EGX 2014: Life is Strange

Ben treated to a press-only demo of Life is Strange at EGX 2014, and got a glimpse of some impressive game design behind the scenes.


Title overview

Name: Life is Strange
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Release date: January 2015
PEGI rating: 16
Platforms: PC, Playstation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
More information: Official website

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Ben says…

There’s something very intriguing about Life is Strange, an episodic game produced by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. That intrigue isn’t from the fact that the game is a narrative adventure in the vein of The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, but in the unique twist it brings to the genre.

We’ve all been there, making choice after choice until the dreaded ‘So and so will remember that’ appears at the top of the screen. Or worse, a decision is made and the immediate result isn’t what you, as a player, thought would happen. If only there was some way of making that choice again, to understanding what the various outcomes would be before the decision was made. If only you could rewind time… Well, in Life is Strange you can.

The story centres around Max, a seventeen-year-old girl returning to her home town after five years away. Needless to say, a lot has changed in those five years and her relationships with friends old and new will be made, strengthened and tested along the way.

We were treated to a press-only demo of the game at EGX 2014 which showed off the impressive game design that was (quite unabashedly and openly) striving for an ‘indie vibe’ and from what was on offer seemed to succeed. Everything in the game is hand-drawn, and the soundtrack is a mix of jangly, summer guitars and licensed songs that compliment the mood well. Voice-acting was solid and most importantly, believable.

We also saw the rewind time mechanic in full force and it was impressive stuff, with the outcome of each altered decision very different from what happened originally. Of course, that’s not to say you can’t rewind again and again if you prefer your first choice – there is no limit on how often you can use the ability.

Altering what happened in the past is clearly a theme that is popular with the Dontnod team as their previous release Remember Me had a similar concept in that Nilin (they love palindromes!) could change people’s memories of the past to effect their behaviour in the present.

This is not the time or place to get into the wider debate but both of their games have featured female leads which is to be applauded.

The developer also loves a female protagonist which is just what the industry needs right now. Clearly this is not the time or place to get into the wider debate but both of their games have featured female leads which is to be applauded. Long may it continue.

Life is Strange is looking great and we were certainly impressed with what we saw. Episode one of the five-part series is due to be released in early 2015 and will also come with a season pass. Expect it to be available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

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