Life is Strange, DontNod’s follow-up to the actually-rather-good Remember Me, is released tomorrow. Well, the first episode is, at least. As is the fashion, the game is an episodic release over Steam, PSN and Xbox Live, with each episode currently scheduled to arrive at roughly six-week intervals.
Life is Strange follows protagonist Maxine Caufield’s investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a young girl in small-town middle-America. Dontnod took inspiration for the game’s aesthetic from independent filmmakers, and it shows – folk rock makes up the game’s soundtrack, and everything has that warm autumnal glow that comes from an idealised version of quiet suburbia, with sun-kissed trees swaying gently in a summer breeze and houses filled with snippets which hint at the secrets held by the town’s inhabitants.
Life is Strange‘s major gameplay hook comes in the use of rewinding time in order to fix your mistakes, choose a different outcome to a scene, or solve simple environmental puzzles, though the developer says that the decisions you make have far-reaching consequences – presumably to prevent players from abusing the system in order to achieve a “perfect” playthrough, and of course to increase playability. Of course, a branching narrative is nothing new in gaming, and developers often make bold claims about the malleability of their stories, but even if it doesn’t quite live up to the hype from the developer, Life is Strange still looks like it could be one of the more interesting experiences this year.
I previewed the game last year following a behind-closed-doors press event held by publisher Square Enix in London, and what I saw left me quietly optimistic for the game. If you want to know a bit more before laying down your cash, there is of course the customary launch trailer to look at. You can watch it below.