Life is Strange 2 is the third game by Dontnod Entertainment in the Life is Strange franchise featuring a new story. The first of five episodes, "Roads," was released on September 27, 2018, and the final episode, "Wolves," was released on December 3, 2019.[note 1] Boxed Editions of the game were announced on October 14, 2019 for release in 2019/2020. A macOS and Linux port by Feral Interactive was released on December 19, 2019.
SynopsisThe story of Life is Strange 2 follows the two Diaz brothers, Sean and Daniel, ages 16 and 9, respectively, on their journey from Seattle, USA to their father's home town of Puerto Lobos, Mexico. Their journey begins after the sudden death of their father, Esteban Diaz, age 45, who was killed by a police officer on October 28, 2016, after an incident with Sean, Daniel, and the neighbor's son escalates. When Esteban is fatally shot, Daniel screams and a shockwave occurs, knocking the two brothers unconscious. When Sean awakens, he notices the dead police officer on the ground and hastily picks up Daniel, fleeing the scene in frantic state.
"One Journey. Many Paths.
The award winning Life is Strange series continues with a long-awaited sequel from DONTNOD Entertainment.
Two brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz, 16 and 9, are forced to run away from home after a tragic incident in Seattle. In fear of the police, Sean & Daniel head to Mexico while attempting to conceal a sudden and mysterious supernatural power.
Life on the road is tough and now totally responsible for his much younger brother, Sean begins to realize that his decisions will impact their lives forever…"
After the sudden death of his father in the hands of a police officer and said officer ending up dead by inexplicable reasons, Sean Diaz flees his hometown in Seattle, USA, along with his brother, Daniel, fearing separation and being accused of a crime they did not commit. With barely any resources and Daniel not knowing what happened to his father, the brothers sleep in the streets and spend one night in the forest. The next morning, Sean and Daniel make a stop at a gas station to get supplies and are recognized by the owner, who holds Sean captive and calls the police. Sean escapes capture with the help of Daniel, and the brothers find help in a stranger named Brody. Sean discusses his situation with Brody and decides to get out of the country and go to Puerto Lobos, Mexico, his father's hometown, and to tell Daniel the truth about their father. Brody gets the brothers a motel room and parts ways with them. In the motel room, Daniel angrily manifests telekinetic powers after finding out about his father's death before Sean can tell him. Sean manages to calm him down, and the next morning, the brothers take a bus towards the south.
A month after the incident in Seattle, Sean and Daniel have taken shelter in an abandoned house deep in the woods. As Daniel becomes increasingly ill, Sean decides to risk traveling to the nearby town of Beaver Creek in order to seek help from their distant grandparents, Claire and Stephen Reynolds. During their stay at the Reynolds' home, Daniel uses his powers to stop next-door neighbor Chris Eriksen from falling from his tree house, inadvertently causing the latter to believe he has superpowers as the two become friends. The next day, Chris' father invites the brothers on their trip to the Christmas market, where Sean meets the homeless transients Cassidy and Finn. Once back at the house, Daniel convinces Sean to assist him in searching their mother's room, where they come across a letter expressing her concerns about her sons following the Seattle incident. Moments later, Claire returns home with Stephen and confronts the brothers over violating her rules and trust; during the ensuing argument, Stephen leaves to his workroom, where he becomes pinned underneath his long-neglected cupboard. After Stephen is pulled free, Beaver Creek's sheriff arrives at their home in search for Sean and Daniel, causing Claire to distract him at the door while the brothers flee the house. During their escape, Chris can either help guide them towards an alternate escape route, discover that he never had powers after Daniel flips a police car, or become injured by said car. Afterwards, the brothers jump aboard a train heading out of Beaver Creek.
In a flashback three months before the incident, Sean and Daniel are caught having a fight in the living room by Esteban, who lectures Sean about being an adult and watching over Daniel. Sean apologizes to Daniel and gives him a watch, which the latter promises to keep forever. In the present day, two months after leaving Beaver Creek, Sean wakes up at a campsite in Humboldt County, where he has been working on a cannabis plantation for several weeks with Cassidy and Finn's community of drifters. As he makes new friends within the group, Sean finds Daniel drifting away from him and growing more attached to Finn, who treats him as an adult. One day, Daniel is caught sneaking into the house of the pot farm's owner, Merrill, who fires the brothers and orders him to be punished; however, Daniel saves himself with his powers, exposing them to Finn, Cassidy, and fellow drifter Jacob. That night, Finn plans on using Daniel's powers to break into Merrill's safe and asks Sean to tag along, to which he can either join or refuse (the latter of which results in him following the two with Cassidy after they leave without him). They end up being caught in the living room by Merrill, who may kill Finn or wound Daniel during the ensuing confrontation. Afterwards, Daniel loses control of his powers and destroys the room, knocking out everyone present. The next morning, the participants of the conflict are shown still lying on the ground with the exception of Daniel, who has left a trail of money leading from the safe out the door. In the episode's final shot, Sean is revealed to have a piece of glass embedded in his eye.
Announcement and Reveal
On May 18, 2017, the game was officially announced as a "new Life is Strange game" in a video with Michel Koch, Raoul Barbet and Luc Baghadoust. It was stated that the team has been working on the project since the release of the Limited Edition in February, 2016. In the video and on official material, that was exclusively referred with that term, although Dontnod staff sometimes referred to it as Life is Strange 2.
Before the announcement, it was already known that a second team at Dontnod besides the Vampyr team was working on an unannounced project, which was later rumored to be a second season of Life is Strange by German website pcgames.de on Februray 8, 2017.
In an interview with Polygon on June 24, 2015, it was said that if Dontnod pursues a second season, it's likely to feature a new set of characters. In a different interview with IBTimes on December 15, 2015, it was stated that Max Caulfield and Chloe Price's story was told.
On July 10, 2017, Jean-Luc Cano, Lead Writer for Life is Strange 2 confirmed on a podcast that the motion capture sessions began in August 2017. He also suggested that the game would be released in 2018.
On March 5, 2018, it was said that Dontnod is awaited to return with a new story and characters in the release announcement post of Before the Storm's bonus episode "Farewell", stating the following at the end, "We now look forward to the coming months, when Michel Koch and Raoul Barbet’s team at Dontnod returns to present the new story and characters of the next Life is Strange."
On April 19, 2018, a roadmap released for Dontnod's planned IPO mentioned the game in the "En production" (2018-2020) section and describes it with "Episodes".
On June 10, 2018, a standalone game set in the Life is Strange universe was announced, called The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, that serves as a precursor to the events of the second season. During the E3 conference, Dontnod said they will be releasing Life is Strange 2 "properly soon". Emphasizing on not wanting to canonize either final choice from the first season, Co-Director Michel Koch confirmed that the player's final choice will affect some elements in Life is Strange 2.
On August 2, 2018, a teaser was released, which showed dashcam footage of a police officer responding to a code "10-10" that seems to stand for "fight in progress". Once the cop stopped the car and got out to investigate, a giant gust of wind struck and knocked over both the cop and the car, possibly killing the cop. It is speculated that the gust of wind relates to a superpower(s) in the game.
On August 20, 2018 during Gamescom, a reveal trailer and further details were released. (TBC)
On October 1, 2018, Feral Interactive have announced that macOS and Linux ports of the game will be released in 2019.
On November 29, 2018, a release window of January 2019 for Episode 2: Rules was announced in a blog post.
On December 18, 2018, a live action video of Episode 1's ending with the voice actors including a teaser for Episode 2 and the episode's release date were released.
On March 21, 2019, the release date of the remaining episodes as well as the title for Episode 3, "Wastelands", was announced.
On April 4, 2019, it was announced that all episodes, including Episode 2, will be available separately from now on.
On August 7, 2019 the title for Episode 4, "Faith" was announced along with key art and a date for the episode trailer.
On November 1, 2019, a content campaign called #JourneysEnd was started in anticipation for the final episode.
On February 6, 2020, a Japanese localization of Captain Spirit was released.
On March 25, 2020(UTC), a Japanese localization of the game was released.
With the intention and ambition to be more expansive than the original Life is Strange, Life is Strange 2 is written in the classic American road movie template where the player will encounter multiple characters and new environments. The writing team at Dontnod including American writer Christian Divine are huge fans of road stories in books and film such as Stand by Me, Into the Wild, Of Mice and Men and Keruac's On the Road. Writers Michel Koch, Raoul Barbet and Jean-Luc Cano have been travelling around the Northwest coast and the United States to gather inspiration. For Episode 1 sceneries, the team went hiking in Washington and took photos as a reference. Creating the sceneries for the game was a challenge because the team had never worked on that type of environment before. During their travelling, they tried to meet a lot of people on the fringe parts of society in order to gather realistic impressions and to be able to show how hard it is so live as outcasts through their game's protagonists Sean and Daniel. They also went to Mexico to do research on the Diaz brothers' Mexican descent. In an interview prior to the release of the game, Michel Koch revealed that one of the major inspirations for Life is Strange 2 was Mike Brodie, a photographer known for having train-hopped across the USA for four years while capturing images of the people he met along the way.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Michel Koch said: "We also knew we didn't want to do a small town setting with a fixed set of characters again because we might end up going into some similar themes and issues as the first game. It might have been a comfort zone for us and for players. Instead, we wanted to think about something which would allow us to tackle a completely different subject matter and themes. So we thought about the idea of two brothers alone on the road who just need to take care of each other and discovering society from a different angle, as they are outcasts now."
The game's central themes are brotherhood and education and explore how an older brother has to try to teach his younger sibling, thus the player's choices and actions will determine the younger brother Daniel's behavior in the narrative.
Co-writer Christian Divine explained: "The game's about education. You know, it's about teaching. I mean I have an older brother, the same exact age difference between Sean and Daniel, so if you have siblings you all know what it's like to have a little sibling chasing you. I know that I was the obnoxious sibling to my older brother, like 'Hey Scott, what are you doing?' when his friends are out. So that's a universal. Doesn't matter, we all understand that sense of sibling rivalry or, you know, companionship. And so this game is going to be about Sean having to try to teach Daniel and of course, your choices and actions will determine Daniel's behavior in the narrative."
"I think what Michel, and Raoul and Jean-Luc Cano as the original story writer and the character writer for the game, and also for Life is Strange: Captain Spirit, I think he just wanted to explore this world of brothers in this kind of desperate situation and how younger people respond to, you know, trauma and obstacles and also, you know, the learning and evolution of a person. And plus it's a road movie story so you're actually going to be encountering all these different situations and people. So it's a tapestry, and it's a larger tapestry from Life is Strange, so it's part of the universe, but it's expanding on that so it's different. We want to be ambitious. We're trying to be ambitious and keep moving forward and push the boundaries for the Life is Strange universe."
In an interview, Creative Director Michel Koch explains: "Over the course of the game, most of your actions, the things you do and the things you say will have consequences on Daniel. He'll be around you, he'll listen to you, and he'll look at what you're doing. Education is a core theme and the basis of the choices and consequences in Life is Strange 2, where you'll have to decide what kind of brother you'll be, and what kind of actions you'll make to take care of Daniel."
In an interview Lead Producer Luc Baghadoust said: "It's very hard now to do something that's not political, I feel, [regardless of whether you’re making games or tweeting.] People that express themselves are now more politicized than ever. It was very important and we have a responsibility to address the topics in a very careful way. But the idea is to deliver this message, not be too judgmental, but not hide the topics we want to."
Gameplay and Mechanics
Co-Director Raoul Barbet said about the differences in how choices and consequences work and how Sean and Daniel's relationship has become a core part of gameplay: "We wanted to evolve both the choice and consequences system for Sean, because it won't only affect his story – like, say, the character of Max from the first one – but it will have an effect on another character too. This is where it was interesting for us to link to the notion of education. If you choose something for you, it can change your life and have some consequences for you, but here it's even more important because it will have some consequences on Daniel himself."
A lot of work went into the development of Daniel's AI and what he'd be doing in each moment to ensure he feels like a real person the player can form a connection with. Daniel's AI presented Dontnod with a unique challenge- creating a character who's capable of naturally reacting and responding to the choices the player makes, while also having a personality that can be influenced over the course of the game. This adds a new level to the player's experience of choices and consequences as compared to the original Life is Strange.
Dontnod has upgraded the dialogue and interaction mechanics compared to Season 1 in order to create a more immersive and natural experience for the player. Some of the enhancements were already present in Captain Spirit. The protagonist can react to ambient conversations during gameplay and the conversation continues during the action.
Dontnod also markedly improved both lip syncing and the general facial animation that had been previously criticized in the original Life is Strange.
In order to ensure natural dialogue for Sean, Daniel and Esteban, Dontnod relied on the people of color on the writing team to make adjustments along the way, such as Designer Macha Lopez.
- Main article: Soundtrack (Season 2)
- "Lisztomania" - Phoenix
- "On The Flip Of A Coin" - The Streets
- "No Woman" - Whitney
- "Banquet" - Bloc Party
- "Red" - Mt. Wolf
- "Death with Dignity" - Sufjan Stevens
- "I Found A Way" - First Aid Kit
- "On Melancholy Hill" - Gorillaz
- "D.A.N.C.E." - Justice
- "I'm Willing" - Ben Lee
- "Natalie" - Milk & Bone
- "Meaning (Choral Version)" - Cascadeur
Episode 1 received generally favorable reviews. It was praised for its charmful and humorous writing, its improvement of animations and graphics, the new ambient dialogue feature and fleshed out means of interaction, as well as the artificial intelligence of Sean's little brother Daniel as his companion.
The tackling of political topics like race and police brutality are discussed controversially among fans and critics. On one hand, the game is praised for tackling these issues, on the other hand some players complain about the game being "too political" or heavy-handed.[ref needed]
New camera techniques are used, from soaring birds-eye-view shots of the brothers to clever close-ups and wide angles that provide room for the player to reflect and ponder on what unfolds before them. "This means that the game doesn’t just lock you out when you choose to interact with something, and there’s not much dead air when you’re exploring."
- Steam user reviews were "very positive" near Episode 3's release.
Awards and Nominations
- Life is Strange 2 received an honorable mention for "Best Narrative" in the Game Developers Choice Awards 2019.
- Episode 1 of Life is Strange 2 was nominated for the Melville Award for "Best Writing" in the New York Videogame Awards 2018.
- Life is Strange 2 was nominated for a BAFTA in the category of "Game Beyond Entertainment".
- Life is Strange 2 won "Best Interactive Story Game" and "Best Adventure Game" in the Best Of 2019 Awards.
- Life is Strange 2 won "Best Writing - Drama" in the Adventure Gamers' Aggie Awards.
|OS: Windows 7 or above (64-bit)||OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)|
|Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 (3.1GHz) or AMD Phenom X4 945 (3.0GHz)||Processor: Intel Core i5 3470, (3.20 Ghz) or AMD FX-8350, (4.00 Ghz)|
|Memory: 4GB RAM||Memory: 6GB RAM|
|Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 2GB or AMD Radeon HD 7770 2GB||Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB or AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB|
|DirectX: Version 11||DirectX: Version 11|
|Hard Drive: 14 GB available space||Hard Drive: 14 GB available space|
Note: 32-bit operating systems will not be supported.
- Exactly two years prior to the announcement of Season 2, on May 18, 2015, the trailer of Episode 3: Chaos Theory of Life is Strange's first season was launched.
- The game uses Unreal Engine 4, the successor of Unreal Engine 3 that was used for the first Life is Strange game.
- The production music used in the teaser is "Held Apart" by Stephen John Bernard Kielty, Glenn Herweijer, Ben Sumner.
- The song used in Episode 1 Launch Trailer is "Colour to Colour" by Seyr.
- The key art was created by Lead Artist Edouard Caplain.
- The Diaz brothers are confirmed to be half-Mexican.
- At the end of Captain Spirit, it is confirmed that Chris will be featured in Life is Strange 2. He is featured in Episode 2: Rules.
- The working title for Life is Strange 2 seems to be "Promenade". With the possibility to pre-order the game on the release day of Captain Spirit, the name was displayed in some cases such as a mentioning of "Life is Strange: Promenade" on the Xbox One dashboard. The name "Promenade - Season Pass" was also added to the "Life is Strange 2 - Episodes 2-5 bundle" package as the Metacritic name.
- On October 6, 2017, a 9gag post titled "Mocap session for Life is Strange 2" with a photo seemingly shows someone in a motion capture suit with a framed Life is Strange image in the background was posted.
- The first episode's credits list Steve Gaynor and Karla Zimonja, co-founders of Fullbright and creators of Gone Home as additional writers. It was previously stated that Gone Home, which was released around the same time as Life is Strange, was being developed in late 2013. Co-Director and Writer Michel Koch stated that it was "awesome to have [his] insight on the episode".
- During Captain Spirit, Chris can come across an e-mail on his father's computer detailing accounts of "unruly teenage freight-hoppers" in the area. Michel Koch later revealed in an interview that one of his major inspirations for Life is Strange 2 was Mike Brodie, a photographer known for having train-hopped across the U.S.A. for four years while capturing images of the people he met along the way. Both prior to and after the release of this interview, it was speculated that the protagonist of Life is Strange 2 would encounter and join a group of the aforementioned freight-hoppers during the game.
- On April 30, an image appeared on the Microsoft Store's "Life is Strange 2 - Episode 2-5 Bundle" product page, which turned out to be the thumbnail of the Episode 3 trailer.
- Official website
- Tumblr reveal blog post (August 20, 2018)
- Tumblr announcement blog post (May 18, 2017)
- Square Enix NA Press Center
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 journeys onto macOS and Linux on 19th December
- ↑ "Life is Strange 2 Details Revealed", Tumblr post
- ↑ Square Enix Website
- ↑ Tumblr announcement post
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Facebook post by Jean-Luc Carradines Cano
- ↑ German article claiming season 2 is in development (February 8, 2017); Summary of the German article claiming season 2 is in development by Reddit user /u/Bardewi
- ↑ Life is Strange's second season would star a new cast (if it happened) (June 24, 2015)
- ↑ Life Is Strange: Directors say season two would work but 'Max and Chloe's story is told' - IBTimes UK
- ↑ PCGamesn Interview (January 22, 2016)
- ↑ Job advertisement "Character Artist H/F Junior"
- ↑ Jean-Luc Cano invited in the ABCD podcast
- ↑ Reddit post by /u/magicarrot
- ↑ "Before the Storm’s bonus episode Farewell out now!", official Tumblr post
- ↑ dontnod-bourse.com, image
- ↑ Choices you make in Captain Spirit will carry over to Life is Strange 2
- ↑ E3 Q&A Choices for Life Is Strange Season One Carries over to Season 2
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 Release Date, Characters, Gameplay, Trailer, Everything We Know (USgamer, August 21, 2018)
- ↑ Feral Interactive news page
- ↑ " Official Tumblr post, "Life is Strange — Hello everyone, As you know we have kept you..."
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 - Mascot Bundle DLC Steam
- ↑ Life Is Strange 2 Live-Action Trailer, Episode 2: Rules Screenshots Released - Hardcore Gamer (Dec 18, 2018)
- ↑ Official Tumblr post, "#LifeisStrange2 Episode 3: Wastelands will release May 9th. Episode 4 will..."
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ Official Twitter post
- ↑ PAX West 2018 Panel (August 31, 2018)
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Why Life is Strange 2 is ditching Arcadia Bay for its radically different roadtrip (August 21, 2018)
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 interview: Easter Eggs, favourite moments and the puppy (March 14, 2019)
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 Life is Strange 2 Developers on Leaving Chloe and Max Behind - Gamescom 2018
- ↑ Said during a PAX West 2018 Panel (August 31, 2018).
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 36.2 Find out why your choices really matter in Life is Strange 2 (November 13, 2018)
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 creators explain why they won’t shy away from politics in games (April 21, 2019)
- ↑ Empathy is the Defining Core of Life is Strange: An Interview with Christian Divine (January 17, 2019)
- ↑ Metacritic
- ↑ Opencritic
- ↑ 41.0 41.1 41.2 Trusted Reviews: Life is Strange 2: Episode One – Roads Review (August 26. 2018)
- ↑ Life Is Strange Fans: Life Is Strange 2 – Episode 1: Roads Review (September 26, 2018)
- ↑ GameSpot: Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 Review - What Doesn't Kill Us (September 26, 2018)
- ↑ Red Dead Redemption 2 Leads List Of GDC 2019 Choice Awards Nominees! (January 4, 2019)
- ↑ 2018 New York Game Awards Nominees Revealed (January 3, 2019)
- ↑ BAFTA Games Awards nominations 2019 (March 14, 2019)
- ↑ Best Interactive Story Game (December 23, 2019)
- ↑ Best Adventure Game (January 10, 2020)
- ↑ Best Writing - Drama (February 7, 2020)
- ↑ Michel Koch's Twitter post
- ↑ Reddit post by /u/Viggymaster
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 - Episodes 2-5 bundle on SteamDB
- ↑ Mocap session for Life is Strange 2 on 9gag
- ↑ Steve Gaynor's Twitter post
- ↑ Michel Koch's Twitter post
- ↑ Reddit post by u/ash2003ton