Some inconsistencies exist in Life is Strange, perhaps as a result of its episodic nature. The following page lists all inconsistencies, sorted in chronological order by the episode they appear in.
- 1 Episode One - "Chrysalis"
- 2 Episode Two - "Out of Time"
- 3 Episode Three - "Chaos Theory"
- 4 Episode Four - "Dark Room"
- 5 Episode Five - "Polarized"
- 5.1 Max's Belongings
- 5.2 Max's Selfie
- 5.3 Max texting David
- 5.4 Max's missing texts
- 5.5 Differences between the texts in-game and the diary
- 5.6 Max's Windbreaker
- 5.7 Nathan's Voice Message
- 5.8 Frank's Tattoo
- 5.9 Neonvault
- 5.10 From Omelette to Waffle
- 5.11 Pictures Flipped Horizontally
- 5.12 Chloe's Necklace
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
Episode One - "Chrysalis"
Chloe's Car Repairs
Chloe Price's cost estimate for truck repairs is signed and dated October 17th 2013, but Max Caulfield finds and reads the invoice in Chloe's room on October 7th 2013. This could potentially be fixed by the game's asset having the "1" erased and then reattaching to the game files.
Max's Rewind Hand
A drawing on page 11 of Max's diary shows Max executing her rewind gesture with her left hand raised, but she raises her right hand in the game. This sketch is inconsistent with gameplay but appears to have been based on early concept art that features as the box art for the game.
If Max chooses to take a photo of Kate Marsh getting bullied by David Madsen instead of intervening, the photo will appear in Max's diary on page 16. However, when Max is in Chloe's room later in this episode, the photo examined by Chloe is completely different to the one that was taken earlier. The pose of Kate in this photo matches the pose of a sketch of Kate on the same journal page.
Chloe's Red Hoop Earring
- Max has drawn Chloe with a red hoop earring on page 17 of her diary even though Chloe has no earring in the game. On the next page, Max does refer to Chloe having piercings (plural), but there are no visible ones at this early point in the game. (We later see in Episode 3 that Chloe has a belly button piercing but still no ear piercings or earrings in general.) Even though Max's sketch could be put down to an idealized version of Chloe from Max's imagination, the sketch is a replication of early concept art. As for the journal entry about piercings, this could have been an early writing remnant that the concept art was based on, or vice versa.
Arcadia Bay's ZIP Code
In the postcard sent to Chloe, Rachel wrote Chloe's adress stating that Arcadia Bay's ZIP Code is 97141 (which is the real ZIP Code of Tillamook, OR). Another postcard from someone called Amaury found in Chloe's room also indicates that 97141 is Arcadia Bay's 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.
Max and Chloe Last Hangout Date
On Page 22 of Max's diary, she writes about Chloe: "It's so strange where our lives have gone since the last time we hung out when we were thirteen." With their birth dates (Chloe - March 1994; Max - September 1995), there is no way that they would have been aged 13 at the same time. Chloe would have turned 14 six months before Max turned 13.
- A possible explanation for this could be that Max is simply generalizing their ages, using the age that she remembers herself being. Another example of when she does this is in Episode 4 when she sees the pirate CD in Chloe's room: "Oh my God, I made that mix for her when we were twelve."
The Lighthouse scene
When Chloe pulls Max out from the "storm vision" at the lighthouse, during the end of "Chrysalis," her arm has a jacket sleeve - the same jacket she is wearing in the end sequence of the last episode, "Polarized." At the end of "Chrysalis," Chloe is wearing a sleeveless shirt. This may be a bug or this could also mean that the game starts at the end.
Episode Two - "Out of Time"
When looking at the selfie Max took right after getting out of bed (which she put on her desk), several issues arise:
- On the printed photograph, Max is wearing her pink T-shirt and hoodie instead of her pajamas.
- On the printed photograph, Max's bed is never made (red arrows), even in the case when she made it just before taking the shot (blue arrows).
- The pink T-shirt in the photograph isn't relevant as Max will only wear her white doe T-shirt in this episode.
Dana's Halloween Email
An email from Dana Ward to all students announces a hall and gym decoration committee that will meet in the gym at 3:30 on Wednesday, October 10, but October 10 is on Thursday.
- A possible explanation for this could be that Dana simply made a typing error with the day or date.
Halloween Parade Flyer
On the flyer inside the Two Whales Diner for the 25th Annual "Happy Halloween Bazaar", it is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 27th. However, the 27th falls on a Sunday in 2013.
- A possible explanation for this could be that it is an outdated flyer from the previous year, because in 2012, the 27th did fall on a Saturday.
Mr. Jefferson Waiting Forever
If Max enters the classroom after Mr. Jefferson received a phone call and then rewinds time as far as she can, Kate and Mr. Jefferson will have their conversation, but the latter will never receive his phone call. As long as Max doesn't manually trigger the conversation with Mr. Jefferson, nothing else will happen.
When Max freezes time on her way to the roof of Prescott Dormitory, all ground floor windows appear to be intact, regardless of whether Alyssa Anderson has been saved from a football to the head in Episode 1 or not.
If Max took the picture of David harassing Kate, she will show it to everyone in the principal's office if she decides to blame David. Max then puts the picture on the principal's desk. If Max decides to rewind time, the picture logically disappears. But then if she decides to blame Nathan Prescott, the picture will magically appear on the desk (Max didn't put it there) and will stay on the desk even after rewinding time one more time, without anyone noticing it. If Max blames David again while the picture is already on the desk, it will disappear and be replaced by the new one Max puts on the desk. Blaming Jefferson doesn't make the picture magically appear.
Looking Directly at the Eclipse
Even though the solar eclipse wasn't scheduled, nobody should have stared directly at it without specific glasses, especially not for a long time like Max and Warren did at the end of the episode. Indeed, while there is no danger to the eye in looking directly at a total solar eclipse, looking directly at the smallest part of a partial eclipse is very dangerous and can result in retinal damage.
During the eclipse the shadow approaches the Sun from the right in all the times you see the sky, except in Kate's hospital room and when Chloe is at the lighthouse, in those two scenes the shadow covering the Sun approaches from the left.
Nathan's outfit when arrested
When Nathan is arrested in what will become the San Francisco timeline, he is seen wearing his red jacket and a white button-up V-neck shirt over a dark top during the timestream montage. However, this is supposed to take place around the same moment when Kate is crying in the hall, and Nathan was wearing his red jacket and a blue button-up V-neck shirt over a white top at this moment.
Episode Three - "Chaos Theory"
Max or Nathan's suspension
If Max or Nathan got suspended in the previous episode, dialogue in this episode claims that they instead got expelled. However in the next episode, it is accurately said via dialogue that they were suspended.
Calendar in Max's Diary
On page 39 of Max's diary for October 9, 2013, an extract of a personal organizer for March 2014 can be seen (although the month and year is partially obscured and not something that is immediately obvious).
- A plausible explanation could simply be that there are many diaries and personal organizers on the market that include future years/dates for the purpose of long-term planning.[note 1]
- This could be explained by Max being misinformed, as she did not know Nathan well and was perhaps unlikely to know his birthday.
Victoria Chase's birthday is listed as August 14, 1995 on her Blackwell Student Record (which makes her 18 during the events of the game), while her social media page says that it's November 14, 1995 (which makes her 17). A lot speaks for trusting in the school record rather than Victoria's social media since it is an official document featuring her parents' signature; still, it is unclear why Victoria wouldn't use her real birth date on social media. Victoria mentions her age again in the Dark Room in Episode 5; if you successfully warned her before, she says: "I don't want to die like this! I'm only 18!"
Rachel's Missing Person Posters state that Rachel was 19, while her Blackwell Student Record originally stated that she was 18, born July 22, 1995. However, this contradiction was corrected with a patch update on January 19, 2016, which changed her year of birth to 1994.
Warren Graham's age is listed as 16, according to the date of birth on his Student Information Sheet in the principal's office, but the high school is specifically for seniors. There is a possibility that he has advanced a few grades due to his academic abilities. On the other hand, some other students appear to have been attending Blackwell for longer than one senior year. It also seems contradictory that Max writes in her journal that Warren is "her age", since they are aged two years apart. It is possible however that Max didn't know Warren's age at the time she wrote that in her diary since she just arrived at Blackwell.
In a note to Frank Bowers, found in Frank's RV, Rachel refers to herself as a Leo; presumably the star sign. However, her date of birth would classify her as a Cancer-Leo cusp, and not a true Leo. Being born on July 22, 1994 in California would make her 29 degrees Cancer unless she was born at 7pm or later. If she proudly identifies as a Leo, it is possible she is an astrology enthusiast and knows her own birth chart.
Kate's Character Notes
Max's character notes for Kate Marsh will change in this episode, depending on whether Max manages to save her life or not. A new decal will appear on the page to cover the 'LiFE' graphic that was visible in the previous two episodes. However, there is currently an inconsistency with how these new graphics appear, due to the files being misnamed in the Unreal Engine packages (TX_Character_E3_Kate_SF, TX_Character_E4_Kate_SF, and TX_Character_E5_Kate_SF).
The sticker graphic that implies Kate is alive has been labelled Kate_scrapbook_dead, and the sticker graphic that implies that Kate is dead has been labelled Kate_scrapbook_alive. If Kate dies, the sticker graphic that appears after this consequence implies she is still alive ("Get Well Soon"). If Kate lives, the sticker graphic that appears implies that she has died ("Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone").[note 2]
Price Family Photo Album
When browsing the Prices' photobook, Max says, "I don't think I can rock that outfit like Rachel." She is referring to the picture of Rachel wearing the same plaid shirt as her. But the picture in question will only be seen after Max has turned the photobook's pages. When she makes her comment she has only seen pictures unrelated to Rachel.
Max's bangles change colour three times during Episode 3. They remain the standard colour (red, light blue, black) up until she wakes up in Chloe's room after a night spent breaking into Blackwell Academy (bangles now appearing to be dark purple, light blue, black). Once she puts on Rachel Amber's old clothes, the bangles change again (faded red, faded blue, faded black). The bangles revert back to their standard colours once she finds herself in 2013 in the alternative timeline at the end of the episode. Max's bangles also appear totally white in the major choice picture involving Pompidou.
In Episode 2, at the diner, Max eats breakfast with her fork in her left hand and her knife in her right. However, in this episode, when Joyce makes Max breakfast at the Madsen Household, Max eats breakfast with her knife and fork in opposite hands. It is either an oversight or an indication that Max is actually ambidextrous.
Max's SMS Timestamps
The morning after the break-in at Blackwell Academy, Max will receive three text messages from Warren a few seconds after she gets up from Chloe's bed. The timestamps of these texts are: 8:13am, 8:13am, and 8:14am. Max receives no further texts while she is inside Chloe's room. Once Max exits the room, she will receive a text from 'Unknown', who turns out to be Richard Marsh (Kate's father). This text has a timestamp of 8:10am, which is prior to the timestamps on Warren's texts. A possible explanation for this could be a delay in delivery to Max's handset. Most phones will display the time a message was sent to that device, not the time it was received.
If Max talks about Rachel's photo to Frank in the diner, he will put the picture in question on the table. The full picture can later be seen in Chloe's room when Max and Chloe are investigating the clues.
While the first photograph is supposed to be a torn piece of the second one, Rachel's face is completely different (as well as the background).
Episode Four - "Dark Room"
Although we know that Nathan's father is named "Sean" on his Blackwell Academy report, other names seem to be listed. Sean Prescott's signature on Nathan's Best Son Certificate doesn't equal that on his School Report.
In David's files, Nathan's vehicle is a red 4x4 truck with a broken tail light on the driver's side and a license plate of SXFTNDR. After Max and Chloe escape from the Blackwell swimming pool a truck bearing the same license plate is parked on the parking lot, but it is blue in color. When Max and Chloe arrive at the parking lot to attend the End of the World Party a day later, a green truck bearing the same license plate is parked there. The model is the same for all three cars, and there is no broken tail light on the latter two.. The tail light could easily have been fixed, but it is very strange that the trucks are a different color. There are two possible explanations for this:
- Nathan's license plate was reused as a game asset to decorate a different truck.
- Nathan's car got repaired and repainted after what happened to Kate to make sure no one would re-identify the car.
In David's investigation files on Nathan's Disciplinary Warning report, the date that Nathan had his outburst in Mrs. Hoida's "Intro To Literature" class is stated as Tuesday, September 20, but in the previous episode, the same report on Principal Wells' computer had the date of Tuesday, September 17. (It is September 17 that falls on a Tuesday in 2013.)
Chloe's Height Chart
|Original Timeline||Alternative Timeline|
|13 months||3 months|
|16 months||14 months|
|25 months||25 months|
|3.2_.0_ (partially illegible)||3.21.04|
|12.__.02 (partially illegible)||7.11.05|
Wooden Art Board
The wooden art board that Chloe and Max decorated together years ago changes from its first appearance in Episode 1. In Episode 1, it appears to be two wooden panels attached together. In Episode 4, it appears to be a single, solid piece.
When fighting Nathan in the dorms, Warren isn't wearing the same t-shirt in the game and in the trailer for Episode 4 and the Limited Edition.
The Changing Cliff
The cliff (and the forest on it) supporting the lighthouse seems to have a different shape each time it is seen in the game.
The cliff seen in the second episode (during the bus ride), is actually the wrong cliff: a cliff with exactly the same shape can be seen from the lighthouse, when looking at the horizon from behind the maintenance shack. It explains why the cliff's shape looks so different.
Number of Birthday Candles
In the picture showing Chloe having a fight with David over a cake on her 16th birthday, only nine candles can be seen. It seems very unlikely that seven candles could be hidden because of the perspective alone. On the other hand, it is not compulsory to have an exact number of candles on a cake, and there also appears to be the presence of colored icing(?) on the cake as decoration - a decoration which may have been ruined by the placement of more candles.
Episode Five - "Polarized"
Max's hoodie and satchel were placed on the sofa in one of the promotional shots for this episode. In the game they are on top of crates instead.
When comparing the selfie taken by Max in the art class at the beginning of the game (the one Max put on her table) with the one enabling Max to escape the Dark Room, it appears those are utterly different even though they are supposed to be the exact same picture.
Max texting David
If Max needed to search in the pamphlet to find David Madsen's number, then, in theory, his name would not have appeared above Max's text as this would imply that he already existed in her phone contacts. She may have quickly added him as a new contact when she sent the text, or the presence of the name could simply be an incidental detail for story-telling purposes, but as you do not need a name to send a message, there would have been no point in her doing this as it wastes time. The fact that David's name may now exist in her phone could cause confusion to the Max she leaves behind to live out that timeline, if she examines her contacts closely. The purpose of deleting the text may have been to prevent causing confusion to the Max she leaves behind, or it may simply have been a preemptive mindset to erase a digital footprint.
Max's missing texts
In the plane, when looking at her phone Max discovers a text sent by Chloe "Holy shit U rule Max." There is seemingly no reply after the text. However, Max can check her phone and see that the text was sent at 5:13pm, right after Max announced to Chloe that she won the contest. Max replied only one minute later, obviously a long time before even being on the plane.
Differences between the texts in-game and the diary
When Max texts David or when she reads Chloe's text on the plane, she holds her phone in a landscape position, like it appears in her diary. However the template is different: in-game, Max's phone doesn't show any time-stamps.
Also, the profile pictures in-game (for Max and Chloe) are different from the one used in the diary (cf the pictures in the two sections above).
After being freed by David from the dark room, Max is seen wearing a windbreaker when she comes up the stairs. There is no proper explanation regarding its origin.
- Jefferson's windbreaker is obviously bigger and different (you can see him wearing it in one picture after Max tore her winning picture in half)
- Max's windbreaker is nowhere to be seen in the darkroom
- It seems unlikely David would think of bringing a girl windbreaker with him
- The windbreaker perfectly fits Max.
The only possible explanations would be the following:
- Jefferson brought Rachel/another victim several times in the darkroom and she left her windbreaker once that she obviously never got back (remember that Rachel's clothes fit Max perfectly). Maybe there's a coat rack near the door that the developers forgot to put.
- Max could have had the windbreaker in her satchel all along. A lot of models can actually fold up into a little pouch, easy to carry around. However, it wouldn't explain why Max didn't use it when she had her first vision before she was soaking wet.
Nathan's Voice Message
Mr. Jefferson tells Max that he killed Nathan and buried him somewhere, most likely before the "End of the World" party, as no one saw Nathan there. Furthermore, Mr. Jefferson already had his phone at the party as he sent the fake SMS to Max and Chloe saying that he would destroy the evidence. If Max had received Nathan's warning message before Jefferson's SMS, it seems unlikely that she wouldn't have noticed Nathan's voice mail earlier.
Though Frank never had a scar tattoo on his throat throughout the series, he clearly has one in the ending of Episode 1 and the Sacrifice Chloe ending while watching Chloe's funeral. Although it is possible he could have applied and removed a removable tattoo sticker, there's also a photo of Frank and Rachel Max can find in his RV in Episode 3, which clearly shows him with that tattoo again. This is very contradicting, but probably a design mistake.
In the first episode, the photo editing software in Jefferson's class has a name NEONVAU. However, in all subsequent appearances, e.g in the Dark Room or during Max's nightmare, it is changed to NEONVAULT.
From Omelette to Waffle
When Max confronts her doppelganger during the nightmare sequence, the latter is seen eating either a Bacon Omelette or a Belgian Waffle (depending on what the player chose during Episode 2). However, when she spots Chloe entering the diner, the dish — whichever it was — will always turn to be a Belgian Waffle. This is because this sequence is a pre-rendered cutscene. But only the cutscene with the Belgian Waffle was included in the game.
Pictures Flipped Horizontally
While Max is seen looking at pictures of Chloe during the last timestream after sacrificing Chloe in the bathroom, it appears some of the pictures in the album have been flipped over horizontally, meaning that the pictures have been mirrored.
The in-game model of Chloe has the three cartridges around her neck in a two-tone color - the shell casings are brass whereas the actual bullets, which are pointed, are copper in color. However, when we see a close-up of Chloe's necklace at the end of Episode 4 (when she gets shot by Jefferson), the cartridges are given a more detailed form, resembling 5.56 or .223 rifle rounds; the bullets in this scene have two distinct lines on each bullet with the base of the copper-colored bullets being a different circumference than the brass shell casings. Furthermore, the bullets are longer than the ones seen on the Chloe character model. When we see Chloe's necklace on Jefferson's coffee table in Episode 5, the cartridges are of a single brass color with the bullets plateaued at the tips. The bases of the bullets are noticeably smaller in circumference than that of the shell casings.
- Max's diary pages from September 2013 and onwards also contain flyers for past events in 2012 and earlier in 2013, so her journal wasn't decorated with things from a stated time period. The dates on these flyers are only visible on the full portions located in the game files, so players would be unaware of these dates in-game; this makes the 2014 extract seem more out of place.
- DONTNOD were made aware of this inconsistency on 29th March 2017. It is unknown if a patch will be released that fixes this issue.
- Scientific article on "Why Can't You Look at the Sun During a Solar Eclipse?"