×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Life Is Strange 2:’ Contemporary Coming of Age Tale Filled With Heartache

At the very end of “Life is Strange,” players are faced with an impossible decision: save one life or sacrifice it to rescue everyone else. It’s a monumental choice with heart-wrenching consequence. “Life is Strange 2” begins with a similar choice, but players will be powerless to stop the outcome.

It’s an interesting script flip that shows developer Dontnod’s evolution and maturity since introducing the world to Max and Chloe. “Life is Strange” featured two privileged white girls wrestling with trauma and relationships while messing with powerful forces (both mundane and supernatural).

The sequel carries forward the series’ head-on approach to violence and loss. “It’s a more ambitious story in a more expansive universe,” says lead writer Christian Divine. “‘Life is Strange’ is not just Max and Chloe and Pompidou and Arcadia Bay. It’s not just one set of locations or characters.”

Brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz are forced on the run after a run-in with the police. They decide to travel down the coast from Seattle, cross the border, and visit where their father grew up in Mexico.

Sean is not a perfect child, but he isn’t a bad kid. At 16, he holds down a job, helping his family earn money. In his spare time, he drinks and smokes pot with friends. Despite his bad habits, Sean’s father Esteban does his best to gently steer his son in the right direction. He knows Daniel drinks socially but doesn’t try to smother him. Instead, he encourages safety as a way to avoid being shut out entirely by his teenage son.

After the police incident that sends the brothers running, Sean needs to step into the role of father figure. This is reflected throughout the game as players make decisions. Instead of simply impacting your own outcome, your decisions as Sean will influence how Daniel, who is only nine years old, will act moving forward.

Early on in the game, Sean is called upon to decide whether his father or brother get the last Chocko Crisp bar. You can choose to give it to your little brother, as it’s Daniel’s favorite candy, or your father. You can also choose to swipe it for yourself. This lighthearted moment helps cement the family dynamic in the Diaz household.

Sean is clearly resentful of his little brother, as many older siblings are. The relationship between the two boys is tense, especially as we find out that their mother has abandoned the family and their father isn’t giving up hope of her return. This amplifies the rapid shift Sean must undergo from older sibling to parental figure.

In the first of five episodes, Sean and Daniel will find themselves at a trailhead, hungry and alone. The two spot a parked car with a window cracked open and a chocolate bar on the dash. Players can opt to steal the candy or leave it, and Daniel will be paying attention to which choice is made. Satisfying your hunger now might lead to trouble later if Daniel learns that stealing is acceptable.

Earlier this year, Square Enix released a free “Life is Strange” episode to bridge the gap between the first two full series. “The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit” features a young boy, Chris, and his father. In typical “Life is Strange” fashion, “Captain Spirit” is equal parts uplifting and tragic. It also connects in some as yet unrevealed way to “Life is Strange 2.”

How that connection will materialize is something for players to discover. Dontnod says that those who have been along for the journey will clearly see when the two stories intersect.

When it comes up, for people who played ‘Captain Spirit,’ it’s a lot of fun when that interaction does occur and when the connection is made,” says voiceover director Philip Bache.

Dontnod faces a significant challenge in its return to “Life is Strange” (the prequel, “Life is Strange: Before the Storm” was developed by another studio, Deck Nine). Max and Chloe had moments of respite in the midst of their story’s most challenging emotional events. Creating that juxtaposition for Sean and Chris will be harder, as the boys are on the run from the police.

The supernatural elements have only barely been revealed so far. How they weave into the story and the gameplay is a mystery left for players to uncover when the first episode of “Life is Strange 2” arrives on September 27.

More Gaming

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • 'Devil May Cry 5' Ships Two

    'Devil May Cry 5' Ships Two Million Copies in First Two Weeks

    “Devil May Cry 5,” the latest entry in the long-running stylish action series from Capcom, shipped over 2 million units globally in its first two weeks. Capcom announced on Friday that the game achieved that milestone across the various platforms it’s appeared on, including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It’s enjoyed a massively successful [...]

  • 'Star Wars Battlefront II' Gets New

    'Star Wars Battlefront II' Gets New Capital Supremacy Mode Next Week

    Electronic Arts’ online shooter “Star Wars: Battlefront II” is getting a new game mode called Capital Supremacy next week, the publisher announced on Friday. “Starting Mar. 26, the forces of the Galactic Republic and Separatists clash in Capital Supremacy – an immersive, Clone Wars-era authentic experience in ‘Star Wars Battlefront II’ – where non-linear ground [...]

  • What Game Workers Can Learn From

    What Game Workers Can Learn From Other Labor Organizations

    One year ago at GDC, Game Workers Unite packed a room with developers from across the industry hoping to take a stand against challenging, sometimes abusive, work conditions. The group has had a significant presence at this year’s event, with unionization even taking center stage during the Game Developers Choice Awards. The Game Workers Unite [...]

  • Dire Wolf Brings 'Eternal' and 'Raiders

    Dire Wolf Brings 'Eternal,' 'Raiders of the North Sea' to Switch This Spring

    Dire Wolf announced it’s bringing the popular free-to-play digital collectible card game “Eternal” and board game “Raiders of the North Sea” to Nintendo Switch this spring. “Eternal” and “Raiders of the North Sea” will mark the studio’s first Nintendo Switch titles, and will mark Dire Wolf’s first releases in their recently-announced bid to bring digital [...]

  • The 'PUBG Mobile' Club Open Gets

    The 'PUBG Mobile' Club Open Gets $2.5 Million Prize Pool

    The “PUBG Mobile” Club Open (PMCO) will have a $2.5 million prize pool when it debuts this year, developer PUBG Corp. and publisher Tencent announced on Friday. “PUBG Mobile” esports director James Yang made the announcement during a celebration for the battle royale title’s first anniversary. The PMCO features a Spring and Fall Split. The [...]

  • Cinematic Platformer 'Stela' Focuses on Depth,

    Cinematic Platformer 'Stela' Focuses on Depth, Mystery

    Depth means a lot of things in game design. It sometimes alludes to how intricate a system of combat or movement is under the surface. It could also focus on how many layers of character development a story features. Depth is a concept that most developers try to tackle at some point while designing their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content