Fans of Dontnod Entertainment's supernatural-ish high school drama, Life is Strange, were given a surprise at E3 2017. A three-episode prequel, titled Life is Strange: Before the Storm, would be arriving before the end of the year to help flesh out the original game's story.
Following E3, here's everything we know about Life is Strange: Before the Storm.
This is NOT Life is Strange 2
Dontnod Entertainment has stated in the past that Life is Strange 2 is in development. Based on a previous interview with Shacknews, Life is Strange 2 will go in somewhat of a different direction, possibly leaving Arcadia Bay behind entirely.
On top of that, Dontnod Entertainment is currently wrapping up work on Vampyr, the studio's take on the action-RPG genre set in a vampire-infested London. That game is set to release in November on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
So then, what is Life is Strange: Before the Storm? This is a project from Deck Nine Games, who have identified themselves as fans of the original game. They have their own story set in Arcadia Bay to tell, going back in time three years.
Before the Storm tells the story of a 16-year-old Chloe Price, Max Caulfield's best friend from the original game. Max is nowhere to be found in the game, because she had just moved out of Arcadia Bay. Chloe is also fresh off the tragic death of her father, meaning she's experienced some heavy losses in her recent past. As one might imagine under these circumstances, Chloe is lashing out at the world and looking to express herself and rebel in any way she can.
"[Chloe] is burning bridges," Co-Game Director Chris Floyd said to Shacknews. "At school, at home, her mom is maybe moving on with her boyfriend, Chloe feels like she's alone against the whole world. That's where we pick up. But our story is really about something we feel everyone can identify with. That moment in your life when a certain someone comes into your life and just changes everything. For Chloe, in our story, that's Rachel Amber."
Fans of the original game will remember Rachel Amber as one of its central mysteries. Rachel's importance was stressed in the original game, but her actual character was merely hinted at through objects found in the world. Before the Storm tells her story, pointing to a popular girl with her scars that she's kept private.
While the original game pointed to a strange supernatural event, it looks like Before the Storm will focus more on unlocking the mysteries in Rachel's life, while helping Chloe come to terms with her losses. Getting to that endpoint this time around will be a little different, though.
Some might be wondering how Before the Storm will implement the original game's rewind mechanic without superpowered Max Caulfield. The answer is simply that they won't. That's not to say that choices won't be consequential, as many of the game's choices will impact what happens later in the story.
"The great thing about Life is Strange is that no choice is right or wrong," Floyd added. "All of them are valid, all of them will take the story in an interesting direction. We worked very hard to make sure that we validate every choice that the player makes, make those agonizing choices, and then try to pay them off."
Look for the same kind of consequence-based decision making from the original game. Making certain choices will either add or delete dialogue options in later conversations, so choose carefully. Without Max's time powers to act as a crutch, there is no "undo" feature this time around.
The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm will launch on August 31 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Look for the subsequent two episodes to launch in the months following.