3. #Pricefield… Again? Maybe.
Max and Chloe’s intimate friendship was without a doubt the heart and soul of Life Is Strange. Yes, other cast members like Warren and Kate played key supporting roles. However, much of the game’s most powerful themes – love, loyalty, redemption, acceptance, etc. – hinged heavily on the two likeable and complimentarily contrasting female leads.
However, should a potential Life Is Strange 2 actually feature Max and Chloe, again? Alas, fans are pretty divided on this one. On one hand, many Strangers hope for a full-fledged return of the Partners in Time, with many feeling there’s much left to be told of Chloe’s, but especially Max’s, Story.
Others, however, believe the right way forwards for Life is Strange is to close the chapter on Pricefield, even as their hearts scream ‘no!’:
Dontnod themselves appear to be veering towards leaving Max and Chloe behind in favor of casting new characters wrapped around similar themes.
“We can really go with other characters, other locations, but still keep the identity of the game, the themes of the game.” – Koch, Life is Strange’s Co-Game Director
All in all, we believe the most even-handed suggestions come from fans who hope either Max or Chloe, or both, could be briefly mentioned and/or make a small cameo appearance n Life is Strange 2 – if only for quiet fan-service and maybe to address some lingering questions from the first game. Not as full-on leads, though.
“On one hand, many Strangers hope for a full-fledged return of the Partners in Time … Others, however, believe the right way forwards for Life is Strange is to close the chapter on Pricefield … [Still other] fans … hope either Max or Chloe, or both, could be briefly mentioned and/or make a small cameo appearance n Life is Strange 2” – Alfie
Regardless of whether Max or Chloe actually make an appearance, one thing is clear: fans are hoping for characters in Life Is Strange 2 to show an equal amount of depth, likeability, and accessibility to those featured in the first game. What it all comes down to is creating personalities that fans are able to empathise with – to feel a character’s pain, joy, suffering, and triumphs in ways similar to their own lives. Ashly Burch, voice actress of Chloe, expresses this resonating point when describing her own experiences working on Life is Strange::
“I give my best performances when I really feel empathy for the character … and I grew to care so much about Chloe and imagining that type of person, imagining a person that has lost so much, and is so young and is trying so hard to figure out how to deal with all the pain that she has … I care so much about this game because I know that it is such a fantastic story that makes people feel like they’re not alone … I feel people relate to Chloe and respond to Chloe because so many people carry a similar pain.”
We believe it is this profound existential sensitivity which fans ultimately want to experience again in Life is Strange 2, whether it be through Max / Chloe’s eyes or otherwise. As nicely summed up by Justin:
4. Chaos Theory, Improved
In Life Is Strange, choices matter – but only to a limited degree. Whilst a few big decisions had the potential to shape the outcome of several key events, the truth is most lesser actions carried out by Max had little to no impact on the unfolding story (apart from maybe a few tweaks to her aesthetic surroundings or alternate comments from other characters). Reminiscent of Mass Effect 3, such ‘Red Herring’ choices ultimately left many fans mildly disheartened as they realized that many of the smaller decisions they’d made really didn’t matter all that much in the end.
This ‘faux butterfly effect’ is something that fans are hoping to see remedied in Life is Strange 2. Ultimately, Strangers are eagerly wishing for a more nuanced actualization of Chaos Theory, where seemingly minor choices carry a much more meaningful and unexpected bearing on overarching story developments.
“In Life Is Strange, choices matter – but only to a limited degree … This ‘faux butterfly effect’ is something that fans are hoping to see remedied in Life is Strange 2.” – Alfie
Of course, limited developmental funds and time would naturally (and pragmatically) prevent Dontnod from creating an unwieldy number of overly complex storyline branches. Nonetheless, Sano helpfully suggests a possible adoption of Quantic Dream’s nuanced choice-driven system – specifically, Heavy Rain’s – which may give players a greater, yet still programmatically possible, sense of impactful decision-making in Life is Strange 2.
5. More Taboo Stuff? Are You Cereal?
Part of what made fans gravitate so strongly to Life is Strange was its daringness to tackle taboo subjects. The game did not shy away from exploring shades of suicide, drug use, bullying, domestic abuse, fetishism, death, and much more. These themes were handed with a kind of graceful honesty that made Life is Strange feel accessible, grounded in reality, even amidst its fantastical time-bending premise. Some critics have labelled Life is Strange a teen drama; however, in reality, the game actually handles a wide range of mature topics without relying on exaggerated overstatements or gamified shoehorning typical of most other video games. ‘Stranger’ Kyle sums it up best:
“This is the first time I’ve seen experiences I’ve lived through depicted in a video game, and it felt amazing … This isn’t some Disney Channel sitcom where the worst things people do are steal your homework and everything works out in the end. Dontnod did not shy away from showing the awful things that can happen.” – Kyle McKenny
Dontnod’s persistent thematic bravery and respect for the audience is something fans are wishing to see more of in a possible sequel.
And of course, further explorations of sexual identity and fluid-gender romances should be encouraged:
Now, discussing serious themes does not entail being serious all the time. We for one would greatly welcome the inclusion of even more quirky quotable quotes from the main characters, shaka brah style!
Again, feel free to check out this and this post for more fan feedback other than the ones mentioned here.
What do YOU want to see in Life is Strange 2? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Who knows? Dontnod might just take you up on your ideas!
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