Animal symbolism appears in the Life is Strange franchise, usually as a symbol of something important to the story or main characters and often in the form of "spirit animals." Some appear to be connected, guide, watch over or warn the protagonist. The only developer-confirmed spirit animals so far are the blue butterfly (Chloe), squirrel (Samuel), and the doe (Max).
Spirit Animals & Animal Symbolism
Life is Strange
- Blue Butterfly - The blue butterfly could represent a butterfly effect of the choices throughout the game. It could be the catalyst for Max's power as it seemed to glow, had a presence in the air around it and was unaffected by Max's first rewind. The color blue is associated with both the butterfly and Chloe. There is also a poster of a blue butterfly in the alternative timeline Chloe's empty room as well as butterflies as part of a pattern on Chloe's boots. The only entry in Max's nightmare journal features a drawing of a butterfly with Chloe's head. For Christians butterflies are a symbol of rebirth. The texture file of that drawing is named Spirit_animal_Chloe, which reinforces the theory of the butterfly being Chloe's spirit animal. In the Sacrifice Chloe ending, a blue butterfly is landing on Chloe's coffin.
- Doe - There are many theories surrounding the true meaning of the doe in the game. One is that the doe is the spirit of Rachel Amber. This could be likely considering that it appears over her burial site, and again when the body of Rachel is discovered. Another likely theory is that the doe is simply Max's spirit animal sent to guide her through her time-travel ordeal. It leads her to the burial site days before the discovery of the body, and bows its head in peaceful reverence for the dead when Max and Chloe find the body. Due to the doe T-shirt designs that Max wears (as well as doe necklace during one of the game endings), Max Caulfield has a connection to this animal and so the doe could be Max's spirit animal. Another fact that lends more support to this theory is that the doe seems immune to Max's rewind power, just like the blue butterfly Max sees in the girls' bathroom at the start of the game. After Max becomes aware of her power not even the blue butterfly is immune, only Max and the doe seem to share this immunity. The doe also guides Max in two occasions, during the lighthouse climb in the final of Episode 1 and during a short part of her nightmare in Episode 5. Samuel Taylor says that the doe is Max's spirit animal and that it could be a sign of her destiny when she tells him that a doe was looking right at her like it was trying to communicate. Max's personality traits fit far better with the doe spirit animal than that of Rachel, making it likely that it is her true spirit animal, or totem.
- Squirrel - The squirrels in spite the seemingly unimportant presence in the game, they are the only animal present in all five episodes, and they are featured in Max's optional photos for every single Episode. The groundskeeper of Blackwell seem to have a special affinity and connection to the cuddly creatures claiming that his Spirit Animal is in fact a squirrel.
- The Butterfly as a Spirit Animal represents rebirth, renewal, a deep powerful personal transformation, metamorphosis in your life, moving through different life cycles also lightness of being, playfulness, coupled with elevation from earthly matters, tuning into emotional or spiritual side of life. Butterflies in fiction and folklore often represent a personification of transformation or consequence. In one instance, puberty or maturity experienced by young girls between being a child and a teenager are often associated or compared to the process of chrysalis, a maturing butterfly. For Christians, butterflies are a symbol of rebirth.In Japanese culture, the appearance of a single butterfly is thought to be a representation of a person's soul, whether they are living, dying or dead. In Chinese culture, the butterfly is said to be a symbol of immortality, long life, and romanticism, with two butterflies together being a common symbol of love. In some instances of Japanese and Chinese culture, one or two butterflies represent love or a loved one. They can be seen as a sign of comfort at funerals or as a guide for those who are having difficulties with life decisions.
- The Deer or the Doe as a Spirit Animal represents gentleness, high sensitivity and strong intuition, the ability to move through life and obstacles with grace even in the most challenging moments, it also means being in touch with your inner child, innocence, a magical ability to regenerate, being in touch with life’s mysteries and, also vigilance and ability to change directions quickly. The deer is also an emblematic animal of the energy of love and harmony with oneself and others. Also, the deer, sometimes represented as an antelope, is the traditional symbol for the heart chakra.
- The Squirrel as a Spirit Animal represents curiosity, efficient planning, organization, hardworking person and an entertainer, it also indicates playfulness, balance, preparation, prudence, practicality and resourcefulness.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
- Raven - The raven makes several appearances throughout Episode 1 and Episode 2; its presence goes unnoticed by almost everyone and yet it is often seen in the background. However, it has a dramatic and sometimes frightening presence in Chloe's dreams and is usually seen accompanied by William Price. The raven seems to have taken a particular interest in Chloe herself as it can often be seen watching her and people closely associated with her throughout both episodes, and seemingly influencing her dreams of her father to some unknown end.
- The Raven represents introspection, courage, self-knowledge, courage for self-reflection, transformation of difficulties into blessings, being able to find light within the darkness, divination, change in consciousness new occurrences, eloquence, also trickster, manipulative, mischievous in some cultures and the guardian of secrets in others.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
- Raccoon - During The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit and Life is Strange 2, Chris is heavily associated with the raccoon. In Captain Spirit, a raccoon can be found hiding in the Eriksens' garage, which Chris can scare away and later finds near the lake. In Life is Strange 2, two raccoons can be found in Episode 1, the first lying dead near the entrance of Trout Spring Trail and the second standing on a rock farther down the trail. In Episode 3's Previously On segment, Chris is depicted as a raccoon.
- Raccoon- As a Spirit Animal, the raccoon represents courage, intelligence, cleverness, a natural problem solver, charisma, and a thirst for adventure and exploration. The raccoon can also represent secrecy, disguise, curiosity, resourcefulness illusion adaptability and self-defense.
Life is Strange 2
According to the writer, Jean-Luc Cano, Life is Strange 2 does not share the spirit animal concept that was present in the original game. This was confirmed here. Despite this, animal motifs are used to describe the cast in the form of Sean's story of the wolf brothers. Him, Daniel, and the Diaz-Reynolds family are depicted as wolves.
- ↑ In the Director's Commentary, it has been said that there is a lot of symbolism behind the butterfly and the fact that Chloe has got some butterflies on her tattoo. Chloe's hair color was confirmed to be based on the blue butterfly.
- ↑ Butterflies: Symbols of Life and Hope (January 11, 2018)
- ↑ Japanese Symbolic Animals and their Meanings (August 14, 2018)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Chinese Cultural Symbol: Butterfly
- ↑ Butterfly Symbolism and Meaning in World Culture (March 7, 2017)