Life Is Strange Strange Days
Bgames form the backbone of the videogame calendar, but games that evoke the feel of indie films are much harder to find. Life Is Strange from French developers Dontnod is doing just that. “A big influence for us is the mood of independent movies,” says Dontnod co- founder Jean- Maxime Moris. “It’s why we created this unique art style by hand- painting every object in the game. And why the soundtrack is an indie- folk mix of licensed tracks and original music.”
Split into five episodic chapters, Life Is Strange is the story of Max, a student who can rewind time. Having left Arcadia Bay years prior, Max returns to discover her former best friend Chloe has taken a rebellious turn after the death of her father and the disappearance of her friend Rachel. Despite the game’s welcoming, painterly look it’s clear something bad’s going down.
“The peaceful mood is very deliberate,” says Moris. “But there is something dark lurking in Arcadia Bay that the player will investigate, and the first step of this is the disappearance of Rachel.”
For Dontnod, whose last game Remember Me took the blockbuster route, Life Is Strange’s episodic nature stemmed from a desire to focus on character and story.
“We have a strong story to tell… People are used to splitting a strong story arc into sections that have mini story arcs of their own. We live in an HBO generation and this is definitely a factor in the resurgence of narrative- driven games.”
Developers wanted an indie, film festival feel.