Life is Strange 2

Tell Me Why is the next narrative adventure game from Life is Strange developer Dontnod, Microsoft has announced tonight during X019.

Xbox Games Studios will partner with Dontnod to bring the game to Xbox One, Steam and Windows 10 PC in summer 2020.

It stars "the first playable video game hero from a major studio and publisher who is also transgender", Microsoft senior creative director Joseph Staten said in a statement today.

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Life is Strange 2 - JoshuaSquareEnix
As we move past Episode 1 on the road to #JourneysEnd, we approach a first for the Life is Strange franchise. With The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, there was an opportunity to create an experience not only additive to Life is Strange 2 (and more specifically Episode 2), but to expand the universe by focusing on one side character in-depth – transforming a secondary character into the hero of their very own game. Whilst a rich and touching experience in its own right, Chris appears in Life is Strange 2 Episode 2 to Sean and Daniel for the first time, but as a fully-fledged character to the player.

We spoke to Co-Creative Director Raoul Barbet and Square Enix Senior Game Designer Alejandro Gallardo about Captain Spirit, it’s connection to Episode 2, and what the experience meant to them.

What excited you about getting the opportunity to deepen a connection to a side character by giving them their own chapter?

Raoul: We had been wanting to create a smaller project which would allow us to further develop a character since the very beginning. We chose Chris because his story made for an interesting mirror to that of Sean and Daniel. Chris is roughly Daniel’s age, so we also talk about education and family through his relationship with his father. Of course, it was a first introduction of these themes before diving into them in LiS2 with Sean and Daniel. It made for an interesting parallel and it also allowed us to develop themes we had been wanting to expand upon for a long time, namely childhood, loneliness and the imaginary worlds we create as children.

Was it always the plan to use Captain Spirit for a standalone slice of story or were other characters considered?

Alejandro: When we started talking about the standalone, there were other characters that we thought it would have been cool to explore, like the drifters. But the one that resonated the most with everyone was Chris’s story.



Chris doesn’t have a power, but his wild imagination allows for many more abstract and imaginary scenes than we’re used to seeing in Life is Strange games. Can you tell us about your favourite manifestation?

Raoul: Indeed, there isn’t really a power per se in Captain Spirit, but we see Chris’s imagination as a power of sorts. If memory serves, the first manifestation I wanted to see was the one in the long dark corridor Chris must walk through to turn on the water heater. The idea was to make this corridor longer because it embodies a childhood fear, and in our imagination, the corridor appears longer than it really is because we’re scared. It turned into the evil water heater that you need to turn back on, which became a scene in itself, and the basis from which we created all the other imaginary scenes.

I would say the water heater is my favourite because I love the monster we created, and because it’s what started everything else. My second favourite is the planet, as I think it’s amazing visually and it adds a very cool element of science-fiction.

Alejandro: My favourite manifestation was the Water Eater monster, because it reminded me of my childhood. Kid me and my brother always had a room in the house that was dark and we always imagined monsters living in there, so the fact that Chris needs his alter ego to go in there to beat the monster was very relatable.

How do you think the player’s time with Chris in Captain Spirit enhances their view of the character in Life is Strange 2 Episode 2?

Alejandro: By experiencing the world through Chris’s eyes, it allows everyone to connect with his story as soon as you see him in Episode 2, making the decisions from Sean’s perspective even more difficult, because you care from Chris and you want the best for him.

Hopefully you care even more about the bond that Daniel creates with Chris, because for the first time you have seen Daniel happy with a friend – and you know that both kids need each other.



Life is Strange is known for tackling difficult realities of life, and in this chapter we were exposed to a young boy living in a home struggling with loss. Whilst Chris takes solace in his imagination, his father suffers from alcoholism. Why is it important for games to explore these elements of life?

Raoul: We try to talk about the realities of our society, and we wanted to tackle these themes – communication issues between father and son, loss, grief, and first and foremost, how children often find an escape from grown-up issues through their imagination. We think video games are an ideal medium to tackle these issues because they involve the player, and by playing Chris, we get back into the spirit of being a kid, home alone. As we’re playing a game, it creates a particularly interesting parallel, it’s quite meta: we’re playing a game in which Chris is trying to play to stave off boredom and maybe also to take his mind off of his issues with his father and the loss of his mother. Talking about all this was very important to us.

After getting to know Captain Spirit in his Awesome Adventures, and in Episode 2, we move onto Episode 3 in our road to the #JourneysEnd.

Be sure to keep up to date with all of the Life is Strange 2 fun, including giveaways, streams and more, by following us on our social channels.

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Life is Strange 2 - JoshuaSquareEnix
The Life is Strange series has always been synonymous with amazing music. While known for picking standout tracks from lesser-known artists and introducing them to players through memorable scenes, the series has also been gifted with nuanced, emotive scores.

For Life is Strange and Life is Strange 2, Co-Creative Director and Music Supervisor Raoul Barbet worked closely with musician Jonathan Morali, known best for his work with indie rock and folk band Syd Matters.

With Life is Strange 2, their now-seven-year collaborative relationship allowed them to develop a richer and more varied score, made possible because of the trust and familiarity created between composer and director.

Morali’s new score goes on a musical journey with Sean and Daniel, evolving alongside the story and the characters to which it introduces you. Today we wanted to share with you some insights into the score, and how it came to be, by sitting down with Raoul – Beware of spoilers ahead!

What emotions did you want to evoke when briefing Jonathan Morali?


Raoul Barbet: When I got in touch with him to ask him to work on the first Life is Strange score, I had already been a fan of his and Syd Matters’ work for a long time. Having chosen a few tracks he had composed, I wanted him to retain a similar style, to do something “Syd Matters”. Life is Strange 2, we wanted to do something quite different.

The idea was to have a rather stress-free intro that evoked the first Life is Strange, with a lot of acoustic guitar and this ‘cocoon’-like quality we knew from the first game - that tone runs through the whole Seattle section. As soon as the boys started hitting the road, we wanted to change the tone of the score, so we asked him to go with something a little different, with more electronic sounds. Colder, darker things, depending on the scenes, as we knew the brothers were going to face a number of difficulties on the road.

We talked about wanting to convey a general feeling for each scene. The themes we asked him to compose were either linked to a given scene and setting, or to a specific character. It’s all about that character’s past, the feeling we want to evoke upon meeting them, and what story we can tell through the instruments, melody, and music for each character and each setting.



In the video above, feel how the scene is elevated when the score is added. It sets a severe, sobering tone as the boys lives are changed forever.

You had the full shape of the season mapped out before work began on the score, so were there any moments or characters you were especially looking forward to hearing with Jonathan’s music?

We had quite a lot of reference material for Jonathan to listen to when we started working on the game, in terms of mood and different musical styles. In Life is Strange 2, I wanted the combination of electronic music with other instruments. We began researching what it would mean to have the brothers on the road. We knew the theme that we called ‘Into the woods” corresponded to specific moments of their journey. We started working on this very early on, especially for Episode 1. We have specific themes for important characters after that. The drifters, for instance, in the camp in Episode 3 , have a score that is tailored to their community, with certain musical layers specific to each character.

In Episode 2, we have a dedicated, warmer theme for the grandparents. We tried to create a sort of family feel, to mirror what we experience with them in Episode 2. These are themes specifically linked to scenes or characters. We discussed this a lot for each episode and we tried to establish what important themes we needed for specific characters or scenes - Jonathan and I exchanged a lot of references and ideas for each character.

I’m also thinking of Karen, who has a very strong personality, and whose themes played for the first time when we see her in Episode 4, and which you will hear again in Episode 5. It’s a theme tailored to her, and there are a number of layers of the composition that play dynamically, depending on how well we know her and what we choose to do and talk about with her. For instance, as we start talking with her at the motel, we’ll add layers to the track – giving depth to the theme.

How has your relationship evolved with Jonathan Morali since you worked with him on the first Life is Strange?


Our relationship has evolved a lot, since we’ve been working together for seven years or so. We’ve become more efficient, as we now know each other better.

Life is Strange 2 has been a huge challenge because we tried to make its score a lot richer than that of the first game, and it has some rather complicated themes. Being a road trip, there are many different tracks to compose – but I would say that our relationship has grown easier because there is more trust between the audio team, Jonathan and myself.

We let him suggest more ideas than before. We did that all along, but now that we trust each other more, we let him suggest things earlier on. We also have technical and melodic needs, too, and sometimes things are missing, so we try to discuss everything as much as possible to speed up the process. For example, if we describe a theme linked to a setting or character, he will create an initial version and then come back to us maybe once or twice but that’s it. It’s a rather fast process and we’re very happy with the results – and I think Jonathan also feels more at ease when composing and making unique suggestions.



It’s notable that, as LiS2 goes along, there’s an increasing reliance on the score to soundtrack the key emotional moments, rather than licensed tracks. Was this a deliberate decision- and was it a conscious choice that thematically replicates the boys leaving behind all they’ve known?

That’s a really good question. Yes, that’s it exactly.

We wanted... Or rather, I wanted Life is Strange 2 to have a richer score than the first game because we love what Jonathan does. I think he’s an amazing composer, but we also knew we wanted licensed tracks for certain scenes. I really enjoyed picking the tracks, working them into the visuals, building on moments of the first game. We also wanted to continue in that vein because we knew the community enjoyed it and it spoke to our story.

There are many licensed tracks to evoke the atmosphere in Seattle, showing us Sean’s taste, what he’s listening to. They also allow us to talk about the characters he meets through the music they listen to. It gives us a quick point of entry to each character. For example, the intro to Sean and Lyla on the bus in Episode 1, set to Phoenix’s ‘Lisztomania’, or the scene with the drifters in Episode 3, with Justice’s ‘D.A.N.C.E.’. The fact that they’re existing tracks gives us a strong mood and adds impact to the scene.

We wanted to continue that way, but we also wanted the score to tell a story, to tell something about the brothers’ journey, so we have made the brothers’ themes evolve throughout the episodes with new tracks in each one. It was important to us that the score as a whole should evolve from something rather folky in Seattle, something that evoked the first Life is Strange, and continue developing until the end. As you’ll hear, Episode 5 has a very different score.

So that was the fundamental idea, and we’re really happy with how it turned out. There are fewer licensed tracks but there are still quite a few of them, and we’re thrilled with the artists we’ve been able to feature. The idea was to re-balance – or at any rate, to have Jonathan create an amazing, evolving score.



Many thanks to Raoul for taking the time to unveil some secrets of the soundtrack – we’ll be back next week with another deep-dive blog interview into Episode 2!

Stay with us all the way to the #JourneysEnd!


Life is Strange 2 - JoshuaSquareEnix


Today is our last day playing Episode 1: Roads! We have a special stream at 1PM PST/9PM GMT hosted by Dayeanne Hutton and special guest Mei Pak (Lyla!) on our YouTube channel.

Join the conversation! We’re giving away a LiS2 Collector’s Edition: http://sqex.link/ep1chat
Life is Strange 2 - JoshuaSquareEnix


To kick off the road to the #JourneysEnd, we wanted to give you your first sneak peek at Episode 5.

Click the thumbnail above to watch!
Life is Strange 2 - JoshuaSquareEnix
As we approach the #JourneysEnd, we wanted to take some time to deep dive on one of Life is Strange 2’s most important, but also most misinterpreted systems. We hope that this added insight will help guide you in your decision making as you start Life is Strange 2 either for the first time or on a repeat playthrough.



As you may know, choices and their consequences in Life is Strange 2 are centered around your brother: Daniel. What we purposefully haven’t outlined properly to date is the depth of this system or how it actually functions as we believe a Life is Strange is best experienced purely rather than trying to game the system underlying it. Quite often we will see players deconstruct the outcome of a Life is Strange 2 episode using the choice and consequence system of previous games: “If you choose these specific three or four options you should get outcome X”. Today we wanted to take some time to explain that interpreting Life is Strange 2 solely through that kind of system can only lead to confusion.

Before we get into the new system underlying Life is Strange 2 though, know that each entry in the season does have episode-specific consequence systems that conform to the more traditional choice and consequence approach. Your relationships with secondary characters, for example, are often based on the branching that you’ve come to expect from a Life is Strange game. If you work hard to build a specific relationship, that character’s attitude towards you may change significantly which in turn will open or close off options that determine the fate of these characters.

With respect to Daniel however, the system has added layers of complexity. From what we’ve seen so far, Daniel’s education is believed to rely on a “one-track” model similar to the one described above. That is to say that you can, for example, only teach Daniel to either be “Good” or “Bad” and that only certain key decisions will affect his education by nudging him towards becoming either a good or an evil person. The truth, however, is that Daniel grows and learns from your example based on two separate values: Morality and Brotherhood.

• Daniel’s Morality state determines how he acts in any given situation. Does he act in a kind and considerate way, or is he entirely selfish, without regard for other people’s feelings or safety?
• Daniel’s Brotherhood state determines how he responds to what you, as Sean, teach and ask of him. Does he trust you to make the right choice for the two of you, or will he disregard what you say because you’ve been unable to win his trust?



Here’s the thing: the choices you must make in Life is Strange 2 are, like in other Life is Strange games and life in general, imperfect options. There is no true “right” or “wrong” decision, and all of them are laced with their own pros and cons that could contain a sting in the tail.

While some decisions may improve Daniel’s Morality, those same choices can have a negative impact on his trust in you, and vice versa. There are some choices that may add to both Morality and Brotherhood, just like there are others that may reduce them both, or only impact one while leaving the other unaffected. You will have to weigh up each option for yourself and decide which outcome will be better for your personal Diaz brothers.

It’s also key to note that opposing choices aren’t just mirrors of one another. That is to say, choosing option A, which may award an increase in Morality, doesn’t mean that option B will reduce Morality by the same amount. Each choice is weighted individually and entirely on its context. Choosing the opposite of a choice that would have affected Daniel’s Brotherhood and trust may not impact his Brotherhood either negatively or positively.

In the diagram below we’ve outlined a small number of hypothetical examples of how this concept functions – please note that the diagram and the choice examples are purely for illustrative purposes and are not present in Life is Strange 2. The diagram is also greatly simplified as it has been trimmed down to just 5 examples rather than the multitude of choices that play into determining the consequences you will experience.



Choice 1: Sean reminds Daniel that stealing is wrong, in every situation, and refuses to take money from an unattended wallet.
Choice 2: Sean ‘borrows’ a can of cola from a store, to quench Daniel’s thirst, and promises he’ll send the store a couple of dollars in the mail when they get some money.
Choice 3: Sean stays up late entertaining Daniel with bedtime stories, with wholesome morals, staving off his nightmares and helping him sleep through the night.
Choice 4: Sean shoots a potential kidnapper in the arm with the man’s own gun, in order to save Daniel.
Choice 5: An angry Sean blames Daniel for having to shoot the man.


While major choices will have a greater impact on Daniel’s education overall, the lessons they teach him can still be outweighed by the many smaller choices you may make throughout your journey and the example you set. You can’t choose to only be righteous when it counts, if that’s what matters to you. You have to be an example to Daniel in everything you do and say.

This is also why certain playthroughs result in different outcomes, even though players may have made the same major choices as their friends and other players. These outcomes are likely down to choosing differently in a series of smaller choices.



To date, Life is Strange 2 has featured over 50 individual choices that have pushed Daniel towards becoming moral/amoral and/or trusting/not trusting of Sean. This is what we mean when we say, “everything you do will have an impact on Daniel.”

You have so far had 50 opportunities to mold Daniel into the kind of person you want him to become - 16 of those already appearing during Episode 1. Each opportunity and decision will have stacked on top of the others, to cumulatively determine which outcome you see at the end of each episode, and which endings (that’s right, we heard you!) will be available to you at the end of the game. This additive system means that a single save file will not be able to see every single outcome of Life is Strange 2 as you will not be able to simply reload and re-pick one or two choices in order to see all other endings.

You will also notice that Daniel’s moment-to-moment behavior throughout the season also subtly changes depending your choices. Some of those subtleties will be evident in his general behavior, interactions with Sean and other characters as well as the words he uses. Others become apparent through the “look at” cues you can investigate that relate to Daniel and what Sean thinks of him.

As Daniel becomes the person you are teaching him to be, his learned state of mind will also open up or close off some bigger and smaller decision options that you are given. There are cases throughout the episodes where you may try to interact with Daniel in a particular way, but he refuses to listen or accept your advice or help. That refusal may mean that what you’re trying to teach him may not have the same impact as if he had accepted it. This is because your previous choices have reinforced and compounded themselves as you proceeded through the story of Life is Strange 2. This is particularly visible if you have a sudden change of heart or feel strongly about a certain decision that may not align with what you’ve taught him so far.



Each time the little wolf icon is highlighted, your decision will have had an impact on Daniel


Daniel’s Morality and Brotherhood values aren’t just on a 0-100 scale either. It is entirely possible for Daniel’s values to dip into negative numbers, which is when players will truly start to see Daniel’s dark side.

There is absolutely some truth to the idea that if you end up with a Daniel who is entirely misbehaved, never listens and doesn’t trust Sean… then that’s a direct result of you choosing to raise Daniel in that way.

The ultimate outcome of the Life is Strange 2 story reflects the accumulation of all your previous choices with regards to Daniel. His actions and demeanour are determined by what you taught him throughout the season, in interactions big and small. This will be important, particularly when he reaches a point where he may well assert his independence and start making big decisions of his own.



We have purposefully not gone into exact details about which choices impact Daniel’s education, or to what extent, as we want you to experience Life is Strange 2 using your own personal feelings about right and wrong as a guide, rather than trying to ‘build’ a specifically good or evil and obedient or rebellious Daniel.

Choices, just like in real life, can be messy and are rarely clear-cut. You will often need to make peace with what you feel is best for the Diaz brothers as they journey towards Puerto Lobos.

We’ve outlined a few examples to explain the system a little bit more on our official Youtube Channel (you can also watch it below), though this video will include spoilers. We’ve structured the video in a chronological manner so that you can view it up until the spoiler warnings for an episode you haven’t yet played to avoid getting spoiled. If anything at all about what we covered in this blog was confusing, this video will be sure to help!

https://youtu.be/KSi-DBlycwE

We’re now just under a month away from the full release of Life is Strange 2 and are looking forward to hearing whether knowing more about how Daniel is taught changes how you approach the game in the weeks of the #JourneysEnd that lie ahead.

Life is Strange 2 - SE Toby
The moment many of you have been waiting for. Life is Strange 2 is getting a physical release on PC!

It’s a fantastic way to begin and remember your journey forever - in tangible form sitting very attractively on your shelf, as all good mementos do! It’s also a great way to introduce your friends and family to the long, emotive road to Puerto Lobos. How will your journeys compare?
The physical release will be available December 3rd, 2019 in Europe, and February 4th, 2020 in the Americas. It will come in two flavours – the Life is Strange 2 Standard Edition and the Life is Strange 2 Collector’s Edition.

The Standard Edition is priced at £34.99/€39.99/$39.99 and will contain:
  • The Complete Season - Episodes 1-5 of Life is Strange 2
  • Bonus Game - The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
  • Arcadia Bay Patches - These items let you customize Sean’s in-game backpack!
The Collector’s Edition is priced at £64.99/€69.99/$69.99, and will contain:
  • The Complete Season - Episodes 1-5 of Life is Strange 2
  • Bonus Game: The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
  • Arcadia Bay Patches
  • Jonathan Morali’s official score - 4x 7 inch Vinyl Box Set featuring the game’s amazing original music
  • 32-page hardcover artbook - featuring concept art from Life is Strange 2
  • 4 inch/10cm Sean and 3 inch/8cm Daniel vinyl figurines
  • Collector’s Edition presentation box
The Collector’s Edition will be exclusive to the Square Enix Store, and available to the UK, Europe and the Americas on the dates mentioned previously.

And to address the Mantroid in the room – the different release dates. It’s nothing personal, we love you all equally.

Different countries have different requirements when it comes to rating the content on the discs, and in some cases, this means that a game (or Episode) can’t be rated until it’s complete and submitted, even if it’s not on the disc, which is why the game will be releasing later in the Americas.
With Life is Strange 2 we understand that some players may have been waiting for the final episode to release before diving into the game, and that in an ideal world, those holding out for the physical release wouldn’t want to wait longer than those playing digitally.

We wanted to give as many people as possible the opportunity to choose between a digital and physical box full season release on December 3rd, but for the reasons touched on above, we aren’t able to provide a simultaneous release in every territory.

The only alternative was to push every release date back to February 4th, 2020. As Life is Strange fans, you’ll know that struggling with hard choices is at the core of what we do – this was one we agonised over!

In the end, we decided a split release was the best way to give the most players the widest amount of choice. For those of you in the Americas who are already playing digitally, or who have been waiting for the game’s full release on digital platforms before diving in, have no fear: the upcoming Season Finale will launch digitally everywhere on December 3rd.

Life is Strange 2 is available to buy digitally on Steam. Physical boxed editions are available to pre-order now, from https://www.BuyLiS2.com. Additional retailer links will be added to this page as they go live.
We’re approaching the end of the Life is Strange 2 road, but there’s still so much to see before your choices lead you to your grand finale!

The Life is Strange team
Life is Strange 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Spooky-ooky coming-of-age story Life Is Strange 2 has run into trouble with the Australian Classification Board and will be removed from sale down under for about a fortnight while they sort this out. If you already have it on PC (called a ‘compo’ or ‘pozza’ in Australia, probably), you’re grand. The developers don’t say exactly what the dispute is about, but I’d wager it’s down to something which has happened in later episodes of the series. Possibly a drug. Oh no.

(more…)

Life is Strange 2

Life is Strange 2 will be removed from Australian digital storefronts, according to the official Life is Strange Twitter account. As you've probably guessed, this move has been prompted by the Australian Classification Board: it's currently reviewing the game's age ratings.

As a result, the unavailability will only last for "approximately" two weeks. At the time of writing it's still available on Steam, and that's likely to last until Wednesday Australia time.

Here's the full statement:

At a hunch, I'd guess this is happening in order to rate each additional DLC and post-launch addition to the game: for an episodic game like Life is Strange 2, the vanilla launch build is obviously only a tiny part of the game as it stands right now. Recent examples of DLC triggering a ACB reappraisal include Kingdom Come: Deliverance and We Happy Few, which are both now available to purchase after a temporary delisting on digital storefronts.

The ACB has been in the headlines a bunch lately, mostly thanks to the belated (and frankly quite amusing) ban of DayZ. It fell afoul of Australia's ratings board due to DLC that hadn't even made it to the game yet. But the game is safely available to purchase now.

Thanks for the heads up, Kotaku.

Life is Strange 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Caution: Spoilers, duh.>

Brendan: Hello, Alice. This is going to come as a shock but listen, you ve been in a coma. Incredible I know, but while you were unconscious Life Is Strange 2 released the fourth episode of its road-tripping choice-o-rama, and now that you re back in conscious reality I d like to table a discussion on what the hell happened after the explosion on that sketchy weed farm back in June. All in favour, say aye . (This sounds like eye , which is a joke).

(more…)

...

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