As fall quickly approaches, so does the release of the anticipated third installment toLife Is Strange. The first game was a much-needed success for Dontnod Entertainment and introduced players to Max and Chloe as they searched for a missing Arcadia Bay student using time travel.
The episodic series was a hit and spawned a prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, which hinted at the newest game, Life is Strange 2.
Though the developers have revealed some information to fans over the past several months, there are still quite a few mysteries surrounding the game.
Here’s what we know about Life is Strange 2 so far and predictions for what to expect from the next game in the franchise. Of course, there will be spoilers ahead, so tread carefully or turn back now.
Digging Into Character and Plot
While some fans approved and others did not, the developers at Dontnod Entertainment have made it clear that Max, Chloe, and Rachel’s stories are completed, meaning they’re not likely to appear in Life is Strange 2.
While we’re sure to get a few nostalgic Easter eggs, players should expect to meet new characters this time around. In fact, we already know who the narrative will focus on based on the end of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, as well as the Life is Strange 2 trailers that have already been released.
What We Know About the Characters of Life is Strange 2
The protagonist of the new game is Sean Diaz, an awkward 16-year-old living with his 9-year-old brother, Daniel, and his single father, Esteban, in Seattle, Washington.
The first episode starts in October 2016, three years after the events of Life is Strange and roughly two months before The Amazing Adventures of Captain Spirit.
The gameplay trailer (which you can see below) reveals the first act of the game and gives audiences a look into each of these characters.
From the footage, we learn that Sean is still finding his passions in life, similar to previous protagonist, Max Caulfield. Sean’s father encourages him to settle on one interest to invest his time, but things are, of course, not that easy. This small, but essential thread is something that already ties the series’ stories together.
Along with these pivotal characters, Sean seems to have a close bond with his friend Layla, and though it’s unclear how she’ll be involved in the overall story, the amount of screen time she gets in the trailer indicates it’s likely we’ll see her play a larger role in the plot.
Who is the Telekinetic Force in Life is Strange 2?
The gameplay video below concludes following an intense altercation between an aggressive neighbor and a policeman. When Esteban is murdered by the policeman, Sean’s telekinetic abilities are awakened …
Or are they Daniel’s?
The footage focuses on Sean when a telekinetic force pushes the officer away. However, that doesn’t mean that Sean is the one with supernatural talents. If we know anything from film — and Dontnod’s previous efforts — camera angles can be used to deceive the audience.
We know one of them has abilities, but we’ll have to wait and see which character actually holds them.
Off to Mexico?
After the altercation with the police officer and Sean’s neighbor, the two brothers are forced to run away. From what we know, it’s a safe bet they’ll be going to Mexico.
Early in the trailer, Sean’s father says that Mexico is his home country, so it would make sense for the boys to seek out family members or, perhaps, even friends there.
On top of that, we know that Dontnod’s writing team traveled to Mexico during development, further suggesting the plot will involve the two brothers traveling there.
Trailers and comments by the game’s writers have also indicated that the brothers will be running from the law.
Predictions for Life is Strange 2
Through careful analysis of the trailers, experience with previous Life is Strange games, and conventions of the genre, here’s what we think will happen in this sequel.
Unlike the original, Life is Strange 2 will be taking place in multiple locations and span more than just a few weeks. The brother-duo is often depicted in the wilderness and walking on foot, indicating their physical and emotional journey will be long and rigorous for many months.
With just their journey from Seattle, Washington to Beavercreek, Oregon — a trek of some 200 miles — it’s evident the two boys will likely be on the road for a majority of the game.
Based on the themes we’ve seen so far, the story will delve into the classic mold of the road trip, albeit with much heavier connotations than is typically depicted.
It wouldn’t be a Dontnod story is there were some antagonists along the way.
The Antagonists of Life is Strange 2
The Law: We already know the brothers have a “dust-up” with the police, so it’s not a stretch to assume the many members of the law will be after the duo.
Evading arrest and questioning, especially when escaping Washington, will likely be the primary form of opposition the player will face. This could also create a few interesting when it comes to narrative and choice throughout the game.
Layla: OK. Hear this one out. While Layla is clearly an allyto the two and in no way a villain, it doesn’t mean she won’t get in the way of their journey. Concerned about her missing friends, Layla may desperately seek to find out where they are and inadvertently expose them to the authorities.
Nature: Nature is a common source of antagonismin these types of stories. The overcoming the environment, escaping the wilderness, and struggling to survive all play roles in many coming-of-age or adventure narratives. Now that the two protagonists are without money, parents, or food, it’s clear that not all of the game’s antagonists will be flesh and blood.
Relationships: There are bound to be some bumps in the road with the brother’s relationship. The two, exhausted from travel and dealing the loss of their father, probably will have trouble adjusting to the new power dynamic of their relationship. Also, Sean’s influence on Daniel could backfire in the future. As the developers have stated, everything Sean does affects Daniel’s behavior.
Daniel’s Power: Though it’s a little unclear who wields the telekinetic powers, I predict it’s Daniel mainly because of the images in the gameplay footage and the twist it would give to the plot. It would also be a smart choice for writers to have Daniel be supernatural since he is still a young child. The power will be even more dangerous and difficult to control. The players will need to help Daniel manage his newfound abilities. However, Daniel’s emotions led to the first catastrophic destruction and could lead to more throughout the story.
We predict players will have to overcome each of these struggles as they make their way to the destination.
Gameplay and Mechanics
Many of the mechanics in Life is Strange 2 are going to be similar to previous installments, but the newest game does have a few changes up its sleeves.
For example, Sean will be able to interact with other characters, and you can select his dialogue or actions, thus affecting the narrative in real-time. Most dialogue choices and narrative decisions function the same as previous Life is Strange games, but your choices in this story affect what Daniel learns from his older brother.
Whatever Sean does will teach Daniel what is right and wrong.
Sean will also carry his sketchbook around, which is similar to Max’s journal in Life is Strange and Chloe’s letters in Before the Storm. While the sketchbook includes journal entries and gives the player a look into the character’s inner thoughts, it also acts like Max’s photographs or Chloe’s graffiti tags.
Sean will find opportunities to observe his surroundings and the more things he notices, the more detailed his drawings will become. We imagine sketches will be a new collectible for completionists to seek out.
Also like other games in the franchise, the protagonist also has a phone, which will be used to show interactions with other characters, such as those with Sean’s best friend, Layla.
Another new addition is Sean’s backpack, which the game’s designers have suggested will impact the brothers as they travel. Players can decide what to store in their backpack, but there may be limited space, forcing the player to choose what to take and what to leave behind, adding another wrinkle to the gameplay.
The mechanic that has peaked most players interests, however, is the new supernatural abilities. Life is Strange’s other titles have demonstrated how they can work without Max’s time control powers, but we all know superpowers — and the mechanics they bring with them — can be a lot more fun.
If Sean is the character who actually has the abilities, you will likely be able to use it in the game, but if it is Daniel’s power, you may instead be instructing the younger brother on when and how to use his powers.
With new characters, story, and gameplay, Dontnod wisely seems to be aiming for a fresh new experience that also feels familiar.
Once the first episode of Life is Strange 2 is released, fans will have the opportunity to dive back into the world as Sean and enjoy the Life is Strange universe in a new way.
The first of the five-episode series is set to release September 27 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.