Life is Strange was the cult classic of 2015; a story about growing up, accepting responsibility for one’s actions, learning to cope with both the everyday mundane and the horrors of the world, all while trying to sustain friendships and stay true to one’s self as one grows up. It was an absolutely amazing game. Cut from the same cloth as modern surrealistic media like Twin Peaks and Stranger Things, what started out as the life of an artistic teenage girl turned into a twisting supernatural world filled with mystical elements, horrible consequences, and death. It was an amazing game and one that I often find myself jumping back to on occasion, despite having played it altogether too much already.
2017 brought about a two-fold announcement for those interested in the series; a sequel, made by the same developers who made the original game (Dontnod Entertainment), and a prequel, developed by Deck Nine. Formerly known as Idol Minds, Deck Nine was responsible for games such as Pain, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, and the Cool Boarders series. Going from those titles to a series focused on story telling and strong character development is a drastic change of pace from their usual fare, and I was definitely interested in learning more.
Before the Storm started with a bit of controversy before the game was released, however. The long and short of it is that SAG-AFTRA, the guild for voice actors, issued a strike to protect its workers in the industry. Ashly Burch, the original voice actress for Chloe (Max’s best friend and protagonist of Before the Storm), did not provide voice overs for the game since she was involved with the union. Deck Nine decided to hire a scab instead, actress Rhianna DeVries, to provide Chloe’s voice. This left a sour taste in my mouth, as it did for others, but the decision was already made. Burch stayed on the project as a consultant and writer, much to the relief of many.
So, the big question, after all is said and done, is this: does it work?