Life is Strange - Square Enix, Remember Me, rewinding time


#1

A second chance for DONTNOD, the devs behind Remember Me.

There has recently been a lot of discussion on the merits and disadvantages of remakes or reboots in games and we here on the Square Enix blog have been keeping a keen eye on your opinions and responding to them where possible. But what if we now announced an entirely new IP in the official Square Enix family? What if this title was wholly different to anything we have ever attempted before, both in gameplay and narrative? What if this title was released digitally as regular episodic content, with each new chapter building and evolving based on the choices you made in previous episodes? What if we now gave all of this a name: Life is Strange?

Max Caulfield has been absent from Arcadia Bay, Oregon for five years now. Upon returning home she discovers that Rachel Amber, a fellow senior at school, has disappeared under mysterious and rather uncomfortable circumstances. While trying to uncover the truth Max reunites with an old friend, Chloe, and makes a startling discovery: Max has the power to rewind time…


#2

I’d give it a shot. I enjoyed Remember Me, wonky fighting mechanics and all.


#3

What if this title was wholly different to anything we have ever attempted before, both in gameplay and narrative?

They say that, but they don’t specify what will be exactly the gameplay. I read some speculation that it will be a graphic adventure in the line of The Walking Dead & others from Telltale, given that they say it will be episodic and it will build on the choices from previous eps you made.


#4

It won’t deliver truly awesome gameplay. DONTNOD took a huge hit after Remember Me tanked. I doubt they have the resources, or frankly the urge, to meld storytelling with some mainstream Tomb Raider or shooter gameplay.


#5

I really enjoyed Remember Me although more for the music, story-line, art design and ambiance, and French sci-fi feel, it’s tragic that mainstream gaming isn’t large enough (despite the constantly increasing sales figures) to support an “alternative” mainstream AAA game. I wonder if Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls tanked as well. DOTNOD ought to try and re-release Remember Me on PS4/Xbox One at least.

I enjoy these sorts of “interactive fiction” games. There my equivalent of HBO. Some people watch Orange is the New Black, i play Uncharted 3 and Remember Me.


#6

First episode comes out tomorrow! Greenman gave me a coupon so I am pre-ordered and ready to check it out.

As a small town Oregon boy, I’m very curious as to why a French company set their game there and am interested in seeing what they come up with.

Trailer.


#7

Oh.

This is gonna be massively popular with the teenage / early twenties crowd.
I’m getting a very heavy “Donnie Darko” vibe.

It plays like a Telltale game but even though I enjoy those games I think they’ve done a better job here. It doesn’t spoon feed you every possible choice and the endgame summary had me missing tons of stuff. The atmosphere is palpable, the sound design and music is worth the price of admission alone and even the voice acting is good. The ambience in each scene makes you want to just sit down and take it in and the game lets you do that. It has heavy focus on cinematography with odd angles, birds eye view and kind of seems to come from a Hitchcockian place.

The foreshadowing, the visions all seem right out of Donnie Darko but without feeling plagiarized. The end scene had the exact feeling from the “Mad World”, Patrick Swayze crying, Darko dying scene. (such an awesome scene btw)

My only real criticism is that it had a few minor bugs if you mess up your rewind timing and it feels a little short.

I think most people will be quite surprised by this game.


#8

I enjoyed it, as well, and the only I stopped playing because I finished it. I hope they can keep the pace of releasing a new episode every other month.

Some other thoughts…

Max’s voice actor is doing a great job. I thought I was carefully exploring but I also missed a few things.


#9

I must echo the above… the acting, music and writing is very well done. I wasn’t sure about the game mechanics at first but they really do a good job with those as well. While it won’t inspire Dark Souls levels of devotion, it was an enjoyable way to pass the morning and I can’t wait for the next episode.


#10

I doubt that.


#11

Supposedly the teen-early 20s writers at Polygon thought the writing was stilted, written by a man, and/or already out of date.


#12

Well, they gave it a higher score than Grim Fandango, so it can’t be all bad.


#13

This is very good. Or at least, it delivers the high school slice of life time traveler experience it implied. If that doesn’t sound good to you (and it is a bit heavy on the tropes) I guess you won’t like it. But I’m glad to see games move ever so slightly into the real world. A very nice evening of gaming, and I’m looking forward to the rest.


#14

Giaddon, you are the most positive gamer I’ve had the pleasure of reading. You find enjoyment in so many games. Cheers!


#15

I just finished episode 1.

The puzzles are light. The game has some cringe worthy teen wannabe dialogue at times. But the protagonists are interesting. The storyline soon sucked me in and I was really lost in it by the end.

The time rewind mechanic lets you agonise over your dilemmas without needing to save and reload. And, even then, the “right” answer is never clear. You’ll never be sure what what the choice you made will mean in the future. I really enjoyed that mechanic (and using it to unlock some of the optional photo achievements), though it’s much simpler than the very cool “memory remixes” in Remember Me.

I also enjoyed the curve ball thrown at the end of the episode.

All in all, I really liked it. As Giaddon said, it was a very nice evening of gaming. I am looking forward to part 2 in March.

Wendelius


#16

I really enjoyed this game, maybe more than the Walking Dead Season 1, which was an amazing example of adventure gaming. The writing is excellent, the characters and story are very well done and the rewind mechanic works amazingly well. I’m going to wish I had it in every future dialog heavy adventure game I play. I’m looking forward to episode 2!


#17

Has Episode 2 been confirmed yet? Or is this going to be like Sin Episodes? (Btw, that was a pretty good Episode 1, even on its own. Way better than the original Sin, I thought).


#18

As far as I can find just that its going to be in March. I can’t wait that long!!!


#19

Polygon opinion piece regarding Life is Strange, trigger warnings, player agency, and suicide. Some spoilers for Episode 2.

The writer of the article failed to prevent a suicide in real life when she was 15. In Life is Strange Ep 2, as the player, she failed to prevent an in-game suicide and was then shown player stats that revealed that 80% of players succeeded in her place. This revelation made her second-guess her real life experience.

Having agency over that scene shook me to my very core. Being expected to relive one of the worst days of my life and experiencing the same outcome was tough. Being told five minutes later that the outcome was my fault? That was incredibly distressing. Years of convincing myself I couldn’t have saved Sarah suddenly came into question. Even worse, so many others did a better job.

If someone else had been in my shoes, would Sarah still be here today? If Sarah had gone to somebody else for support, would they have been able to convince her that things would be OK?

Am I responsible for the fact she took her life?


#20

Interesting read.

She is obviously struggling to come to terms with how the narrative of this game has affected her and that come through in her piece. For instance, these sentences follow each other and are fundamentally at odds"

To be clear, [B]I’m not saying that video game creators cannot insert this kind of narrative thread into video games. [/B]There is no reason that my distressing, relatively rare experiences should prevent a creator from telling this story. [B]Your responsibility as a creator is to your work, not the personal circumstances of everyone who may play the game.[/B]

What I do want to suggest, however, is that far more than any other form of media, [B]creators of video games need to be aware that this medium not only increases engagement but also increases the emotional burden on affected players in a unique way.[/B]

Now you can argue that some of her distress is at the presentation of the gamification factor in her choices and outcome, but still, you can’t on one hand give game creators freedom to create an experience and on the other suggest they need to insert trigger warnings to wrap it in cotton wool for every conceivable real world player experience. That is just not realistic or fair to creators, nor a burden expected of any other media. I don’t think games should be a separate case in that regard.

I think this article would have been more powerful as a validation of the power of video games to effect emotional response within a player. To be fair, it most certainly is that in part, but I find that aspect diminished by the underlying tone suggesting creators should take more responsibility to protect players.

I’d be interested in the time lapse between game completion and article publication. I suspect it was not long and some of that tone has maybe come across more strongly than intended, where a bit more time for reflection may have tempered it slightly.

Either way, I think it remains it is a wonderful example of a game creator doing something right, both because of and despite the distress it caused the player.