Life is Strange is the epitome of a sleeper hit. Released in 2015 with little prior hype, this episodic adventure game developed by Dontnod went on to clinch an impressive number of gaming award nominations and wins. At last count the game has sold in excess of one million digital copies worldwide with the recent release of a special limited edition pushing sales figures even higher. However, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Life is Strange is the astounding fandom that has ensued. A quick search of Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest reveals a treasure trove of Life is Strange inspired cosplay, fan-art, and fan-fiction, the likes of which puts most other gaming franchises to shame. Now, more than a year since its initial release, the biggest question on fans’ minds is: will there be a Life is Strange 2?
Alas, nobody knows for sure. An erroneous Reddit translation has led many sites to wrongly announce confirmed plans for a sequel. In reality, the folks at Dontnod have mostly kept quiet on the issue, only dropping vague hints at “the opportunity to do another season”. Argh, the suspense!
That being said, we wanted to share a list of 5 things that Life is Strange fans hope to see in a (potential) sequel, should development of Life Is Strange 2 ever be confirmed. These suggestions have been put together from a wealth of actual feedback gathered from hundreds of ‘Strangers’ from all over the world. You can check out the original fan suggestions here and here – or just keep on reading this post! Warning: minor spoilers ahead.
Dontnod, if you’re listening, we hope you feel inspired by the fan-love!
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1. Keep The Art Style and Symbolism – It’s Hella Awesome!
Let’s be honest. Compared to other ‘big name’ games, Life is Strange’s graphics certainly didn’t push any hardware or engine boundaries. The game also received minor criticisms for its at times awkward animations and low-res textures, along with problematic lip-syncing (partially addressed in a recent patch).
But, in truth, fans of Life is Strange were hardly bothered by such technical imperfections. Instead, what ‘Strangers’ paid more attention to was the game’s unique overall art style. Arcadia Bay’s sunshiney / stormy hues, soft color palette, hand-painted textures, and ‘impressionist rendering’ all helped make the world of Life is Strange feel both visually unique and emotionally intimate. The subtle use of aesthetic symbolism to weave an unfolding story (e.g. Chloe’s blue hair being the same shade as the blue butterfly) was also highly effective, with many fans paying attentive notice.
“Arcadia Bay’s sunshiney / stormy hues, soft color palette, hand-painted textures, and ‘impressionist rendering’ all helped make the world of Life is Strange feel both visually unique and emotionally intimate.” – Alfie
Indeed, these same artistic qualities are what fans want to see again in a potential Life is Strange 2. As expressed by two Strangers:
Others echoed a similar wish for the artistic style to remain.
(Um, okay, we admit maybe the lip-syncing does still need a little work? Maybe a sequel is just the right fix!)
2. Wowser! That’s What We Call Music!
From the upbeat indie pop fuzz of Sparklehorse’s ‘Piano Fire’ to the daydream soundscape of Syd Matters’ ‘Obstacles’, the music of Life is Strange served as the perfect aural backdrop to some of the game’s most poignant moments. None of the songs are jarring; with each of them (most of which are semi-acoustic) melding into a coherent melodic and lyrical whole that compliments the gentle visuals of the game. Even better, songs were at times also foregrounded in some scenes to sketch the musical interests of key characters like Max and Chloe, helping players develop a shared aural bond with their personalities.
“None of the songs are jarring; with each of them (most of which are semi-acoustic) melding into a coherent melodic and lyrical whole that compliments the gentle visuals of the game.” – Alfie
This beautiful harmony of sight and sound is part of why so many ‘Strangers’ fell in love with Life is Strange. As best expressed by Hannah Telle (voice actress of Max Caulfield) herself:
“… one of the coolest aspects of being a part of this game [Life is Strange] … is because the soundtrack is amazing … There’s so many musicians that I really, really admire that are on this soundtrack. It’s, like, it’s so cool when there’s … good music playing in the background … It makes everything better.” – Hannah Telle
Naysayers might describe the soundtrack as being overly ‘hipster’ (whatever that means). However, fans of Life is Strange couldn’t care less. On the contrary, many are clamoring for Dontnod to feature more of the same kind of music in a should-be Life is Strange 2. Max & Matt certainly feel so.
Fellow strangers share the same sentiments.
We personally hope Dontnod decides to feature a few songs from Koethe. He’s a one-man indie artist and diehard ‘Stranger’ who actually wrote an entire album of music inspired by his love for Life is Strange. Now that’s fan commitment! His tracks would be a perfect fit for a sequel, don’t you think?
— Continues on Page 2: More Max and Chloe?
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