Recently, four members of Deck Nine Games, the developer behind the upcoming Life is Strange: Before the Storm, took to Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) to answer fan questions. Those answering questions included Webb Pickersgill and Chris Floyd, the game’s two directors, Zak Garriss, the game’s lead writer, and David Hein, the game’s producer. The AMA took place today (August 10) at 8AM PST.
It was explained that while Before the Storm‘s return to Arcadia Bay, the setting of the first Life is Strange, was inspired by fans’ responses to have another game there, the idea to play as Chloe and explore the time in her life where Max is gone, her father dies and she meets Rachel was Deck Nine’s idea. The people at Deck Nine have made it clear that they are huge fans of the first game themselves, so they’ve always wanted to explore this area of Chloe’s life anyway. Deck Nine also confirmed that, like the first game, there will be plenty of pop culture references and there will be many Easter Eggs, particularly in regard to license plates. And although Chloe will be played by a different actress in this game than the first, Deck Nine stated that they are working with Philip Bache, who was the voice over director for the first game, as well as Chloe’s original voice actor to keep the character true to the way she was in the original while still making the appropriate changes considering this story takes place three years prior to the first game.
Something we’ve heard about but haven’t seen in any trailers or gameplay videos yet is Before the Storm‘s “Backtalk” feature. All we really know is that Chloe won’t have time-control abilities like Max had in the first game, so instead she has an ability called “Backtalk,” which is made to “translate Chloe’s witty and bold way of talking into gameplay.” Deck Nine stated they will explain more of what “Backtalk” entails at this year’s Gamescon, which will take place from August 23 through August 26.
One fan expressed that they felt that, from the trailers and gameplay videos so far, Before the Storm looks more like glorified fanfiction than its own video game that can stand on its own merit. Deck Nine explained that they’re hoping to draw people in with the return to Arcadia Bay and return of familiar characters, but that as far as the game’s story goes, it is very original and will be able to stand on its own. “Before the Storm will be going places — narratively, environmentally, and thematically — that the first game didn’t.” The AMA also confirmed that the game will see Blackwell Academy as more of typical high school, before it turned into the prestigious, art-centric school we see in the first game, and that Samuel will make an appearance in the game. It was also confirmed that there will be plenty of new characters in the game; Steph seems to be one that the Deck Nine team is particularly excited about.
A fan asked about how the choice-making mechanic will work in Before the Storm, given that fans who played the first game already know how the story will end. (In other words, how do you make choices if some of the choices seem to contradict what you already know happens?) To this, Deck Nine answered that while fans may know how Life is Strange‘s story ends, they don’t know how Before the Storm‘s story ends, so that will give legitimacy to any choices the player does or doesn’t make. They also stated that “even the most dedicated fan won’t know how Before the Storm is going to end.” From the gameplay videos we’ve seen so far, it seems like Chloe will be an unnecessarily rebellious teenager, as she was in the original game, regardless of the choices the player makes. It will certainly be interesting to see how Deck Nine manages to keep Chloe’s core character intact while maintaining the importance of choice that the first game is known for.
The Deluxe Edition of Before the Storm will include a “Farewell” episode in which players will play as Max once again. Up to this point, however, we didn’t really know anything else about this episode, including when in the timeline it will take place. During the AMA, Deck Nine officially announced that the Farewell episode will take place before Max leaves Arcadia Bay for the first time, placing this episode as chronologically the first in the Life is Strange timeline.