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"So maybe Arcadia Bay will actually turn out to be the island of treasure and adventure I've been looking for..."

Max Caulfield in her diary on August 18, 2013


Arcadia Bay is a fictional, picturesque seaside town in Oregon, United States, that originally appears in Life is Strange. It reappears in the prequel game and very briefly in the franchise's newest installment, Life is Strange 2.

Arcadia Bay was originally inhabited and founded by Native Americans, as mentioned by Ms. Grant when she speaks of the settlers living peacefully with one another after their arrival. Its main source of commerce was fishing which - according to a fisherman - is no longer feasible due to the Prescott family's business practices.

Life is Strange Edit

In Life is Strange, which is set in October 2013, the town is experiencing strange weather and other phenomena that is somehow linked to Max Caulfield's time-controlling abilities.

A freak snow flurry and an unexpected eclipse end Episode 1 and Episode 2, respectively. The reoccurring deaths of animals are seen throughout Episode 3, and an ominous double moon appears at the end of Episode 4. In Episode 5, Arcadia Bay's fate is in the player's hands as the town can be destroyed by the tornado in Max's visions, or it can be saved by going back to the beginning of the game and allowing Chloe Price to get shot by Nathan Prescott.

Before the Storm Edit

In Before the Storm, which is set in 2010, three years before the events of Life is Strange, a forest fire is started by Rachel Amber.

Life is Strange 2 Edit

The town makes a brief appearance in the first episode of Life is Strange 2, which is set in October 2016. It is seen in a cutscene from an overlook. If Chloe was sacrificed back in Episode 5 of the original game, the town will be lit up, and the lighthouse will be rotating its light. If Arcadia Bay was sacrificed, the town will appear abandoned, and the lighthouse will be half destroyed from the storm (as we see happen to it in Max's visions). Toward the end of the cutscene, an information plaque can be seen more clearly. Depending on the above circumstances, the plaque will either be painted with a memorial or it will describe the town.

Comics Edit

Note: The events of the comic series, based on the original game, are not intended to be a true ending continuation, as emphasized by the writer.

In the comic series, Arcadia Bay has been destroyed. However, it is also revealed that the Prescotts and the Prescott Foundation have chosen to contribute money to the relief effort and rebuilding.

Locations Edit

Known Residents Edit

  • Max Caulfield - Grew up in Arcadia Bay but moved to Seattle with her parents in 2008 when she was thirteen. She came back five years later after being accepted into Blackwell Academy. She now lives in the Prescott Dormitory.
  • Chloe Price - Grew up in Arcadia Bay and has presumably lived here since her birth. She lives in the Madsen household.
  • Joyce Price - Long-time resident. She raised Chloe with William Price in Arcadia Bay, presumably since Chloe's early childhood right up until William's tragic death. She lives in the Madsen household.
  • David Madsen - Lives together with Joyce Price and Chloe Price in the Madsen household in Arcadia Bay, presumably since they married in 2010 and sometime before.
  • James Amber (Before the Storm) - Has been Arcadia Bay's crooked District Attorney for eight months at the time of Before the Storm.
  • Rose Amber (Before the Storm) - Presumably has lived in Arcadia Bay her whole life.
  • Rachel Amber - Lived in Arcadia Bay during Before the Storm. Her deceased body is found buried in the junkyard.
  • Frank Bowers - Lives in an RV that he moves around Arcadia Bay.
  • Homeless Lady - According to her own words, she has lived in Arcadia Bay for a very long time and saw the city undergo many changes. During the events of the game, she is seen sitting on a piece of cardboard behind the Two Whales Diner.
  • Mark Jefferson - Born and raised in Arcadia Bay. Left town for an unknown period of time after becoming a famous photographer. He has recently returned to take on a teaching position at Blackwell Academy.
  • Prescott family - Arcadia Bay's oldest and wealthiest family.
  • Pompidou - Frank's dog that can either be run over by a truck, shot by Chloe or spared.
  • Alice the Rabbit - Kate's rabbit that lives in her room at the Prescott Dormitory.

Former Residents Edit

Ecosystem Edit

Main article: Wildlife

Arcadia Bay has a rich and varied ecosystem. In regard to flora, a beautiful lush coniferous forest surrounds the town in every direction except the West, where the bay meets the Pacific Ocean. As for fauna, it ranges from bears, snakes, coyotes, wolves, whales, squirrels, butterflies, insects, to different types of birds and the various deer that can be seen throughout the episodes of the original game.

Symbolism Edit

Etinarcadiaego

Sticker from Max's journal. Latin for "Even in Arcadia, there I am."

The name "Arcadia" was deliberately chosen for the symbolism it bears. Arcadia is a utopia introduced in Greek and Latin mythology, which is full of flowers, fruits, and forests. In an interview writer, Christian Divine explained that “it just sounded more peaceful and mystic, and the word ‘Arcadia’ has all these connotations that would be fun to play with and contrast with the darkness that’s actually going on in the town. It has all these different representations and metaphors that you can look in to and work with.”[1]

"Even in Arcadia, there I am."

Inspirations Edit

In construction.

The developers conducted research on the setting by traveling to the Pacific Northwest — particularly the Tillamook Bay area — for the purpose of conveying a nostalgic and autumnal feel to the game. The development team visited the region, took photographs, looked at local newspapers and used Google Street View to make sure the environment was accurately portrayed.[2]

  • In early stages of development, the main reference for the town of Arcadia Bay was Astoria, a city on the hillside of Oregon, but it was way too big for the setting they were aiming for. Eventually, they found Garibaldi, a much smaller town which was working well with its main street running along the coast.[2]
  • The Arcadia Bay map layout was directly inspired by Garibaldi, OR, as evident from this map provided by "Visit Garibaldi". Several places were either directly based on their Garibaldi counterparts as shown on the map, including their locations on the map, or inspired by them.
    • Harbor
    • Railroad
    • Beach
    • Barn ("Old Mill")
    • Sawmill - Old Mill
    • Garibaldi Ave - Arcadia Bay Ave
    • Birch Avenue - Cedar Avenue
    • Monument at the Garibaldi Museum - Northwest Valor statue
    • Garibaldi Elementary School - Blackwell Academy
  • Arcadia Bay has been built with inspiration from multiple locations in Oregon. These probably include Oceanside, OR, Bay City, OR, Newport, OR and Lincoln City, OR on the coast. In the episode "Out of Time", Warren Graham notes that the Newberg drive-in is sixty miles away from Blackwell, which matches the distance from Lincoln City.
  • Several characteristic details are very likely based on the area of Tillamook Bay. The railroad track, water tower, and harbor can or could be found in Garibaldi, OR, while the lumber mill, as well as some signs, can be found in Tillamook, OR. The lighthouse design might be based on either Heceta Head Lighthouse or Yaquina Head Lighthouse (Newport, OR).
  • Oceanside, OR is down the coast from Cape Meares Lighthouse, part of which is a line of sight to the lighthouse, from Short Beach, in the same way as the lighthouse in Arcadia Bay. The view from Cape Meares south to Oceanside is very similar to that of the view of Arcadia Bay from its lighthouse.
  • There are a few streets in Arcadia Bay with real-life counterparts in the Tillamook County area. Those include Cedar Ave where Chloe lives, and Franklin Street where she was given a parking ticket.
    • Cedar Ave exists in Tillamook, OR, a city located south of Garibaldi.
  • The list of 146 coordinates found in David's locker in Episode 4 actually are the coordinates for Tillamook Bay, although they correspond to the water itself to prevent the coordinates matching up with real locations. This is further evidence that Arcadia Bay may be based on Tillamook Bay and its surrounding areas.
  • It's possible that the town is meant to represent the town of Bayocean, OR which was destroyed over the course of 40 years by man-made erosion, and existed where there is now water, which could be another possible explanation for the coordinates from David's file corresponding with the water area.
  • In a postcard sent to Chloe, Rachel wrote Chloe's address stating that Arcadia Bay's ZIP code is 97141 (which is the real ZIP Code of Tillamook, OR). Another postcard sent by someone called Amaury contains the same ZIP code. However, on the auto repair invoice, the shop's address in Arcadia Bay states a different ZIP Code: 97603. This is also a real ZIP code belonging to Klamath Falls, OR. And while in Drew North's room, area codes written on a post-it note state Arcadia Bay's ZIP code is 97103, the real code for Astoria OR.
  • Postcard2
    Another postcard found in Chloe's room seems to have been sent from Tillamook Head, OR. While Tillamook Bay serves as one of the main inspirations for Arcadia Bay, Tillamook Head is a high promontory well-known by hikers. It became famous in 1806 after Captain William Clark and 12 members of the Corps of Discovery hiked over the promontory where they encountered a beached whale.[3]

Trivia Edit

  • The town was originally called "Aurora Creek" before Christian Divine suggested the name "Arcadia Bay" because "it just sounded more peaceful and mystic, and the word ‘Arcadia’ has all these connotations that would be fun to play with and contrast with the darkness that’s actually going on in the town. It has all these different representations and metaphors that you can look in to and work with."[1]
    • In the game files for the first level (the vision on the cliff), the textures for the Arcadia Bay map are called "Aurora Creek Map", a leftover of its initial name.
    • The game file for the large picture of Arcadia Bay that hangs in the upstairs hallway at Chloe's house is named "TX_Post_AuroraCreek_D".
    • Aurora Creek is a river located in the Pacific Northwest coast area close to places that directly inspired Arcadia Bay such as the Tillamook Bay area where Garibaldi is located, or are mentioned in the game such as Portland and Seattle.
    • "Aurora" is the Latin word for dawn and the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology. In Roman mythology, Aurora renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun.
  • When Max goes back in time to 2008, an Oregon state map decorated with pictorial Tillamook County tourist attractions is on the wall in the kitchen.[4] The majority of these pictures have been identified to be reflective of real-life Tillamook attractions, such as:
    • The orange block - representing the cheese made at the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory.
    • The bird - representing the fact that Tillamook County is said to be a bird watching paradise.[5]
    • 1959 with historical-looking shield emblem - 1959 is an important date for Tillamook County; this is the year that the community came together once again to construct a replica of the Morning Star vessel that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to export Tillamook dairy products and seafood. The vessel was a game-changer for Tillamook.
    • Lighthouse - there are 11 lighthouses that run along the Oregon coast, two of which are located in Tillamook County: Tillamook Rock, and Cape Meares.
    • Native American - Tillamook is a Chinookan word for a Tillamook place-name, possibly meaning "land of many waters" or "People of Nehalem."[1]
  • The Et in Arcadia ego sticker from Max's journal may be a reference to the painting Et in Arcadia ego, a work by Nicolas Poussin a leading painter of the French Baroque style.
  • The people living in Arcadia Bay are called "Arcadian Bayers".[6]
  • The current mayor of Arcadia Bay is presumed to be Mayor Cochran.[7]
  • According to Before the Storm, Arcadia Bay is located inside or near the Tillamook County area, since a letter to James Amber mentions the "Tillamook County Family Services".
    • "Tillamook County Family Services" may be based on the "Tillamook Child Welfare Office", which is a part of the "Oregon Department of Human Services" and covers Tillamook, Clatsop, and Columbia counties.
  • In Life is Strange, the water tower by the train tracks displays the text, "City of Arcadia Bay," but there is confusion around whether Arcadia Bay is officially a town or a city; it is referred to as both at different times. This may have been an inconsistency during development, as there are 50+ occasions of it being referred to as a town and, excluding the water tower text, only a couple of clear instances of it being referred to as a city (one of these occasions being in a newspaper article).
  • Arcadia Bay could be a reference to "Arcadia" from the 1999 video game "The Longest Journey" which has a  lot of similarities to "Life Is Strange", such as both main protagonists having powers, and using what their talents are to make their power stronger. Max uses passion for photos to go back in time further, and April Ryan uses her talent of painting as a way of traveling back and forth a lot easier from Stark to Arcadia.

Gallery Edit

Life is Strange Edit

Locations Edit

Menu Screens Edit

Early Logo Concepts Edit

Life is Strange 2 Edit

Sacrifice Arcadia Bay Edit

Sacrifice Chloe Edit


References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 From ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ to ‘Life Is Strange’ – A Discussion with Writer Christian Divine
  2. 2.0 2.1 Edouard Caplain on the Art Behind Life Is Strange (February 9, 2016)
  3. History of Tillamook Head
  4. The name of the game file suggests this belongs to William.
  5. http://visitgaribaldi.com/birdwatching/
  6. This is how the radio host DJ Stan Stanwick addresses his audience when listening to the radio in Chloe's room in Before the Storm.
  7. His name is mentioned on the "25th Annual Happy Halloween Bazaar" flyer located just inside the entrance of the Two Whales Diner.
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