What Captain Spirit Might Tell Us About Life is Strange 2
What is this short prelude telling us about the next main series game?
Today (June 26) is the official release date for The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a charming and emotional prelude to the upcoming Life is Strange 2. DONTNOD, the developer behind Captain Spirit and the first Life is Strange game, have stated that players may be able to find clues about the story of Life is Strange 2 hidden in Captain Spirit, alongside references to the original Life is Strange. So today I thought I’d go over some of the potential hints that I think might be giving us some insight into the next game. Keep in mind that this is all purely speculation and that many of the potential clues in Captain Spirit are also likely to be red herrings, leading audiences to think one thing when something else ends up being the truth. Also, this article will contain SPOILERS for Captain Spirit and Life is Strange.
We know that Captain Spirit‘s playable protagonist Chris will be returning in Life is Strange 2 in some capacity, since it says “Meet Chris again in Life is Strange 2” after the credits of Captain Spirit. However, we don’t know how prevalent of a role he will play in the new game. He might continue being the main playable protagonist, but he also might take on the role of a deuteragonist or sidekick. At the end of Captain Spirit, Chris falls from his treehouse but levitates just before hitting the ground, saving him from his fall. This would seem to imply that Chris has real powers, just like Max did in the first game. It would seem weird to not play as the character with powers, so unless there’s going to be multiple characters with powers in the next game, it would seem likely that Chris will be the playable character.
However, there is another possibility. After Chris is saved by levitation, he looks over and sees a neighbor kid smile and wave at him. Many fans have taken this to mean that it is actually the neighbor kid who has powers, not Chris, and that Chris was saved from his fall by this other kid. Fans have also noted that this kid is very well rendered, so he’s likely to not be just a secondary or tertiary character in the next game. Also, the phrasing “Meet Chris again in Life is Strange 2” seems to imply that you will be meeting Chris, rather than playing as him, in the next entry. Plus, thematically it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to end the game with Chris looking over and seeing this other kid, rather than just ending with Chris’s revelation that he has powers, unless it actually is the other kid who has the powers. This would all seem to back up the case that this neighbor kid will actually be the playable protagonist with powers in the next game, with Chris possibly acting as a sidekick of sorts; if the neighbor kid takes Max’s role as the supernatural protagonist, Chris could take the Chloe role.
One of the things that made the first Life is Strange stand out from other narrative adventure games was the inclusion of the Rewind mechanic, which put an interesting twist on the narrative adventure formula. We know from Captain Spirit that a character, whether it be Chris himself or the neighbor kid, will have powers as well, but the powers exhibited in Captain Spirit look to have much more in common with telekinesis than with Max’s ability to rewind time. But beyond just letting us know that powers will be a thing again in Life is Strange 2, after there were no supernatural characters in Before the Storm, I think that Captain Spirit may have also given us a look into how these telekinetic powers will be utilized as a gameplay mechanic in the next game.
In Captain Spirit, Chris has Power Actions, which allow him to use his imaginary “powers” to solve everyday problems in new ways. I think it’s likely that in Life is Strange 2, Chris’s imaginary Power Actions will be replaced with the option to use real telekinetic powers. Of course, each opportunity to use powers would come with its own set of consequences. Unlike Max’s Rewind power, using telekinesis would probably be pretty hard to hide, so having other characters see you use your powers might have some unintended side effects that may make players reconsider just using their powers every chance they get. Additionally, we see in Captain Spirit that using Power Actions isn’t always the better choice. When tasked with washing the dishes, you can wash them normally or Mega Wash them, the latter of which results in Chris accidentally breaking a glass. I would think that there will also be instances in Life is Strange 2 where you might be tempted to use your telekinetic powers, but doing so will result in a worse outcome, even if your intentions are good. This will make players have to think twice about just using their powers all the time, just as how breaking the glass made me think twice about using Power Actions in Captain Spirit.
We only meet a few new characters in Captain Spirit, which include Chris, his dad Charles and Mrs. Reynolds, as well as the neighbor kid and his brother(? Or dad?) at the very end. But we hear about a lot more characters, such as Chris’s mom, his friend Hal, a number of other friends, Charles’s secret new girlfriend, various police officers and private investigators Charles has been in contact with regarding his wife’s death, etc. Chances are, most of these new characters will exist solely for Chris’s story in Captain Spirit. That being said, there are some that I think might end up showing up in Life is Strange 2.
If you look through the open tabs on Charles’s computer, you’ll find that he got an email from his boss at his freighter job regarding “unruly teenage freight hoppers.” Most of the other characters who are merely mentioned in Captain Spirit, from the private investigator to Charles’s girlfriend, are mentioned to expand the world of Chris’s one-off adventure. The mentioning of these various characters in some way reveals more about the characters of Chris or Charles, and therefore gives the player more insight into their characters and relationship with each other. But these freight hoppers are mentioned for no discernible reason. We already know about Charles’s job from other environmental clues, so we didn’t need this email to give us that information. The knowledge of these freight hoppers doesn’t give us any insight into Chris’s or Charles’s characters. So I think it’s more likely that this information is setting up some new characters that will become more important in Life is Strange 2. Upon viewing this email, Chris also states how he thinks it would be cool to be a freight hopper, so maybe he ends up joining them to some capacity. Or maybe this email was just a red herring. It’s also worth mentioning, however, that some Reddit users who have pre-ordered Life is Strange 2 have discovered that the name of the game’s first episode appears to be “Promenade,” which is a French term for a casual walk. Between this and the worn out backpack we see in the game’s release date trailer, it seems that there is a theme of travel in the new game, which would seem to backup the theory that these freight hoppers may become important characters.
Another briefly mentioned character that might end up appearing in the next game is Harry Sorber. If you look at a letter to Charles that Charles has not read because Chris keeps it in his “secret stash” in his treehouse, you’ll find that Brett Sorber, Harry’s father, has accused Chris of bullying his son. Apparently, Harry said some mean things about Charles, at which point Chris tried to stick up for his dad. Brett, however, claims that these accusations are false and states that Harry would never speak ill of someone else since he’s not that kind of boy, being an honor student and decorated boy scout and all. It’s certainly possible that, unlike the aforementioned freight hoppers, Harry and Brett Sorber exist in Captain Spirit solely to give some more background information into Chris and Charles’s relationship. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if these characters return, with the Sorbers acting somewhat like this game’s Prescott family. There are already a lot of parallels between Life is Strange 2 and the first game, from superpowers to the inclusions of a character who loses their better parent in a car accident at a young age. It’s possible that Harry will end up being the new game’s entitled kid who gets away with everything because of his rich parents, like Nathan was in the first game.
Both Life is Strange and Before the Storm featured some sort of mystery side story. The former had Max and Chloe trying to figure out what really happened to Rachel, and the latter had Chloe and Rachel trying to figure out what’s really going on with Rachel’s dad. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Life is Strange 2 will have any kind of mystery aspect, since it might focus more on the character development or supernatural aspects, but it is something to consider. It seemed to me that there were two clues in Captain Spirit that may be leading us toward what the mystery in the next game could be.
The least likely of my two theories is that the mystery of Life is Strange 2 will revolve around the death of Chris’s mom, Emily. We know that she was hit by a car and killed on the corner of Asteroid and Mantle (which, in case you didn’t notice, is how Chris came up with the name for his nemesis, since Mantroid is Mantle and Asteroid put together), but other specifics aren’t really known. Charles himself tried to do some investigating, since looking through the box on the top shelf of his closet reveals that he has been in contact with the police department, hired a private investigator and even tried to get access to the security camera footage from the night of Emily’s death. Clearly, there is more information out there that the characters aren’t yet aware of, so it’s possible that Chris and other characters might try to look into this more in the next game. However, I don’t think this is super likely because what realistically would any character actually find out? Really, the only thing they could learn is who was driving the car that killed Emily, since the circumstances around her death are already known. Finding out what happened to Rachel in the first game was a good mystery because she just up and vanished; no one really knew what happened to her or when or why or how. In the case of Emily’s death, pretty much everything that could be known is known except for the driver, so it probably wouldn’t make for a very good mystery subplot. I also think that Emily’s death has already been narratively explored as much as it should be, just to give enough insight into Chris’s life, and I don’t think spending a lot of time trying to find out who the driver was would really add anything to it (unless it was Charles and he doesn’t remember doing it because he was drunk, which might be an interesting development depending on what they do with it, but I don’t know).
I think the more likely culprit for the mystery of Life is Strange 2 would be the story found in the newspaper on the kitchen table in Captain Spirit. Here, we read about a case of a local man being shot and killed by a police officer, after which the officer also mysteriously died, but the cause of his death is unknown. Again, this information doesn’t give us any more insight into Chris’s or Charles’s characters or relationship or anything, so it’s an odd detail to include for no particular reason. It’s possible that it could just be another example of DONTNOD discussing controversial issues, but the fact that the officer was also killed and that no one knows the cause of his death seems to imply that there’s more going on here. Maybe the officer was killed by some supernatural forces, or maybe a character that you meet in Life is Strange 2 knew the officer, either of which could set up a reason for the protagonist of the new game to look into what happened. Maybe the officer’s death itself won’t be explored more, but his mysterious death may be the first in a series of mysterious, unexplainable deaths that will be investigated in the next game. For one reason or another, I feel like the inclusion of this story about a mysterious death can’t just be a red herring, but will be related to the events of Life is Strange 2 in some way or another.
There is a lot to do and find in Captain Spirit, and chances are that most of it is just background information for Chris’s own self-contained story. But we know based off of what the developer’s have said that there are some clues here. And I’m sure that in my three playthroughs I’ve still managed to miss some things. Luckily, there’s a whole community tying to find and make sense of everything. Hopefully some of the points I’ve made in this article will get some deeper discussions started. And if nothing else, we know that more information about Life is Strange 2 will be revealed in August before the launch of the game’s first episode on September 27.