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Angsty Teenage Backtalk is a Mechanic in Life is Strange: Before the Storm

by Dylan Siegler

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When it was announced that in the upcoming prequel to 2015’s Life is StrangeLife is Strange: Before the Storm, players would be controlling the first game’s deuteragonist Chloe as opposed to Max, it was clear that there would need to be some core mechanic changes. The most obvious change is that Chloe doesn’t have the ability to manipulate time and space the way Max does in the original game. Due to this, developer Deck Nine Games had to come up with a new, Chloe-specific mechanic. This new mechanic, called “Backtalk,” was revealed recently at this year’s Gamescom.

From trailers and early gameplay, it looks like Chloe acts in Before the Storm very similarly to the angsty, needlessly rebellious teenager that she is in Life is Strange. So having the ability to Backtalk adults is the perfect mechanic for her. Polygon explains that the Backtalk mechanic works by the player giving sassy responses to adults in the hopes of wearing them down and eventually giving in to what Chloe wants. The player needs to use context clues to determine what angsty line will elicit the most desirable response from adults and there will even be a Backtalk gauge so the player can tell how much they’re pissing their target off.

Everyone who remembers their teenage years (whether they were a rebellious teenager their self or just knew rebellious teenagers) will likely do a lot of cringing at this mechanic. Before the Storm‘s lead writer Zak Garris states, “If you’re cringing a little bit at the angst on that level, that is something we’re striving to do, because Chloe is a teenager and we’re trying to tell her story.” So expect the game, particularly Chloe’s behavior, to be as realistically cringe-worthy as your own teenagehood. For those who are unsure if they can take a game filled to the brim with teenage melodrama, don’t worry. Garris promises that Chloe won’t be just a teenage brat for the entirety of the three episodes, stating that we’ll also see more reflective and emotional sides of her.

The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm becomes available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 31. You can watch the game’s new Gamescom trailer below.

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