It’s been an odd last few days. First we had Square Enix hosting an AMA for Hajime Tabata on Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and now this. On the 28th of January, another tangentially related Ask Me Anything (AMA) took place. DONTNOD Entertainment were the development team behind the ironically forgotten title “Remember Me.” It detailed the exploits of an amnesiac woman (Nilin) waking up in a company lab, before escaping an attack on the building by the local resistance. As her memory slowly returned to her, she discovered she could alter other people’s memories, fragmenting them and re-arranging them to fit any narrative she chose. This ability of hers was called “Memory Remix” and was one of the most unique and innovative ideas within the game. Sadly, it was considered an average game, but the Memory Remix is an original concept that was forgotten. Until now that is.
Life Is Strange is the latest offering from DONTNOD Entertainment. They have revised the memory remix concept and applied it to a brand new game. Prior to the release of Life Is Strange, DONTNOD Entertainment decided they’d host an AMA on reddit for their upcoming title’s release in two days. The story for Life Is Strange focuses on Max (Maxine), a woman who has a power similar to Nilin’s. She is becoming an adult and making crucial decisions that will follow her forever, as well as accepting fate. It’s a coming of age story with a twist, essentially. We sifted through all the comments to bring you the most important information gleaned from this community interview. Enjoy!
DONTNOD Entertainment opened the floor by mentioning that English isn’t their first language, making their French nationality known. They then answered a couple of questions, letting fans know the game trailers and development diaries were created by Square Enix. It appears DONTNOD still liked the idea of Nilin’s memory remix ability and thought about applying the concept to an entire game. Life Is Strange was decided to be a narrative adventure style game that shows little actions can have big consequences.
It appears at this current time that the only supported languages for Life Is Strange are English and French, but DONTNOD said they were wanting to add Russian and more if they can. They explained localisation of a game takes a long time to get right — not just the translation, but also the implementation and quality assurance process. In a truly benevolent offer, Tolma4 Team (the ones behind most of TellTale’s translations) offered to translate Life Is Strange for DONTNOD for free. The soundtrack for Life Is Strange has been inspired by modern indie folk music as the developers felt it helped keep the aspect of “real life” and nostalgia in the game. The soundtrack is a mixture of licensed music and musical scores composed with the help of Jonathon Morali. There’s even one or two Syd Matters tracks in the game. For the other licensed tracks, the directors and the audio’s designer have chosen many different tracks that will be announced sometime in the near future.
For the story, DONTNOD took inspiration from Twin Peaks. They liked the idea of a remote island where everyone knew each other, with dark secrets and closeted skeletons just waiting to be uncovered. They borrowed David Lynch’s character ideas, creating strong stereotypical characters, but expanding on development far outside their boundaries. DONTNOD want to break the clichés and stereotypes of these characters and show they can be far more than just those things. The standard length of the first episode of Life Is Strange runs roughly 2 hours, but they found many players like to explore everything and it should be more like 3-4 hours. The length ultimately depends on one’s play style.
The story for Life Is Strange is heavily anchored in reality. It deals with real issues like isolation, social issues, family relationships, innocence and people going missing. The idea is to tell a realistic story with mild supernatural elements to it. The tornado will be an important element of the game, and as you progress through the episodes, the themes get darker and twisted.
Character and story are ultimately the most important aspects of Life Is Strange. There will be normal point-and-click puzzles that require the use of the rewind ability. This isn’t a puzzle game with a story however, it’s primarily a narrative driven game. The controls are designed to be intuitive and easy to grasp. The puzzles aren’t hard, just clever, and unlike their previous games, there are no quick-time events.
There is no limit to how many times the player can rewind or when. The gameplay mechanics will evolve and change with the story. The style of the game is told like modern TV shows, building tension, having key reveals, cliffhangers and other elements similar to The Sopranos or Breaking Bad. There will be additional backstory to certain characters for those who search hard. There will also be easter eggs in the game as well as trophies on PS4 with a platinum trophy included. For people who are curious about the game but reluctant, there is even a trial mode of sorts. They can buy each episode individually or buy episode one and get the season pass later. The developers want all types of people to try the game and see if they like it, but added that the best value is the season pass.
There will be no pre-loading on the Xbox One and the PS4, but DONTNOD have made sure fans can purchase the game as soon as it’s available this Friday at 00:01 UTC, so it’s available slightly earlier in the US. DONTNOD have worked hard to keep the release window as short as possible, so no one goes without. The episodes are being aimed at six weeks between each release with the objective to offer players a stable release schedule. For those who are interested, the game can be pre-purchased now for $4.99 on Steam.
Life Is Strange is looking like it will be a unique experience. With small decisions having major impact, the occasional branching storyline, character backstory, fun and intuitive puzzles, it is definitely one to keep an eye on. I loved Remember Me so I will be. For anyone interested in far more in depth details, they can access the entire reddit AMA here. As always, if you wish to comment or just like what we do here at the Nation, stalk us on Twitter.