understand and control the power that he held. Though Daniel was merely a kid. He often didn’t take well to being given orders by his older brother, which led to devastating consequences.
Square Enix has already confirmed that a new superpower will be arriving with the new protagonist. It’s interesting that all these different characters have completely different powers. Two games in and we’re still unsure about how they have come to possess them. Sean and Daniel’s story proved that these powers aren’t linked by family or bloodline; only Daniel possessed these abilities out of the two brothers. Maybe the new Life is Strange game has the answers to some of these long-standing questions. Or maybe we’ll just have to accept that life really is just strange.
If you haven’t already played them, they’re available on all major platforms.