Quite a big surprise came out of the Xbox conference at E3 this year in the form of a Life Is Strange prequel titled Before the Storm. Of course, there were rumours abound regarding a prequel/sequel to the 2015 time traveling adventure game, but seeing as Max’s powers were a large part of the game, a prequel seemed to raise too many questions. Here we are though, with a new entry to the series following Chloe before Max arrived back in Arcadia Bay, and despite the lack of time powers, the trailer revealed some interesting scenarios to play through, and some scenes that will shed light on Chloe’s past.
There are some parts that feel rather confusing, such as the scene where a truck crashes into the car Chloe’s father is driving. Presumably, this is the car crash that killed him, referenced in the first game, but then we got a shot of Chloe in the back seat before it – wasn’t she at home with Max when it happened?
Only time will tell if the characters and environment of Life Is Strange and Arcadia Bay remain so interesting without the sci-fi element and Max’s guiding hand, but even if considered as simply an add-on to the original game to explain Chloe’s past whilst Max was gone, it could provide context to a lot of things surrounding her temperament and drive. It’s disappointing that Ashly Burch won’t be voicing Chloe, but with a new team handling the game there’s bound to be a lot that feels different.
One other major factor is that this is a prequel that fits tightly within already existing boundaries, but is still a decision-based game. Just how much can you change and choose in Before the Storm when the outcome needs to be a certain way? Or will they simply disregard continuity and have this prequel as more of a “what if” than a “what happened?” Still, seeing Chloe’s relationships form with Rachel and Frank, her brief time at Blackwell Academy, and how the other characters were before Max’s return will be interesting.
We recently got confirmation of a sequel being planned as well, so a lot more Life Is Strange is set to come. Overall the prequel is an odd choice, but it could be an interesting look into the lead-up to Rachel’s disappearance and Max’s return. Still, from what we’ve seen it looks fairly awkward, and the “illusion of choice” is never more apparent in such a restricted environment. At the moment this looks like it would’ve better suited as a single episode of DLC for the original game. Whilst we got an in-depth look into Before the Storm, and have seen nothing for Life Is Strange 2, the sequel still has much more of a hype factor surrounding it.