Forgoing the time travel powers of the first game, Before the Storm instead introduces a new gameplay mechanic that takes the form of a dialogue puzzle. In certain conversations, the option of using Backtalk becomes available as a possible dialogue option. Backtalk has Chloe use her wits to throw insults back at the other character or cleverly try to change their perspective. Backtalk is optional, and even if you fail a sequence, you can just find another method or route.
"Certain dialogue choices, marked with sweary speech bubbles, trigger a backtalk sequence. It’s a minigame of sorts in which Chloe, without the time-twisting powers of her friend Max, exercises her most potent ability: aggressive sarcasm. Chloe and her target trade insults, and there are ‘correct’ choices to make, picked out by figuring out the response that most directly plays with the previous line of dialogue."
- 1 Mechanic
- 2 Backtalk Challenges
- 2.1 Episode One - "Awake"
- 2.2 Episode Two - "Brave New World"
- 2.3 Episode Three - "Hell Is Empty"
- 3 Symbols
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Videos
- 6 References
- "In Backtalk, you use arguments and insults to get someone to do what you want.
To succeed, pay attention to what your opponent says... then pick a comeback that reflects their words back at them."
- — Backtalk tutorial
Backtalk is essentially a timed dialogue with a scoring system where a "correct" answer will award a point for the player and a "wrong" answer (or saying nothing) will award a point for the opponent instead. Each point awarded will fill up a small circle on either person's side.
Whoever reaches the required number of points by reaching the large circle at the center first (shown in the user interface) is the winner.
Backtalk challenges appear when Chloe has certain objectives, e.g. getting into the club in Episode 1. Failing the challenges however does not prevent the player from progressing within the story; the player may find alternative solutions to a problem, be forced to deal with negative consequences or avoid certain challenges altogether. Depending on the outcome of the backtalk opportunity, certain consequences will occur; see here. There are in total 14 challenges (6 in Episode 1, 5 in Episode 2 and 3 in Episode 3).
Episode One - "Awake"
Objective: To get into the punk club.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she must sneak into the punk club using the dog kennel and the back door.
"Isn't it past your bed time?"
- Your bedtime? (+1/5)
- No bedtime. (+1/5)
- Do me a solid. (-1/4)
"Real cute. But I still don't know you." or "Stop being cute and just split."
- What could it hurt? (-1/4)
- I don't do cute. (+1/5)
- Cute is relative. (+1/5)
"Ok, kid. I get it, you're tough." or "Kid, you're not listening. Beat it!"
- This isn't a playground. (+1/5)
- Fine. I'll sneak in. (-1/4)
- I am not a kid! (+1/5)
"A girl like you... I can't protect you in there." or "Girls like you get chewed up in there."
- A girl like me? (+1/5)
- Girls kick ass. (+1/5)
- Flowers on your bike? (If Chloe looked at the bike with flowers on it) (+1/5)
- I'm not worried. (-1/4)
"Look. My boss decides who gets in, alright?" or "My boss will kill me if I let you in."
- Who's your boss? (+1/5)
- Look the other way. (-1/4)
- Bosses suck. (+1/5)
"Okay, you're funny. But that's not the point." or "Around here funny people have a way of getting hurt."
- Knock, knock. (+1/5)
- F.U.N. (+1/5)
- You try too hard. (-1/4)
"Being mean won't get you anywhere, kid." or "Keep pushing me. See where it gets you."
- I'm sorry. (-1/4)
- Eat your feelings. (+1/5)
- Is that bracelet for real? (+1/5)
"You know Damon would probably get a kick out of you..." or "Doesn't matter, Damon doesn't like new people, okay?"
- Who's Damon? (+1/5)
- Help me out here! (-1/4)
- Damon Shmamon. (+1/5)
Objective: To get David to be quiet.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she will be forced to listen to David's lecture.
"Language! You are way out of line, young lady."
- French is a language. (+1/5)
- Military language. (+1/5)
- Mustache! (-1/2)
"You've got a smart mouth, don'tcha?" or "You're so smart. Too bad you don't know who you're dealing with here."
- You're stupid. (+1/5)
- Can't threaten me. (-1/2)
- Let me dumb it down. (+1/5)
"Hey! Watch your--I can crap bigger than you, got it?" or "I can crap bigger than you. Just remember that."
- Thought I smelled crap. (+1/5)
- You're the crap master. (+1/5)
- Just shoot me. (-1/2)
"You--! Your mother... You're breaking her heart!" or "It would break your mother's heart to hear you being so disrespectful."
- Don't pretend to care. (-1/2)
- Leave mom out of this. (+1/5)
- At least she has a heart. (+1/5)
"I was in the army! You will respect me!" or "In the army that kind of talk would get you assigned to KP duty for a month."
- I didn't enlist. (+1/5)
- You're not my father. (-1/2)
- Bill of Rights, fool. (+1/5)
"Look. Now. In this house--I have my job to do and...so do you!" or "My job is to make sure you and your mother have a safe and peaceful home."
- Go away. (-1/2)
- How about telecommuting. (+1/5)
- You have no job. (If Chloe saw the job fair flyer) (+1/5)
- You deserve a raise. (+1/5)
Objective: To get Wells to leave Chloe alone and not have to go to his office after school.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she will have to go to Principal Wells' office after school.
"And here I thought your well of witticisms had finally run dry."
- Learn some tolerance. (-1/1)
- Principal "Wells." I get it. (+1/3)
- My well is deep. (+1/3)
"Jokes? In my experiences, that's how the guilty cover up their infractions."
- Who's guilty now? (+1/3)
- Article four-twenty. (-1/1)
- The guilty have rights. (+1/3)
"We are a private institution, and policy allows me to search all students on the premises."
- You seem stressed. (-1/1)
- My own policy. (+1/3)
- The Prescotts' policy? (If Miss Grant mentions the Prescott donation to Chloe and Skip didn't mention the high risk policy) (+1/3)
- High risk policy? (If Skip mentioned that term) (+1/3)
- Insurance. (+1/3)
Objective: To get the dragonkin's keys.
"He steps back, his scaly skin quivering in fear. What do you say?"
- Meat puppet. (+1/2)
- Dragons are pussies. (-1/2)
- Shoes. (+1/2)
"The dragonkin pleads with you. 'Please don't harm me, tall one. But I cannot give you key. Duurgaron much taller and meaner than you.'" or "The dragonkin growls, snapping at you and showing his teeth and claws. 'Tall one is a fool. Dragons are gods!' he says."
- Could make you shorter. (+1/2)
- Could make you taller. (+1/2)
- Die of old age. (-1/2)
"No, no, please don't do that. Still, I cannot give key. Duurgaron will eat me!" or "I will eat your face, elven garbage lady."
- Grab the key. (-1/2)
- Pull out your stomach. (+1/2)
- Taste my axe. (+1/2)
Drew bullying Nathan
Objective: To stop Drew from bullying Nathan.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, Drew will throw Nathan's portfolio in the fountain.
"What the hell did you just say to me?"
- Back off? (+1/4)
- Idiot? (+1/4)
- Leave. Now. (-1/2)
"You're seriously defending Nathan Prescott?" or "You're actually standing up for Nathan Prescott?"
- Nathan's an easy target. (+1/4)
- That's hardly fair. (-1/2)
- Got me feeling sorry for a Prescott. (+1/4)
"You're such a crazy freak! Mind Your own business." or "Are you crazy? Mind your own business, freak."
- I'm crazy, that's true. (+1/4)
- What if he cries to Daddy? (-1/2)
- You know what's crazy? (+1/4)
"You want a piece of this?"
- No thanks. (-1/2)
- A piece of your bromance? (+1/4)
- A piece of cake. (+1/4)
"You think this is funny? You think I'm joking, here?" or "Do you really think I'm going to let you talk to me like that?"
- You suck. (-1/2)
- I think we're done. (+1/4)
- Think? (+1/4)
Objective: To steal the couple's wine bottle without them noticing.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she will steal the couple's wine bottle but will be seen doing so.
"What are you waiting for? Go!"
- Who's the one waiting? (+1/3)
- Won't have long to wait long. (+1/3)
- Sterilize the wound. (-1/1)
"Good point. We'll keep watch while you go."
- Watch out for rabies. (+1/3)
- Here's some medicine. (-1/1)
- Watch her die? (+1/3)
"This woman needs help from someone who actually knows what they're doing."
- It's contagious. (-1/1)
- Good Samaritans. (+1/3)
- Unlock your potential. (If Chloe overheard the picnicking couple while looking for a way to use the viewfinder) (+1/3)
- Encouraging platitude. (+1/3)
Episode Two - "Brave New World"
Objective: Make sure that Rachel doesn't get cut from the performance of The Tempest.
Success: Chloe will get expelled from Blackwell Academy but Rachel will get off scot-free.
Failed: Rachel gets cut from the performance of The Tempest and Chloe gets suspended from Blackwell Academy for the rest of the year.
"Ms. Amber has accepted her responsibility."
- Accept reality. (+1/4)
- If it quacks. (-1/2)
- You are unacceptable. (+1/4)
"Rachel confessed. Are you calling her a liar?" or "Rachel confessed. I'm not listening to this nonsense."
- I confess she can act. (+1/4)
- You should confess. (+1/4)
- She just wants attention. (-1/2)
"You don't have to do this. It's okay. Really." or "You should know better than to try something like this, it isn't gonna work" (Failing the Bouncer Backtalk challenge.)
- You don't tell me what to do. (+1/4)
- We're not friends. (-1/2)
- You do you. (+1/4)
Chloe, this can't be you. Apologize this instant!" or "Apologize, Chloe! That's enough!"
- Sorry for making you look bad. (+1/4)
- I regret bullying Nathan. (+1/4)
- Shouldn't have dragged Rachel into it. (-1/2)
"Why come forward now? I'd commend you for your honesty, if not for... everything else." or "Why speak up, Ms. Price? Your words do not exonerate Rachel, but they do further implicate you."
- Why not leave with a bang? (+1/4)
- Why not tell the truth? (+1/4)
- I'm the worst. (-1/2)
Objective: Get information about the woman.
Success: Frank will tell Chloe that the woman's name is Sera.
Failed: Chloe does not find out the woman's name after Frank gets annoyed and tells her to shut up.
"Idiot. I make money by being discreet."
- You made no promises. (-1/2)
- I won't sell you out. (+1/3)
- Give me some credit. (+1/3)
"Come on, Price, I gotta protect my clients. Happy customers are the foundation of a good business." or "Nope, I protect my clients. Happy customers are the foundation of a good business."
- Build our relationship. (+1/3)
- It's about the drugs. (-1/2)
- Sharing is constructive. (+1/3)
- Dream cloud. (if Chloe viewed Frank's search history) (+1/3)
"Sure, I guess. So, why are you so hung up on this chick?" or "God, Price. Don't you have enough dumb high school shit going on? Why get hung up on some chick?"
- Hang myself out of boredom. (+1/3)
- Just hangin' out. (+1/3)
- So sensitive. (-1/2)
"Well, I guess you're not asking for life or death information here." or "What? No, I-- Forget it, Price. Over my dead body."
- What I imagine will be worse. (-1/2)
- Listen to your sixth sense. (+1/3)
- You've already crossed (+1/3)
Skip in front of the dorm
Objective: Convince Skip to let you into the dormitory.
Success: Skip will let Chloe pass and run off to inspect the mysterious vehicle in the parking lot.
Failed: Skip will let Chloe pass in anger and quits his job after insulting Principal Wells.
"I don't think I can. In fact, I think I have to ask you to state your official business, or else vacate Blackwell property."
- Women's business. (+1/5)
- Dirty business. (+1/5)
- Whatever. (-1/1)
"What? No! No, it's my job to ask, Chloe."
- Not cool, Skip. (-1/1)
- You're going to lose your job. (+1/5)
- Your job is creepy. (+1/5)
"It's not like that! Do you know what Wells would do to me if I didn't... you know... patrol?"
- Is Wells pressuring you? (+1/5)
- Wells doesn't respect you. (+1/5)
- So sick of this. (-1/1)
"I thought we were friends. Where is this coming from?"
- I need to get by. (-1/1)
- Friend? Hah. (+1/5)
- I thought we were friends, too. (+1/5)
"Look, look, look, I'm really sorry, Chloe! I'm so confused right now."
- You just looked at my tits! (+1/5)
- Look the other way. (+1/5)
- I don't even know. (-1/1)
Victoria in changing room
Objective: Get Victoria to give up the role of Prospera in The Tempest.
Success: Rachel will play Prospera after Victoria quits her role.
Failed: Rachel will play Prospera after drugging Victoria's tea.
"What are you talking about? You think I'm going to take advice from a loser like you?"
- Lost your mind. (+1/3)
- Greek chorus. (-1/2)
- 'Tis lost and shit. (+1/3)
"People... love theater. It's cool." or "Theater isn't something I'd expect trash like you to understand."
- Quit now. (-1/2)
- Theater of war. (+1/3)
- Theater in the round. (+1/3)
"The dramatic arts at Blackwell are venerated by... what am I saying? I don't have to justify myself to you." or "The dramatic arts are important, Chloe. They teach us about life."
- Drama queen. (+1/3)
- Dramatic irony. (+1/3)
- Understudy. (-1/2)
"Only the best of Blackwell get to perform, and I've earned this!" or "The best of Blackwell are out there watching!"
- Best-kept secret. (+1/3)
- Best defense. (+1/3)
- Best talents. (talked to Victoria in Episode 1 about Young Artist Award) (+1/3)
- Improvise. (-1/2)
James and Rose
Objective: Get James to confess to kissing Sera.
Regardless of whether Chloe succeeds or fails, Rachel will smash the table and confront her father about Sera.
"Oh? I thought you of all people would be grateful for family, at least."
- Grateful dead end. (+1/4)
- No thanks. (-1/2)
- Gratitude? How Privileged. (+1/4)
"Still, there must be some room for personal responsibility. I'm sure you agree, Chloe." or "Even if you do not have gratitude, you must believe there is an imperative toward personal responsibility, is there not?"
- Good question... not. (-1/2)
- Military responsibility? (+1/4)
- Responsible like my dad? (+1/4)
"Since you have answers for everything, Chloe, perhaps you'd like to enlighten us with some of your hard-earned wisdom about the world." or "Agreed. I'm sure we'd all love for you to enlighten us with some of your own perspectives."
- Shed some light. (+1/4)
- There's always darkness. (+1/4)
- Wake up. (-1/2)
"No, I don't believe it is. It seems clear that there points Chloe is making are merely veiled attacks on me." or "Yes, Chloe, I believe your point was a bit too veiled for me to understand."
- Incognito attacks? (If Chloe went through James' history on his computer.) (+1/4)
- No cover-up here. (+1/4)
- One percent. (-1/2)
- You can't hide. (+1/4)
"Nothing. It's her whole... attitude." or "I must agree. I don't understand the cause for this attitude."
- Unwomanly attitude? (+1/4)
- Nonviolent protest. (-1/2)
- Micro-aggressive attitude. (+1/4)
Episode Three - "Hell Is Empty"
Objective: Convince Mikey to have Elamon cast a spell that he’s protected from but will kill everyone including Chloe’s character.
Success: Elamon will cast his spell and survive while everything else dies.
Failed: Elamon will cast a protection spell on him and Chloe’s character. Both characters will valiantly kill their enemies before both are killed by the horde.
"It won't work! Look at all of them! I should've never started this quest. I'm too weak."
- Stronger than Duurgaron. (+1/4)
- Do your duty. (-1/2)
- Elamon is mighty. (+1/4)
"But I've never even used this spell before. What if I roll too low?" or "I've never even used this spell before. What if I roll too low?"
- You've never died. (+1/4)
- Never back down. (+1/4)
- I believe in you. (-1/2)
"You're the only friend who's ever helped me. I can't leave you behind!" or "You're the only party member I've ever had who's actually helped me. I can't leave you behind."
- I can be replaced. (-1/2)
- Great help I am. (+1/4)
- You help everyone! (+1/4)
"No, Callamastia/Barb/Chloe. I won't just kill you!" or "I won't just kill you! You're the only one I want to fight beside."
- You can't kill yourself. (+1/4)
- Kill them, too. (+1/4)
- Don't be afraid. (-1/2)
"But I can save everyone! I know I can. Somehow." or "If I can't save everyone, then I'm nothing."
- Everyone dies. (+1/4)
- It's not about you. (-1/2)
- Can't save everyone. (+1/4)
Objective: Try to cheer Drew up by playfully taking his pudding.
Success: Drew gives in and lets Chloe have his pudding, being cheered up by the friendly banter.
Failed: Drew decides to mess with Chloe by eating the pudding, being cheered up by winning an argument against Chloe.
"You don't scare me, Chloe Price."
- Not scared of me? (+1/4)
- Hospital food is scary. (+1/4)
- Have I ever let you down? (-1/2)
"Doesn't matter. I'm gonna eat this pudding and there's nothing you can do about it." or "Yes. Now you can watch me eat this."
- Haven't you eaten enough? (+1/4)
- Eat your feelings. (+1/4)
- Selfish much? (-1/2)
"If you loved pudding as much as I do, you might understand." or "Love pudding. Barely like you. So, no."
- If you love something... (+1/4)
- Do you love candy? (If Mikey gave Chloe a piece of candy in Episode 1) (+1/4)
- Better to have loved. (+1/4)
- Duel for it. (-1/2)
"Nah, that's something losers say." or "Don't be a sore loser." or "Best two outta three? Sounds like something a loser would say."
- Losers weepers. (+1/4)
- We're all losers. (+1/4)
- Be nice for once. (-1/2)
"Damn, Chloe. That was cold."
- Best served cold. (+1/4)
- In cold blood. (+1/4)
- You're right. (-1/2)
Objective: Inform the police on the phone about being trapped by Eliot in Rachel's house, while manipulating him at the same time.
Success: Chloe successfully notified the police without Eliot knowing about it. After the cops arrived, Chloe managed to escape with the money while the cops deal with Eliot.
Failed: Eliot finds out about the 911 call. After Eliot accidentally tripped the alarm, Chloe escapes with the money but not without Eliot escaping as well.
"What’s really going on here? You can tell me."
- Here at the Amber house? (+1/4)
- This exact location? (-1/1)
- The DA lives here. (+1/4)
"I’m talking about your situation. Rachel is dangerous. You need to realize that."
- You’re keeping me here. (-1/1)
- My life is at risk. (+1/4)
- I feel threatened. (+1/4)
"Thank you, Chloe. All I want is to help you. I’m glad you can finally see that."
- I need help. (+1/4)
- Help me, please! (+1/4)
- Not you. (-1/1)
"Hey, it’s okay. I’m not going anywhere."
- I wish I could leave. (+1/4)
- Hurry up. (-1/1)
- Attempting to move on. (+1/4)
Each character involved in a Backtalk challenge is represented by a unique symbol.
|Rodney Sears (Bouncer)
Sergeant army stripes
|Steph Gingrich AKA Dragonkin (Tabletop Game)
Set of keys
|Principal Raymond Wells
Opened can of beans
Blackwell security badge
Compact mirror, powder puff, and lipstick
Scales of Justice
|Mikey North AKA Elamon (Tabletop Game)
Two lacrosse sticks in an X formation
- Co-Director and Game Designer Chris Floyd designed the Backtalk mechanic as a "verbal sparring match". One of his inspirations for the mechanic was Monkey Island's insult swordfighting.
- The reason for leaving time travel powers behind, outside of canon reasons, is because Deck Nine wanted the game to center on realistic characters and storytelling. "We didn’t want to focus on science fiction, but instead what we think was so courageous about the first game: authentic flawed characters, and a story that was, despite the time travel, incredibly well-written." (Lead Writer Zak Garriss)
- The symbol used for showing that Chloe won her backtalk challenge is a skull which bears an uncanny resemblance to the misfit skull symbol Chloe has on her shirt in Life is Strange, the only difference being that both symbols are mirrored.