Dontnod have confirmed that Life is Strange is aimed at a Telltale and Heavy Rain audience according to a recent interview in VG247. The interview details Life is Strange’s similarities to Telltale and Heavy Rain. This includes the interactive narrative experience they wish to deliver. We also learn of the return of the “Rewind” mechanic from Dontnod’s game “Remember Me”. Specifically, we learn that Life is Strange has been inspired by the potential of the mechanic and aims to properly utilize it.
The Remember Me developer made its intentions clear in the interview by claiming that Life is Strange “is definitely a game for the Telltale and Heavy Rain fans”. In the interview Dontnod particularly indicate a focus on complex decision-making and episodic storytelling. Dontnod explain that “We are putting a lot of effort into crafting a slower-paced game that again really emphasizes choice, story and character development,” before going on to explain that ““The consequences of a choice you make in a given episode will carry onto the following ones. The main narrative will move forward in the same direction for all players, but your experience of it will be customized depending on how you have interacted with the story’s protagonists. We will cram a lot of details into every cutscene and line of dialog that will make every play through feel very unique. There will be a few different endings, but not 67 of them.”
The interview also reveals that the game is inspired by Remember Me’s greatest criticism. Remeber Me was criticized for under-utilizing its “Rewind” mechanic. This was a mechanic where the player could mess with people’s memories by going into them and changing them. Dontnod have explained that Life is Strange will employ a similar mechanic, but one that takes place in real life. What this means is that Life is Strange is aimed at a Telltale and Heavy Rain audience, and that it will be aimed at a time travel audience. Time Travel. This is a game about going back in time and changing stuff. Not only that, but it’s the central premise of the game. Indie fans should also get excited – as Dontnod have pointed to a third demographic. In addition to Telltale and Heavy Rain fans, and in addition to Time Travel fans, Indie fans will also get a slice of the pie.
“We went for an impressionistic feel, we picked indie and folk music as a reference, autumn as the season that the game is set in… And in terms of location, we immediately thought of the Pacific Northwest, as we believe it has a very strong identity and general poetic mood that perfectly fits our intentions,” explains Dontnod.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m not excited. I enjoyed Remember Me, and fondly remember daydreaming about “what could have been” with its rewind mechanic. I particularly like the idea of multiple endings. Hopefully, Life is Strange’s endings can be based off of a large number of consequences, rather than last minute decisions. This was something that Heavy Rain excelled at (albeit it excelled at little else). Citing Heavy Rain as a reference is then a good sign. Hopefully, they take Heavy Rain’s narrative structure, but rely on Telltale’s storytelling for inspiration. David Cage is an imaginative guy, but the stories he likes to tell are often absurd.
A recent game trailer and dev diary can be both viewed below. Life is Strange will be released episodically. The first episode will be released worldwide on January 30th. it will be released on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It can also be pre-ordered on Steam.