Before the Storm is the prequel to Life is Strange, featuring Chloe as the main character. The story takes place three years prior to the events of Life is Strange, where Chloe is a rebellious 16-year-old who strikes up a friendship with Rachel Amber, a popular girl with a life that seems to be heading in the right direction.
Development has been handed over from Don’t Nod Entertainment to Deck Nine, who previously made Pain and the Ratchet and Clank collection for the Playstation 3. With story being central to the experience, it’s somewhat reassuring to see that Ashly Burch, voice actor for Chloe in Life is Strange and probably one of the people who knows the character best, has served as a writing consultant.
Life is Strange was a really striking game that took place over five episodes. Before the Storm is supposed to be shorter with only three episodes, but I don’t mind if it means going back to Arcadia Bay and finding out more about Chloe. So with that, here’s what I’m looking forward to with Before the Storm.
This post contains spoilers for Life is Strange.
A strong focus on Chloe
Although Life is Strange mostly followed Max and her experiences, Chloe dominated as a fascinating character and Max’s closest friend. They were together again having drifted apart a few years ago, and it was clear that Chloe had changed thanks to a family tragedy and changes in her home life. There is a gap between the Chloe we met via Max, and the Chloe that we saw in one of Max’s time travelling episodes, where her father was still alive and she seemed… (sob) happy.
Chloe also doesn’t have time travel or rewinding powers – she has backtalk! Completely fitting for the character, ‘backtalk’ is a type of conversation mode that lets Chloe use her smart mouth to provoke or get her way. It sounds like you might be able to play Chloe as completely sassy, or more persuasive. Backtalk, and the emphasis on conversations and relationships will hopefully give us even further insight into Chloe and the people in her life.
Although Chloe can’t travel in time, it sounds like in keeping with the tone of Life is Strange, and the emphasis on Chloe’s inner life, that we’ll get a glimpse into Chloe’s psyche, and her dreams and inner thoughts. That’s a nice way, I think, of keeping the dreamy, introspective and magical realism feel of Life is Strange, while still keeping it true to the character.
Meeting Rachel Amber
Rachel cast a huge shadow across Life is Strange as Chloe’s missing friend. The search for her touched all aspects of the story. Chloe clearly had a lot of love for Rachel and her disappearance had a huge impact so it will be interesting to see what Rachel was really like, and how her and Chloe were when they were together. They were supposed to be unlikely friends from different worlds, so how did their fates tie together?
Discovering what happened to Rachel was also one of the most striking moments of Life is Strange, so I’m really looking forward to seeing Rachel and Chloe at this earlier stage, even if my heart isn’t quite ready for it!
The music was a big part of Life is Strange, and this looks set to continue with Before the Storm. British indie band Daughter has written the score for the game, and previewed a track recently as well.
Mixtape mode will also let you create a mix from the licensed soundtrack, and listen along to it. I discovered a few songs and bands thanks to the last game, and the song choice really fitted with the narrative and Max’s dreamy disposition. I look forward to a soundtrack that will reflect not only the general spirit of the game and story, but of Chloe herself. Maybe, with Chloe’s harder edge and more rebellious streak, we’ll get some good punk songs mixed in as well?
Easter eggs and references
Although Before the Storm is supposed to be able to be played without spoiling Life is Strange, the character of Chloe is so tied to Life is Strange that I feel like you might miss out if you haven’t played it.
Since Before the Storm takes place 3 years prior to Life is Strange, I’m looking forward to seeing what Arcadia Bay is like (although I’m not sure that it will really be too different since it’s a small and sleepy town) and perhaps seeing little cameos from other characters and familiar locations from a different perspective. I want to see a few Easter eggs that maybe reference characters or events that happened in Life is Strange. If we’re going back into this universe, it will be nice for the game to give a few nods to returning players.
Although there were different ways that scenarios could turn out, really there were only two major endings for Life is Strange: bae, or bay.
Before the Storm is supposed to have the same choice and consequence-driven narrative, but with multiple endings depending on the choices you make. Since it is a prequel, those endings will likely have to tie in to Life is Strange somehow. Even so, having a narrative where you really feel like your choice affect the end game is always good fun.
Before the Storm Episode 1 is out on 31 August.