"I take photos. Of me, the world, everything. It may sound sad, but I have a blast." — Max in "Chrysalis"
Maxine Caulfield, better known as Max (born September 21, 1995), is the playable protagonist of Life is Strange. She is an 18-year-old aspiring photographer and senior at Blackwell Academy. She left her mom and dad in Seattle for the seaside town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, where she grew up.
After saving her childhood friend Chloe Price from being killed by Nathan Prescott in one of Blackwell Academy's bathrooms, she discovers she has the ability to rewind time and even stop it in its tracks. On the search for clues to solve the mysterious disappearance of Rachel Amber, Max must also discover how to use her powers to save the town of Arcadia Bay from a tornado.
- For the image gallery, click here. For Max's room click here. To check out Max's computer, click here.
- 1 Personality
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Autobiography
- 4 Background
- 5 Episode One - "Chrysalis"
- 6 Episode Two - "Out of Time"
- 7 Episode Three - "Chaos Theory"
- 8 Episode Four - "Dark Room"
- 9 Episode Five - "Polarized"
- 10 Alternative Timeline
- 11 Powers
- 12 Equipment
- 13 Outfits
- 14 Associated Deaths
- 15 Relationships
- 16 Symbolism
- 17 Memorable Quotes
- 18 Theories
- 19 Character Concept and Design
- 20 Artistic Influences and Inspirations
- 21 Inconsistencies
- 22 Trivia
- 23 Gallery
- 24 Notes
- 25 References
Max is geeky, quite introverted and slightly self-conscious, particularly when it comes to her photography. According to herself, she rather likes to observe the world around her than actually participate in it; that's why several students including Juliet Watson think she wouldn't really care for others. But on the contrary, she makes a genuine effort to show kindness to all of Blackwell's students. She's a clear, deductive thinker, smart and sneaky, while also practical, reasonable and mature, in some aspects, for her age, especially compared to her best friend, Chloe. She is also brave, placing herself in harm's way to protect those she cares about.
She has great affection and interest in photography, always taking pictures of her surroundings, since she considers it a way to be part of the world at a safe distance and aspires to make it into a career one day. She especially has an affinity for old analog cameras and instant camera selfies. She also seems to like obscure cult movies and anime, much like her friend Warren Graham. She has always dreamed of traveling and exploring the world, as well as going on "adventures" together with her childhood friend Chloe.
Max becomes more confident and decisive as her adventure continues, probably due to Chloe's influence combined with her time-altering powers. This newfound strength and self-confidence reaches its apex in Episode 5 when she is finally confronted with Jefferson and has to save Chloe. Right from the beginning, Max feels deeply responsible for her actions and does not take her rewind power lightly, and she doesn't yet realize the full consequences of her power. In the end, Max appears deeply troubled with the consequences of her decisions and the responsibility she has to bear, as represented by her nightmare.
Some people regard Max as "nosy" - as revealed in her Blackwell student file. There are several instances throughout the game where Max is called that by other characters, including admitting to being nosy herself. It's obvious that Max is pretty interested in other people's stuff, but it's up to the player how far her curiosity goes, such as to what extent she goes to nose around in other people's rooms.
She is shown as extremely introverted, preferring to stay in her room, likes to isolate herself with music and excuse herself to go to the bathroom to have a "meltdown" after being called on in class, is reluctant to submit her photo, despite strong encouragement from her favorite teacher, and has trouble during social interactions with people, even her dorm-mates, until her powers allow her to "cheat". She also comes across as aloof to her peers (a common experience for people on the autistic spectrum or with anxiety disorders) and apparently fluctuates between being too quiet or too chatty. She is in an IEP (Individualized Education Program, a program usually reserved for students with some form of disorder which means they need help) according to her student file, but otherwise, nothing is confirmed.
She refers to herself as being clumsy after breaking and spilling a number of items and having to rewind time.
Max is the quintessential hipster, preferring an understated style that consists of simple T-shirts bearing logos and "generic jeans" (as Chloe calls them). She has auburn brown hair, blue eyes, and freckles. She appears to wear eye shadow and eyeliner, although this is also quite understated. She has no tattoos or piercings that we know of. She wears a set of three colored bangles on her right wrist that appear to be silicone wristbands.
The following is what Max wrote about herself in her journal's diary:
My name is Max Caulfield, and ever since I was a little kid I knew I wanted to be a photographer. I've always seen the world through my own lens finder. Maybe it's a way for me to be part of the world, but at a safe distance.
For some reason I was always drawn to old analog camera gear rather than digital tech. I love all kinds of styles and techniques but for me, the instant camera selfie is the one I love most. I don't care if people make fun of me or not. I'm in great company, right? And now I've come all the way back to my childhood home to study photography at Blackwell Academy, a private school for 12th grade seniors.
On a scholarship even! I originally left behind Chloe, my "best friend forever" (at least until I left without talking to her once in five years) and it feels so weird to be back here without seeing her yet. So I'm eighteen now, an official adult even though I don't always feel so wise or mature, and I'm ready to begin a whole new life here with retro camera at my side.
At least I'm trying to climb out of my cocoon.[note 1] I shouldn't expect my life to completely change after a few weeks of Blackwell Academy. As my parents love telling me on a loop, "You have all the time in the world." [note 2]
Max grew up in Arcadia Bay, where she and Chloe were close childhood friends who always hung around each other and used to play pirates at their homes or in the woods, dreaming of their future and the adventures they would experience together.
In 2008, when Max was 13, she was with Chloe at her house when Chloe's father, William Price, tragically died in a car crash. Soon after the accident, Max moved to Seattle with her parents, leaving her best friend and her old life behind. The two fell out of touch, especially after Chloe's mother Joyce Price remarried. Five years later, Max is granted a scholarship for Blackwell Academy - a school of arts and sciences. She moves back to Arcadia Bay, mostly due to her admiration for the work of her famous new teacher, Mark Jefferson, but she also wonders if she had wanted to come back all along, just to see if she and Chloe are still friends. Although Max enjoyed her time in Seattle, saying it was cool and perfect for photography, she also felt "kinda lonely" and out of her league.
It is clear that both her parents care about her greatly, due to their separate birthday texts and her mother's encouraging texts at various points in each episode. Her mother gets a special mention as Max talks about the coconut bites in her bedroom, revealing that she was given a $200 gift certificate with them for her birthday. On top of the money her father transferred to her account, it is clear that the Caulfields are a well-off family. She speaks fondly of her dad, reminiscing about them going to hockey games together to support the Seattle Thunderbirds. It's also revealed that Max's teddy bear, the Captain, is special to her because she remembers going to the ER with her mother to have his eye removed after she swallowed it.
Max has dreamed of becoming a photographer since childhood and has a passion for analog photography, greatly preferring it to digital images. When looking at the retro cameras in the art classroom, Max is thrilled. She even has a vintage camera website open on her laptop in "Chrysalis", dubbed "Camera Porn".
Max plays guitar, as evident from the butterfly covered acoustic guitar in her room. She plays her guitar right-handed.
Episode One - "Chrysalis"
At the beginning of the game, Max finds herself in the midst of a fierce thunderstorm with an eerie lighthouse in the distance. Once Max reaches the lighthouse, a massive tornado comes into view from the cliff overlooking the sea. As it spins towards Arcadia Bay, it lifts a fishing boat that smashes into the lighthouse, which begins to fall on Max. Max wakes up in her photography class and deduces that it was a dream.
Later, in the girls' bathroom of Blackwell Academy, Max witnesses Nathan Prescott in a heated argument about drugs with a blue-haired girl (who we later find out is Chloe). Nathan shoots her and Max reaches out to stop him. However, Max wakes up again in her photography class and discovers that she can manipulate time. The first significant action Max takes with this power is to save Chloe's life by activating the fire alarm before Nathan can shoot her. Coming out of the bathroom, Max stumbles upon David Madsen, Head of Security at Blackwell Academy. He is suspicious of Max and demands an explanation for her behavior but Principal Wells steps in and sends David off. Max then has a conversation with the principal, where Max makes the first major choice - whether to report Nathan or hide the truth.
After saving Chloe, Max heads back to her dormitory to retrieve Warren's flash-drive. While there are many opportunities to talk to other Blackwell students, it is clear that she and Warren are close friends. On her way to the dorm, Max encounters Victoria and her two cronies, Courtney and Taylor, at the entrance. When they won't let her in, Max has to soak them with the sprinklers and then coat Victoria in paint before she can finally get into the dorm. Max has the opportunity to take Victoria's photo or comfort her. Once inside the dorm, Max discovers that her friend Dana Ward has taken the flash-drive. To get it back, she has to convince Juliet to let Dana out of the room. Juliet believes that her boyfriend Zach is cheating on her with Dana - however, the entire thing is a prank set up by Victoria. Max searches her room for evidence and brings it back to Juliet to claim Dana's freedom.
Inside Dana's room, Max grabs the flash drive from the desk. If Max chooses to snoop, the fact that Dana was pregnant is apparent. If Max checks the garbage bin or pregnancy test kit, Dana claims she is nosy and gets upset with Max. Max can rewind and choose to ask about Dana's pregnancy instead. Flash-drive in hand, Max heads off to the parking lot across campus to meet Warren. Along the way, she comes across Kate Marsh being hassled by David Madsen. Max can choose whether to intervene or take a photo. Afterwards, Max is either berated or thanked by Kate.
Meeting Warren in the parking lot, Max is harassed by Nathan, who accuses her of being in the bathroom and spying on his argument. The argument is broken up by an oncoming truck, which happens to belong to Chloe. Max jumps in while Warren distracts Nathan, and makes her escape with her old friend. In the car, they chat about Max's lack of communication with Chloe and her time in Seattle. They head back to Chloe's house and talk about Chloe's friend Rachel Amber, and her disappearance, as well as what has been going on in Chloe's life. Max's camera is broken, so she leaves Chloe to smoke and explores the family garage to find the equipment to fix it.
Max discovers the tools and goes back upstairs to see Chloe. She fails to fix the camera, and Chloe gives her an analog camera that belonged to her late father, William as a replacement in exchange for the butterfly photo Max took in the girls' bathroom shortly before Max saved Chloe. They celebrate by dancing to loud music, but Chloe's stepfather, who's revealed to be David Madsen, comes home and complains about the noise. Chloe tells Max to hide so she won't get caught with a friend in the room. Max chooses the outcome here - whether or not Max hides, whether Max will take the blame for Chloe or whether Max comes out of hiding or not as the scene plays out. Chloe's mood depends on what Max does. The two teenagers leave the house together and head to the lighthouse.
Max sits with Chloe awhile before passing out in another vision of the lighthouse. She makes her way past obstacles and finds a newspaper depicting that the date of the tornado is that Friday. Max jumps back to reality and tells Chloe about her power and the oncoming threat to Arcadia Bay.
Episode Two - "Out of Time"
The second episode sees Max awaken in her dorm room ready for a new day. She heads to the bathroom and speaks to her friend Kate, who is extremely upset over a viral video of her kissing people at a Vortex Club party. There are several choices Max can make to help or hurt Kate throughout the episode. Supporting her and taking interest in her feelings leads to Max saving Kate's life while being nonchalant and dismissive result in Kate's death.
Max grabs a shower, listening to Victoria tormenting poor Kate in the bathroom. Max returns to her room to change and grab Kate's book to return to her. Upon returning the book, Max discovers Kate's living conditions are incredibly reflective of her friend's state of mind. Kate confides in Max about what really happened at the Vortex Club party; she thinks Nathan drugged her and promised her that she would be taken to a hospital. Kate asks for Max's help and opinion on whether to go to the police about Nathan or not. It is up to Max to make the decision.
Max heads to meet Chloe at the Two Whales Diner, and on her way is interrupted by Warren, who asks her to see a movie with him at the drive-through. Max decides whether to accept or decline. When Max arrives at the diner, Chloe's mother, Joyce, takes her order and the two have a catch-up while they wait for Chloe. Chloe chooses to test Max's new power by asking about the contents of her pockets, and Max proves herself by predicting the items in Chloe's pockets and the future of the diner inhabitants.
Upon leaving the diner, Max gets a call from Kate - Max again chooses whether to take the call or ignore it. They head off together to the American Rust Junkyard, where Chloe spends much of her time. Max collects bottles for Chloe's makeshift gun range and helps Chloe practice with the weapon. However, before Max can have her turn, she passes out after over-using her power.
Unfortunately for the duo, Chloe's drug-dealer Frank Bowers turns up to tell Chloe that she must pay her debt before the week is out. Chloe reacts badly to seeing Frank wearing Rachel Amber's bracelet, and begins a fight with him. Max can choose whether or not to attempt to shoot Frank. Eventually, Frank leaves with the promise of his money being paid, and the girls leave the junkyard for the train tracks.
The two walk and talk about Frank, Arcadia Bay, and Max's power. Their chat ends as Chloe gets her foot stuck in the train tracks and Max is forced to rescue her. Max has the choice of how to rescue Chloe; either to damage the tracks or not. Either way, Chloe is saved by Max and the two head back to Chloe's truck together so that Max can go to class.
Max is texted by Warren and goes to help him with his science experiment. Max has the choice to sign up for the next Vortex Club party at this point before helping Warren. After talking to him, Max heads to the art class to see Kate and Jefferson talking; he is unsupportive of her and she walks away swiftly. Max tries to ask what was wrong, but Jefferson takes a phone call and Max heads into the classroom. She confronts Victoria and Nathan who are sitting on her desk and then has a quick chat with Warren as he joins her and thanks her for helping him before the start of class. The class is interrupted as there is something happening in the dormitories. We discover that Kate is on the roof of the dorms, ready to jump. It's up to Max to save her.
As Max's powers temporarily fail on her way to save her, there are no do-overs with Kate's life. Ultimately, Max chooses whether Kate lives or dies. No matter the outcome, Max ends up in the principal's office after the incident to place blame on whoever Max thinks is most at fault for Kate's suicide attempt. Jefferson, Nathan, and David are the options. The episode ends with Max and Warren discussing the day's events and marveling at the unscheduled solar eclipse which appears over Arcadia Bay.
Episode Three - "Chaos Theory"
After falling asleep in her room, Max is awoken by the sound of her phone. Chloe texts her about meeting to discuss what happened earlier that day. Max leaves the dorm and heads out past Principal Wells to meet Chloe. She has discovered her step-father's keys and the two girls enter the school to find clues about Rachel Amber's disappearance and Nathan's scandalous drug dealing. However, the girls quickly discover that the key to Wells' office is gone and that they have no spare. Chloe tries to pick the lock, while Max rings Warren to find a rather more explosive solution. Max finds the components to create a small makeshift pipe bomb and blows the door to the office. As the alarms go off, Max simply uses her rewind power after stepping into the office to go back before the explosion and safely open the door from the inside.
She and Chloe search the office for clues and discover the files of many students as well as emails from Nathan Prescott's father to the Blackwell principal, threatening to cut off funding if his son is not treated appropriately with a spotless record. They also discover several creepy drawings from Nathan, proclaiming "Rachel in the Dark Room".
Leaving the office, Chloe and Max head for a dip in the Blackwell swimming pool. They talk about their friendship and Rachel Amber, as well as Max's power. The two end up leaving the school in a rush in Chloe's car after almost getting caught by Blackwell security. They head back to Chloe's empty house and stay there for the night.
In the morning, Chloe lends Max some of Rachel Amber's old clothes, urging Max to be a rebel. After heading downstairs and helping Joyce with breakfast, Max is given a photo from Chloe's past and explores David's secret files in his garage. Soon afterwards, Max and Chloe are involved in a fight as David comes home in disgust at the paperwork he had to complete due to vandals in the school the night before. Max can either be harsh or forgiving in support of David's behavior towards Kate and his surveillance addiction. Max's choice is crucial here, as one angers Chloe, while the other breaks up Joyce and David.
Max suggests to Chloe that they search Frank's RV next to find information about Rachel Amber. While Chloe searches for a food item to distract Frank's dog, Max may talk to the truck driver, the homeless woman, Nathan Prescott, Officer Berry, and Frank Bowers. After obtaining the RV keys from Frank Bowers, Max may warn Alyssa who was waiting at the bus stop outside and to decide where to throw the bone and cause Frank's dog to get hit by a lumber truck or enjoy its treat in the parking lot. Inside the RV, Max will obtain Frank's coded logbook and evidence of Rachel's relationship with Frank with the latter causing Chloe to become upset.
On the way back to Blackwell in Chloe's pickup, Chloe blames her misfortune on the death of her real father, William, and becomes angry with Max over leaving her. Max finds herself alone in her room contemplating the past, looking at the old photo of her and Chloe. Much to her surprise, as she focuses on the photo she begins to hear voices from the past and is transported back in time. In her thirteen-year-old body, Max is faced with the prospect of saving William and changing the course of Arcadia Bay's history. After hiding his keys to prevent him from picking up Joyce, which would have led him to a fatal car crash, Max succeeds and alters time.
The episode ends as Max discovers the wrongs she has caused by keeping William alive. Her own history changes as she is seen to be a rebellious member of the Vortex Club. The biggest shock to her system is Chloe, who is blonde-haired, wheelchair-bound and heavily reliant on her parents.
Episode Four - "Dark Room"
The episode begins on the beach, as Max spends time with Chloe in the alternative timeline. Walking along the seafront, Max discovers that Chloe was in a car accident; William gave her the new car for her birthday, and she was hit by an oncoming SUV, causing her to become paralyzed from the neck down. Although Max kept in touch through letters, she never visited Chloe in the year after the accident. It is also revealed that Chloe doesn't have a friendship with Rachel Amber, probably due to Chloe not grieving and needing someone to talk to when Max left. Instead, she had a friendship with a girl called Megan Weaver.
Chloe starts to feel cold and the girls return to the Price Household. Her parents altered the garage to create a ground floor room for Chloe with an adjoining bathroom. Max discovers that most of Chloe's friends never kept in touch with her after the accident and that Max herself was distant after moving away to Seattle, despite sending a few texts, letters and a selfie of her on a road trip. Max's parents were also considerate enough to send a postcard wishing Chloe well after her accident. Chloe asks Max for a drink of water, saying that it's probably the most she's talked all year. Max can also wipe sandy tears out of Chloe's face with a tissue. Max comments about how "such a small grain of sand can cause such a big mess". Chloe then quotes a Chinese proverb and talks about the butterfly effect.
Max asks Chloe what she wants to do, and she comments that she feels like watching a movie together like old times; Max puts on the Blade Runner DVD and the girls watch together. Max warns Chloe that she had better not fall asleep as she used to when they were kids. Ironically, its Max who falls asleep, while Chloe stays awake all night. Max wakes up and begins talking to Chloe again about their childhood, and how much Chloe appreciates her friendship. She begins to get a headache and asks Max to get her morphine injector from the bathroom for her. Her parents purposely keep it upstairs so she cannot get to it herself.
When Max leaves the room, she receives a text from Victoria; Max can also look through all the old messages the alternative timeline Max has been sent. Most of them emphasize her friendships with the Vortex Club members, and her being a disappointment to others such as her mother and Alyssa. Alternative Max seems to have a more outgoing and social outlook than the Max of the original timeline. She seems to be more of a troublemaker, involving herself in drugs and frivolous spending.
Max can chat with both William and Joyce and discovers that they are both struggling with heavy medical bills and hold multiple jobs. Joyce now has a second job working in the new Pan Estates, belonging to the Prescott Family. However, they remain very family-centered and extremely close to their daughter. Max can discover that Chloe's condition is heavily deteriorating and that she will die soon. Letters from the relatives of the Price family confirm that their troubles are significant and that they are struggling to find financial help. Additionally, Rachel Amber has obviously not been around the Prices, as they only know of her through the news.
Max can also discover that the family finally achieved their dream of going on a trip to Paris and that Chloe would have liked to go to school there had it not been for her accident.
Returning to Chloe with the morphine, Max gives it to her to alleviate her headache. Chloe then mentions that she knows exactly what's going on, despite her parents not telling her about the doctor's report. She asks Max to increase her dosage to end her life and stop her suffering, keeping Max beside her as her last good memory.
Using the original photo she found, Max returns to the moment in which she let William live, and undoes her actions, burning the photo in the fire and letting William leave the house in the car. She has a heartfelt moment of apology with Chloe who doesn't understand the situation, and the timeline corrects itself.
The time Max spent in the alternative world seems to have also passed in the real one. Max ends up in Chloe's bedroom in the original timeline and discovers that the girls made up after Chloe's angry outburst and that they are now working to discover the culprit of Kate's drugging and Rachel's disappearance.
The girls decide they need to gather more evidence; firstly from David, then Nathan and Frank. Max heads downstairs to check David's garage for clues. If Max didn't bust David out of the house, she will find him in the garage working on a surveillance camera at his workshop and can talk to him. David will state that he's the only one who knows what's happening and that he wanted to protect future students from ending up like Rachel Amber and Kate Marsh with his surveillance system plans. David ends the conversation by warning Max this is dangerous territory she is heading into since she already knows way too much of what is happening at Blackwell.
Max can use a number of methods to open the locker to obtain the files, including entering the code from previous episodes, using a crowbar or finding the key. Grabbing the photographs, coordinates, and files, she calls Chloe downstairs and the two leave the house.
If Max was able to save Kate Marsh, the girls leave for the hospital. Kate seems to have improved greatly and is drawing illustrations again. The mass of 'get well soon' messages and balloons seem to have encouraged her to get better. She talks to Max about Blackwell and Nathan. If Max brings Nathan up in conversation, Kate will agree that he needs to pay for the suffering that he caused her. She will also mention that she feels sorry for Victoria, who sent her an apology postcard showing remorse for her bullying.
Max heads to Blackwell with Chloe, and Jefferson and Wells are seen in a discussion on the grounds outside the dormitory. After their discussion, Jefferson greets Max while she stands with Chloe. Max immediately acts shy around him, and this is noticed by Chloe who shoots her an intrigued look. After Max introduces Chloe, he asks why somebody as cool as Chloe isn't going to Blackwell, to which Chloe responds, "I was way too cool for this school. It’s a long story. In actual files here." When Jefferson tells Max to come to the End of the World party, Chloe says she'll be there as "Max's date". As he leaves, Chloe tells Max, "Hot for teacher," much to Max's displeasure, which - given Chloe's shocked glance at Max earlier - was likely said for Max's embarrassment. Chloe then heads off to talk to Justin about Nathan's whereabouts. Max can talk to several of the students and faculty around the grounds. By talking to them, she can find out that Nathan is off campus and that it is safe to search his dormitory.
Chloe minds the door while Max heads to Nathan's room to investigate. If Kate spoke to Max about Nathan, she will text him his room number (111), so Max can find it easily. She breaks the door open with the fire extinguisher, and can then search the room. If Max rewinds, Nathan doesn't notice that she was in his room and later sends her a different message. There are many disturbing objects in there which are unsettling, including the incriminating photo of Chloe, and Nathan's other tortured photography images. After looking at his PC, Max discovers that he is close to his sister, who seems to have escaped the Prescott way of life and is highly pressured by his father to conform to the expectations of his family. His couch can be pulled away to reveal a bag with his phone inside. Max takes it and returns to Chloe.
As they examine the phone, Nathan returns to the dorm, furious to see the pair. He becomes aggressive, and Warren turns up to intervene. Warren headbutts Nathan and subdues him as he pulls a gun on the three of them. Max has the option to intervene in the fight or not. If she lets Warren beat up Nathan, she will think of it as the right decision but find Warren's behavior scary.
Leaving the Dormitory, Chloe and Max head to visit Frank on the beach. Seeing the beach again blows her mind as she was just there with Chloe in an alternative reality. They approach the RV and enter into conversation with him. The dialogue is complex, but there are three main outcomes:
- Nobody got hurt and the girls walk away with the code and Frank's well wishes.
- Frank got injured (either by getting shot or stabbed with his own knife).
- Frank and Pompidou both got killed by Chloe, who protects Max.
Returning to the Madsen Household after obtaining the code, Max and Chloe then have to discover the truth. By selecting the correct evidence, Max is able to find that Nathan visited a Prescott-owned barn the night Kate was drugged. The girls then head off to the abandoned building.
Discovering fresh tire tracks into the barn, they realize that someone was there recently. Entering through a hole in the side of the wall, Max discovers a trap door in the floor of the barn. After using an old motor and rope-hook to bust the lock, she and Chloe enter down a flight of steps to a high-security door. After unlocking it, they discover the Dark Room.
Set up like a photography studio, the bunker is full of survival supplies. Most importantly, a cabinet reveals red files full of incriminating photographs of drugged victims, including Kate and Rachel. There is also an empty file for Victoria, revealing that she is next on the list.
Recognizing the junkyard in one of the Rachel photos, Chloe rushes out of the bunker, speeding in her pick-up truck. She and Max leave, heading for the junkyard. They discover a body in the spot in the photograph, presumably Rachel, and as Max recoils from the stench, Chloe breaks down crying hysterically. Max's spirit animal appears, observing the scene and disappearing in reverence for the discovery of the body signifying the end of Max's innocence.
The "End of the World Party" hosted by the Vortex Club is in full swing when Chloe and Max arrive to find Nathan. On the way in, they meet Warren, who takes a photograph with Max "for prosperity". He walks off, and Max tries to catch up with Chloe in the party. After speaking to Stella, Max heads to the VIP section of the party to find Nathan.
Nathan is missing from the party, so Max decides to ask Victoria where he is. They have an in-depth conversation, which can become meaningful depending on Max's choices. How deep the conversation becomes contributes to whether she will believe Max if she chooses to warn Victoria about the Dark Room. After the choice is made, Chloe turns up at the side of the room, and Max heads to leave with her to check Nathan's dorm room. Jefferson intervenes, talking briefly to the girls before getting on stage to announce the winner of the "Everyday Heroes" contest. He picks Victoria as the winner, and Max stops Chloe to stand and listen to the speech. She dedicates the award to Kate and leaves the stage to a mixture of cheers and hisses.
As Max and Chloe head for the dormitory, Chloe gets a text from Nathan saying that there will be no evidence left when he's finished. Chloe panics and the girls head to the junkyard to check that Rachel is still there.
They head towards the spot and discover that the body is still there. However, Max is drugged from behind, and Chloe is shot in the forehead; Jefferson stands over Max, gun in hand, and observes her as she passes out.
Episode Five - "Polarized"
Max is held captive inside the bunker with Mark Jefferson, but by using her powers, she manages to escape into a photograph. Emerging back at the beginning of Jefferson's class, it is made possible for her to inform David Madsen of her kidnapper's identity - Jefferson is caught, Chloe is rescued and Max is awarded the opportunity to go to San Francisco and her photograph displayed in an art gallery. She calls Chloe from the event, realizing that in spite of all her efforts, the storm is still in existence as it reaches Arcadia Bay. Max uses her powers to go back in time to the taking of the gallery photo, which eventually leads her to sojourn alternative realities as they devolve into a dreamscape nightmare.
Waking up from her nightmare, she finds herself with Chloe, on the way to the lighthouse. When Chloe and Max reach the lighthouse, safe and out of the way of the incoming tornado, Chloe realizes that Max saving her at the start of the week in the bathroom was the one event that has caused all of these strange meteorological occurrences to happen. In the end, Max is left with her final and biggest choice: Go back into the photo of the blue butterfly, letting Chloe die and saving Arcadia Bay, or rip the photo up and save Chloe, leaving Arcadia Bay destroyed and probably most of its residents and her friends to die.
If Max decides to save the town, Max will kiss or hug Chloe before she rewinds for the final time, depending on earlier choices on whether she kissed Chloe earlier or whether she defended and took Chloe's side enough throughout in previous episodes. With their final farewells, Max uses the photograph of the blue butterfly to return to the point where Nathan Prescott shot and killed Chloe in the bathroom in Blackwell. Only this time, Max does not intervene on Nathan. Mark Jefferson and Nathan were eventually arrested and questioned for their role in the deaths of Chloe and Rachel Amber. Time-lapsing a few days later, the town is completely restored to normal without the ominous signs from the dead animals. Max attends Chloe's funeral at the cemetery close to the lighthouse, with David, Joyce, Frank, Pompidou, Warren, Kate, Justin, Trevor, Victoria, and Dana among the attendees. During the ceremony, a blue butterfly will land on top of Chloe's coffin before flying away.
If Max decides to save Chloe, she takes the photograph and rips it in half, already desiring that she could not lose Chloe yet again and give her another shot in life. The storm subsides but Arcadia Bay is in ruins when the two return to the town in Chloe's truck. The two are last seen leaving Arcadia Bay and driving off into the distance.
In the alternative timeline, Max appears to be a different person after "Chaos Theory". Her clothes are different, more up-market, and she is seen hanging around with members of the Vortex Club, people she previously stayed clear of. She's especially good friends with Victoria and Nathan who, according to Max's diary, helped her make her style more "fashionable" and celebrated her 18th birthday with her.
Victoria seems to be friendly and cautious around Max, calling her Maxine and becoming worried when she is corrected with the "Max-Never-Maxine" rule; Max also refers to herself as Maxine in texts to Chloe, proving that she is definitely a different person since letting Chloe's father live. The texts Max receives from Nathan and Victoria, as well as Taylor, indicating that she could have replaced Victoria as the "Queen-Bee" of Blackwell. Nathan texts her about hanging out and, according to Victoria's texts, is worried about her since she ran off. Furthermore, Max has clearly supported Taylor during a rough time with her mother's surgery. Alyssa also seems disappointed in her, commenting that she is disappointed that Max hung out with the popular students.
In this timeline, she seems to be more rebellious than usual, is often partying and drinking, and participates in taking drugs (Victoria offers her the chance for a smoke in the ladies room, and talks about scoring more drugs in a text). Although she still seems to have a caring relationship with her mother, Max is more snippy towards her and troubles her with high expenses.
Max had very little interest in her diary since moving back to Arcadia Bay. Her lack of attachment to it could be due to her confidence and new flourishing social life as a member of the Vortex Club, combined with the social stigma of keeping a diary at her age.
In the alternative timeline, Max kept in touch with Chloe through letters. She also sent texts to her in August before leaving for Blackwell. However, William is surprised to see her when answering the door, implying that she did not, in fact, keep in touch as much as she meant to. Max's diary entries and text messages reveal that Max only marginally thought about rekindling with Chloe since she's been back at Blackwell and that she has been more interested in partying with her new friends. Unlike their first meeting in the original timeline where she is accusatory and apprehensive towards Max, Chloe seems genuinely happy to see her best friend again. She is slightly abrasive when she mentions that writing is easier than visiting and dealing with awkward conversations about the accident.
It has also been revealed in a text to Nathan that alternative Max used a dark room to work on a photo assignment. It is unknown if this room is the same as Mr. Jefferson's Dark Room, but it is more likely to be a regular darkroom used for photography.
- Main article: Max's Abilities
- Temporal Rewind - Max can rewind time to a limited degree. She herself is unaffected by this, remaining in a fixed position while time flows backwards around her, and she retains all recollection of what happened afterwards. As a side-effect of this, Max may seem to suddenly disappear and/or appear out of nowhere to those under the effects of her powers. Any item(s) on her person before time traveling are also kept with her after the fact. As a sort of focus for her powers, Max normally extends her hand out to rewind time.
- Temporal Jump - Max once "jumps" back in time into a specific situation. This is the instance when she discovers her ability to rewind time after witnessing Nathan kill Chloe in a fit of rage. The first and only instance occurs, when she suddenly finds herself back in class, several minutes prior to the incident. It's likely that this a deeper manifestation of her rewind power that requires a lot of energy and only when experiencing that kind of shock was she able to do this.
- Temporal Freeze - Max once stops the flow of time. The first and only instance occurs when she attempts to save Kate Marsh from committing suicide. She is unaffected by this and is still able to move around normally, but the amount of concentration to maintain it was extremely harsh on her body, as seen by her being too weak to use her rewind power after she made it up to the roof. Similar to when she is reversing time, Max held her hand out during the duration of time being frozen.
- Time Travel - Max can transfer her consciousness back to the time period when the photo was taken in order to change the past by focusing on a photograph with her in it. However, she is unable to pass the 'photographic bounds' of the background while using the ability. The Max of the past seems to only remember the altered timeline (?).
- Future Visions - Max gets visions through which she can deduct the future from to some extent. In these visions, she is able to witness Arcadia Bay being destroyed by an oncoming storm. It is possible that they aren't just visions but rather 'time jumps'.
Max seemingly needs to concentrate to use her powers at will, seeing as when she was under the effects of anesthesia she didn't have the strength to rewind time. The excessive use of her powers or pushing their limits seems to be able to lead to disorientation, nosebleeds, and even unconsciousness. Energy is also required to use her powers and if significantly exhausted Max doesn't have the strength to alter time.
However, gameplay-based use of her powers does not seem to cause any negative effects aside from the limits.
- Camera: As an aspiring photographer, Max is almost never without her instant film camera. In Episode 1, she accidentally breaks her camera twice (first when she discovers her power, then when Chloe saves her from Nathan). When she fails to repair it, Chloe offers her a spare one. This becomes her camera for the remainder of the series. See here for a list of optional photos Max can take.
- Cell Phone: Max keeps in touch with her friends and family using text messages.
- Journal: Max keeps her diary, details on some characters, notes, optional photos, and SMS message records in her journal. Max writes entries in her journal at periodic intervals.
- Computer: In Episode 2, Max uses her laptop to research and learn about time and her power. She also uses it to access social media and her emails.
- Pipe Bomb: In Episode 3, with help from Warren, Max constructs an improvised explosive device. She uses it to break into the Principal's office, then rewinds time to open the door from the other side without sounding the alarm.
- Knife: In Episode 3, when searching in Frank Bowers's RV for clues, Max uses Frank's kitchen knife to pry open one vent inside the RV where Frank hid the letters Rachel sent to him. If Max breaks the knife to open an empty vent, she may rewind time to restore the knife and open another vent.
- Crowbar: In Episode 2, Max can find a crowbar above a small slope where Chloe is stuck at the railroad tracks. She can try using the crowbar to attempt to free Chloe with no success, to topple over the heavy roll of cable and damage the train tracks to free Chloe or to force open the small office door nearby. In Episode 4, Max can also use a crowbar to break open a padlock on David's locker if she can't find the key or remember the padlock combination number.
- Fire Extinguisher: In Episode 4, Max uses a fire extinguisher to break open the door to Nathan's room. She may or may not rewind to fix the lock, which causes different messages from Nathan. Unused Content also indicated that there was a minor consequence planned for her action.
- Main article: Max's Outfits
Max's regular outfit consists of blue jeans, black and white shoes, and a gray hoodie. She wears several different T-shirts, usually with a doe on it. Max also sports a brown satchel.
In Episode 2, we see Max in her pajamas, which are beige shorts and a cutesy pale green shirt with chicks on it.
In Episode 3, Max borrows some of Rachel's old clothes from Chloe's wardrobe. This consists of a red and black plaid shirt, a white T-shirt and dark jeans.
Young Max wears dark blue shorts, a blue t-shirt, as well as a yellow headband.
Alternative timeline Max wears a purple cardigan, a white striped shirt, beige trousers, and white shoes.
When Max returns from the alternative timeline, her t-shirt changes to a black one with a moth on it.
In the San Francisco Art Gallery, Max wears a beige blazer and a light white blouse which is tucked into dark blue jeans. She also wears a black belt around her waist, dark brown mid-calf boots and a dream catcher necklace.
While taking her winning selfie, Max is wearing a white T-shirt with "OREGON" written 3 times on it.
During the storm, Max is wearing a black jacket and her regular jeans. She is also wearing Chloe's bullet necklace if she had picked it up from Jefferson's desk in the Dark Room.
During her nightmare, Max wears several outfits from previous episodes.
Near the end of the game, Max is wearing a red t-shirt with a deer skull drawing on it. It seems quite unfit to her usual style, so she probably borrowed it from Chloe.
- Kate Marsh (Indirectly Caused, Determinant) - One of the reasons for Kate to commit suicide is her perceived feelings that Max does not care for her.
- Blue-Jay (Determinant) - Max will see a bluejay bird hit itself against the transparent glass window in David and Joyce's bedroom and drop dead on the window ledge upon entering the room for the first time in Episode 1. Max has the option to rewind time and open the window before the blue-jay hits the window pane. The Blue-Jay can die again in Episode 4 if Max tries to scare the bird away with the window closed, causing it to hit the window.
- Pompidou (Indirectly Caused, Determinant) - Max may have thrown the bone on the street behind the RV, causing Pompidou to run to the middle of the street and get hit by a large truck carrying lumber. Max may have also angered Frank Bowers later on while trying to obtain the cipher, causing Frank to call Pompidou out to attack Chloe and Chloe had David or Nathan's gun, causing Chloe to shoot Pompidou dead in self-defense.
- Chloe Price (Caused, Determinant) - If Max decides to sacrifice Chloe for the town's sake, she will leave her to be killed in the girl's bathroom by Nathan.
- Alternative Chloe Price (Caused, Determinant) - Chloe dies in the alternative timeline if Max accepts her request to overdose her.
- Frank Bowers (Indirectly Caused, Determinant) - Frank dies after being shot by Chloe, depending on Max's dialog choices and whether Chloe has David or Nathan's gun. Max can rewind and stop this from happening.
- Victoria Chase (Indirectly Caused, Determinant) - If Max manages to warn Victoria about Nathan and the Dark Room, she will approach Jefferson for help, which ends her up in the Dark Room, drugged and tied up next to Max. She pleads for Max to help her but is later murdered by Jefferson.
- Nathan Prescott (Indirectly Caused) - Nathan is killed by Mark Jefferson in an attempt to cover his tracks after Max and Chloe get close to finding out the truth.
- Mark Jefferson (Indirectly Caused, Determinant) - If Max decides to tell David about Chloe having been killed by Jefferson after he rescued her from the Dark Room, he will shoot Jefferson in an act of revenge.
- Alyssa Anderson (Indirectly Caused, Determinant) - If Max decides not to warn Alyssa once during the 5 opportunities to do so, Alyssa will say in Episode 5 while stuck on the 2nd floor of an apartment during the storm, "Fuck that shit, Max! Whenever you show up, I have to get out of the way! So just get-" while walking backwards and falling to her death. This may seem that Alyssa thinks that Max is bad luck for her.
- R.J. MacReady (Caused, Accidental, Determinant) - Max accidentally electrocutes the fisherman in her way to the Two Whales Dinner through a store. If she doesn't rewind time before leaving the store and helps him leave the building, the fisherman remains dead.
- Arcadia Bay Residents (Caused, Determinant) - If Max decides to sacrifice Arcadia Bay it will leave many of the inhabitants of Arcadia Bay to be killed by the storm.
The degree of advancement in these relationships is largely up to Max in many instances, and they are therefore marked as Determinant.
- Chloe Price - Max and Chloe are long-time friends, regardless of Max's choices. She was her best friend since childhood and always believed in Max and her photography skills. Max supported her after her father's death but they lost touch after Max moved to Seattle. The two are now reunited with Max's return to Arcadia Bay. Although Max didn't stay in contact with Chloe and didn't rekindle with her immediately after her return, she still considers Chloe her best friend, no matter what. The fact that she considers Chloe the only person she could talk to about her new-found powers despite not having seen her for five years just proves how highly she still treasures their friendship after all these years. The two girls care about each other a great deal and spend most of their time together getting up to mischief and trying to solve the disappearance of Chloe's missing friend, Rachel Amber. Despite Chloe's abandonment issues, she and Max retain their firm friendship. Max considers Chloe her number one priority and sometimes appears envious of Rachel's bond with Chloe. Chloe will eventually replace the picture of Rachel and herself together with a picture of Max on her mobile phone if Max is seen by Chloe to defend her, take her side and to help her with her problems. Chloe trusts and supports Max in her decisions, always reassuring her to make the right choices. At the end of the game, in Max's latest journal entry Max questions herself that if her feelings about Chloe is more than friendship; or asks herself if she has subconsciously been developing some feelings for Chloe and saying she's about to find out. (See here for more information on their relationship.)
- Warren Graham - Max considers Warren the first real friend she had at Blackwell. She describes him as a sweetheart and a "supercool geek brother" who she has a lot in common with, and who makes her smile. The fact that she considers him someone she could entrust her newly found powers to shortly after finding out about them shows how much she trusts him. Max's friendship with Warren is sometimes strained by the fact that he has a crush on her. Depending on Max's choices, his advances might be neglected, but the two remain firm friends regardless. When Max later asks him to give her the photograph of the night at the Vortex Club, before focusing on the photo, she has the option to leave, hug or kiss Warren. If Max neglected Warren's offers up until then and kissed Chloe in Episode 3, the kiss option is not available. If Max kisses Warren, she will comment that at least she showed she cared about him. If Max hugs Warren, she will comment to herself saying she hopes Warren knows just how much she cherishes their friendship. (See here for more information on their relationship.)
- Kate Marsh - Kate and Max soon started to befriend each other at Blackwell. They share an affection for tea and hold weekly tea sessions. Max spends time with Kate, trying to support her throughout her time at Blackwell. As Kate's depression worsens, Max is the only true friend she has to turn to at school. It is up to Max to save Kate's life in Episode 2. If Max saves Kate, she will text Max in Episode 3 sincerely thanking her. She will appear again in Episode 4, rejuvenated with hope, thanking Max for being supportive of her at her worst time.
- Dana Ward - Max often talks with Dana and seems to be good friends with her despite Dana's popularity. While Max can temporarily offend Dana if Max chooses not to rewind after discovering the pregnancy test, Dana will still always be friendly towards Max in future encounters. If Max does rewind, she comforts her about the rumors spreading around the school about her pregnancy. Dana trusts in Max and is on her side even after Max fails to save Kate.
- Joyce Madsen - Max seems to get on very well with Chloe's mother. The two joke about old times and Joyce seems glad that Max is around to remain a good influence on her daughter.
- Hayden Jones - Despite being a member of the Vortex Club, Max thinks that Hayden is actually a nice guy. Hayden is always friendly towards Max and clearly interested in hanging out with her. He later enjoys meeting her at the Vortex Club party offering her to spend some time with him and his friends and to take a hit from his bong.
- David Madsen (Determinant) - Although David is suspicious of Max for hanging around inside Blackwell Academy during the fire alarm when everyone else is supposed to evacuate, and the friends Chloe has, David will try to explain his actions on Chloe and Kate to Max the following day. David will eventually allow Max to stay at and roam freely around the Price residence, as well as explain his failed bid to apply for a surveillance system on Pan Estates if Max sides with David during the argument between Chloe and David. Regardless of Max's earlier choices, David will rescue Max from Mark Jefferson in the Dark Room bunker, and acknowledge her friendship with Chloe. He may also confide his struggles as a step-father and his feelings towards Chloe depending on Max's decision to tell him about her death.
- Victoria Chase (Determinant) - Although Victoria frequently picks on Max due to her jealousy of Max having her own unique identity in the retro zone and her popularity, Max may appeal to Victoria through the similarities both Max and Victoria share on photography. Max will acknowledge Victoria's kind-hearted traits, as she recognizes how she truly regrets what she's done to Kate and even sends her a lovely postcard offering her help. Victoria may eventually believe Max warning her about Nathan Prescott and accept her as a friend. She may also admit that she would like to hang around with Max and offer Max to text her if she needs anything.
- Alyssa Anderson (Determinant) - Max seems to have a growing friendship with Alyssa, especially if Max decides to save her from the ills that befall her in each episode. Ultimately, Max feels like they should become better friends due to their common interests in photography and keeping to themselves. Alyssa also supports Max's relationship with Warren.
- Daniel DaCosta (Determinant) - Daniel and Max are both classmates in Mark Jefferson's photography class. Daniel is a very shy person but has a good eye for details. Daniel will be happy if Max stops to talk to him and allows Daniel to draw a portrait of Max which Daniel will later help to put up on Max's social media profile page. Later when Daniel's photo entry in the Everyday Heroes contest is eliminated, Max may console Daniel and encourage him on his artistic skill with drawing, and to also encourage him to attend the Vortex Club party.
- Justin Williams (Determinant) - Max seems to be impressed by skater boys like Justin and finds him and his friends cute. He seems to enjoy Max's company, particularly if she doesn't come off as a poser. Max may impress Justin with her knowledge of skating moves, and he offers her to join them and take shots of him and his skater friends whenever she likes.
- Taylor Christensen (Determinant) - If Max chooses to speak to Taylor about her mother's illness, and comforts her, Taylor becomes more friendly towards her, despite being friends with Victoria.
- Courtney Wagner (Determinant) - If Max chooses to speak to Courtney about the Vortex Club's dress code, Courtney becomes more friendly towards her and will put her in the guest list for the End Of The World Party.
- Brooke Scott (Determinant) - Brooke is generally friendly towards Max if she takes an interest in her drone, but can come across as rude, especially if Max accepts Warren's invite to the movie drive-in. Brooke may eventually choose to forgive Max if Max manages to persuade Daniel to attend the Vortex Club party on Thursday and Daniel manages to arrange a date with Brooke to attend an art gallery exhibition instead.
- Samuel Taylor (Determinant) - Max seems to have a friendship with Samuel, the groundskeeper of Blackwell. He is made fun of by many of the students, but Max takes a kind approach when talking with him and seems to respect him as a person. The two talk fondly of spirit animals.
- Frank Bowers (Determinant) - Although Frank has a threatening appearance and Max is genuinely afraid of him, Max may admit she was scared of him threatening Chloe with a knife and appeal to Frank's better nature by mentioning that he rescued his dog from illegal dogfights and his love for Rachel Amber. Frank and Max may eventually come to good terms if Max convinces him of their genuine concern in finding Rachel; he may forgive Max and entrust Max and Chloe to find out what happened to Rachel Amber providing them his support. He will later text Max and tell her that he gets why Chloe likes her, and offer them to party with him later.
- Truck Driver (Determinant) - The truck driver is initially unfriendly to Max, but if Max can show the truck driver that she knows the model of his truck and that Rachel Amber spoke highly of his truck, the truck driver will allow Max to take a photo of his truck and consider allowing a possible interview in the future.
- Homeless Lady (Determinant) - The homeless woman hangs at the back alley behind the Two Whales Diner and is happy if Max stops to talk to her. The homeless woman will tell Max about the Prescott family, the Price household or of Frank Bowers. The homeless woman will also believe Max if she chooses to tell her of the tornado that will hit Arcadia Bay on Friday.
- Ryan Caulfield - Max has a close relationship with her dad, going with him to sports games in Seattle. He sends her a thoughtful text message for her birthday and is clearly very caring towards his daughter. Her father also keeps in close contact with Max regarding Max's attempt to save Kate and the threatening messages by the Prescott family.
- Vanessa Caulfield - Max is also close with her mother, appreciating the cookies and text messages that her mother sends her. Her mother also keeps in close contact with Max regarding Principal Wells' report about Max, Lisa and Max's attempt to save Kate. In the alternative timeline, Max's mother expresses concern with Max spending money too extravagantly and sends Max a reminder not to be too much of a spendthrift.
- Mark Jefferson - Max is ambushed and drugged by Jefferson in the junkyard after she and Chloe discover the body of Rachel Amber. Jefferson was heavily involved in the Dark Room Conspiracy and drugged Max, Victoria and countless other victims, including Kate and Rachel. He has an unhealthy obsession with Max, as shown in the last episode while he has her captured in the Dark Room.
- Nathan Prescott - After seeing Nathan shoot Chloe in the girls' bathroom, and learning of his drugging of both Kate and Chloe, Max is firm enemies with Nathan, particularly if Max reported him for any of his misdeeds. This situation becomes worse after Nathan catches Max and Chloe breaking into his dormitory room and stealing his mobile phone.
- Principal Raymond Wells - Max is often dismissed by Wells in favor of the Prescott family; Wells is often nice to other students, causing Max to feel that he dislikes her. He also considers her as nosey, as stated in her Blackwell record. Principal Wells may choose to suspend Max from her studies at Blackwell if Max was not consistent in blaming Nathan for the gun in the bathroom and for Kate's suicide attempt, intervened instead of taking a photo of Kate being hassled by David or had been reported by David earlier for dealing drugs to Chloe.
- Victoria Chase (Determinant) - Victoria is one of Max's adversaries, as she constantly belittles and makes fun of Max. The distrust between them grows if Max messes up Victoria's photos, or decides to take the photo of her covered in paint instead of comforting her. Max also has the option of whether to warn her about the drugging or to leave her at the party unwarned. Victoria will not believe Max if Max had made fun of her earlier.
- Taylor Christensen (Determinant) - As one of Victoria's "minions", Taylor can take her side in issues with Max. However, Max can talk to her on several occasions away from Victoria, and ask her about her ill mother, earning favor with the girl.
- Courtney Wagner (Determinant) - As one of Victoria's "minions", Courtney can take her side in issues with Max. However, Max can talk to Courtney about the Vortex Club's dress code, earning favor with her and gaining a spot in the guest list for the Vortex Club party.
- David Madsen (Determinant) - Although David is usually brisk and stern, he and Max can have a varied relationship. He and Max become enemies if she takes the blame for Chloe's weed, got David placed on temporary leave by blaming David for Kate's suicide attempt or by not defending him in front of Joyce about his surveillance addiction.
- Frank Bowers (Determinant) - After the incident in the junkyard in Episode 2, Max and Frank become enemies as he threatens Chloe. This situation is made worse if Max attempts to shoot Frank or harms Frank's dog. Frank may eventually get shot or stabbed by Chloe if Max fails to persuade Frank to give up his logbook cipher, which can result in his death.
- Alyssa Anderson (Determinant) - The friendship between Max and Alyssa is more and more restrained if Max doesn't or just rarely chooses to warn her since from Alyssa's point of view bad things always happen to her when Max is around. If Max doesn't warn Alyssa during each episode, Alyssa will be very disappointed with Max for not helping her out and Max will be unable to start any conversation with her. If Max does not assist her in every episode, she will be unable to save her from her death in Episode 5.
- Chloe Price (Determinant) - There are several romantic implications in the relationship between Chloe and Max, revolving around their fondness for each other and Max's option to kiss Chloe in the third episode. Max is also often seen to be jealous of Chloe's close relationship with Rachel that has been formed during her absence. Based on Max's behavior and decisions, Chloe will change her mobile phone background from Rachel, who is considered to be her former love interest, to Max. After their Blackwell night trip, Chloe dares Max to kiss her, which will impact their relationship as time goes on. If she decides to kiss Chloe, Max will later refer to that kiss in Frank's RV, when Chloe is daydreaming about a trip to Portland, saying, "And you'd probably want me to kiss you again." After returning from the alternative timeline, based on Max's earlier decision, Max expresses the wish to kiss Chloe again in her journal or regrets that she didn't kiss her if Max didn't choose to kiss her in Episode 3. Additionally, if Max turned down Warren's invitation to the drive-in and decided to kiss Chloe, Warren will write Max a message and tell her he understands why she did it and that she should go to the drive-in with Chloe. The way Chloe is portrayed in Max's nightmare, flirting with other people and talking Max down, reflects Max's insecurities towards Chloe, and heavily implies feelings of jealousy and fears of rejection, feeling inadequate for Chloe. If Max and Chloe kissed in Episode 3, Max's last journal entry may state that Chloe is more than her best friend, and that's why she probably hated "Chloe being mean... calling me names and flirting with those people" in the nightmare. She then goes on to wonder if it was the "power of friendship... or love" and that she was about to find out. If Max didn't kiss her in Episode 3 her entry is more inclined to friendship, she states that Chloe will always be her best friend, but nonetheless, she says she's about to find out if it's more than that. This is further proof that she will be oblivious to her feelings about Chloe and will newly start to realize those feelings after the nightmare sequence; if Max didn't choose to kiss her in Episode 3. When Max and Chloe have to face their final obstacle at the end of "Polarized", Max refers to Chloe as her top priority and all that matters to her, after constantly desperately trying to keep her by her side during the game. After making their farewells, Chloe will tell her that she will always love her, and Max will say that she will never forget her. If Max sides with Chloe throughout the story, she will finally beat her insecurities and fears about Chloe's rejection, especially after her nightmare, and kiss her before Max allows Chloe to die to save the town in the Sacrifice Chloe ending. If Max didn't kiss Chloe or didn't make enough choices that defend her or take her side, they will share a hug instead; but it might be possible however Max's feelings would still remain the same. With the decision to sacrifice Arcadia Bay, she may even decide to sacrifice a whole town to keep Chloe alive and to be with Chloe for the rest of her life. (See here for more information on their relationship.)
- Warren Graham (Determinant) - Although Max neglects his affection, sometimes even being flat out oblivious to it, it is clear that he has a crush on her. Warren asks Max to go to see a movie with him, and Max is given the choice of accepting or rejecting this offer. Either way, Max states in her journal that she sees him as a geek brother as opposed to a potential partner. Based on Max's decision and behavior, she will either reflect on the invitation as having fun with Warren and "taking a chance", or feel bad about it for leading him on. Regardless of whether Max accepts or rejects Warren's movie date, Warren stays by her side to support her after Kate's suicide attempt.In the alternative timeline, Max appears to be confused that Warren has a relationship with Stella, but this could simply be a result of her astonishment to how severe the butterfly effect was. If Kate was rescued by Max, the former comments that they would make a perfect couple and supports the optional date between them when Max visits her in the hospital. Based on Max's previous decision, she will either tell Kate that she turned his invite down, or mention the date and say she'll see, referring to Kate's previous comment about him liking Max. While in the boys' dormitories, Max can write a cute message[note 3] to have a little fun of with him for a change, on Warren's dorm room slate. Based on Max's earlier decision to accept or decline Warren's invitation, Max will either reflect on it as "taking a chance and see what happens" or thinks "he tries so hard and she blew off his drive-in offer". She will also comment on it as, "I hope Warren doesn't think it's too dorky... I mean, not like he isn't." When Max later asks Warren to give her the photograph of the night at the Vortex Club party, before focusing on the photo, Max has the option to leave, hug or kiss Warren. If she decides to kiss him, Warren will tell Max he's always wanted to tell her something, but Max cuts him off and tells him she knows. She will also comment to herself stating that at least she kissed Warren once to let him know how she feels. Though, like before, this may not be romantic, but just a way for Max shows how much she cares about him. If she hugs Warren, she will comment to herself saying she hopes Warren will know just how much she cherishes their friendship. (See here for more information on their relationship.)
Max wears her Jane-Doe shirt in "Chrysalis", and another shirt with a Doe design in "Out of Time". The Doe spirit animal image follows and guides her to the lighthouse and is prominent in her visions, as well as appearing to her in the junkyard with Chloe. The Doe can also be spotted as an image in the bathroom of the Two Whales Diner, and during Episode 4 upon the discovery of Rachel's body. Max has a conversation with Samuel about spirit animals, in which he confirms that she's right about the Doe being her spiritual guide. It would make sense that the Doe would lead her to safety, as well as guide her to Rachel's body. The Doe guided her through her vision of the storm to the lighthouse, and in Episode 5, it became apparent that the lighthouse was actually the only safe place for Max and Chloe during the storm. Additionally, if Max chose to sacrifice Chloe, at her funeral Max can be seen wearing a doe necklace. Another fact that lends more support to this theory is that the doe is immune to Max's rewind power. If she chose to sacrifice the town, three does which are now freed can be seen standing among the ruins in the ending cutscene.
Color symbolism is prominent in the game, linking characters together.
Blue is a key color in the game; Max wears the same color wristband as Chloe's hair and nail polish, the blue butterfly, the blue-jay, Kate's marker, Alyssa's nail polish, and Joyce's hair clip. Max's 13-year-old self also wears a shirt of a similar blue shade. There is much debate among fans about the meaning of this color, but it is known to be associated with hopefulness for the future, as well as vulnerability. These meanings make sense when applied to the characters associated with the color.
Max's clothing and the motifs on her shirts change with the atmosphere of the game.
The colors black and white are heavily associated with death in the game; in the fourth episode, Max wears a black shirt for the first time, which is hugely symbolic of the many deaths in the episode. This shirt also features the Death's-head Hawkmoth, made popular by the film Silence of the Lambs. This symbol emphasizes the importance of death in the episode.
The dreamcatcher that Max wears in Episode 5 in the reality where she won the Everyday Heroes Contest represents becoming an artist and her artwork being displayed in a gallery being her biggest dream and passion. The dream catcher is supposed to be able to trap bad dreams in its web; only good dreams are allowed to filter through a small opening in the center of the circle - like Max is able to forget all the bad experiences she went through for a few moments in that reality; everything seems quite perfect in that scene, all that horror she went through far away. It's actually the most perfect outcome for all characters Max could've created in that week (with herself winning the Photo Contest, Nathan and Jefferson captured and brought to justice, David as the big hero, Nathan, Victoria, and Kate still alive, and Chloe full of hope, planning to attend school again). It could also represent her wish to get over everything she's experienced over the week.
With its Latin origin, the name Maxine means "the greatest", and is a very noble, strong and feminine name. The fact that Max prefers the shortened form of her name, which is more gender ambiguous and simple, shows that she doesn't identify with the noble, self-confident and feminine nature of that name. She doesn't consider herself something special or unique, and she also doesn't set great value upon femininity which is expressed both in her style and attitude.
The name Maxine also implies a special power or fate for its owner, and so refers to Max's time-controlling powers and the great things she is able to do and undo with them.
- Main article: Memorable Quotes
- — Max's favorite exclamation throughout the game
- "Are you cereal?"
- — Max in "Chrysalis"
- "Everything is a picture waiting to be taken... "
- — Max's diary, September 3
- "When a door closes, a window opens... Or, something like that."
- — Max seeing the blue butterfly in "Chrysalis"
- "I wish I could stay in this moment forever. (...) But then it wouldn't be a moment."
- — Max at the diner in "Out of Time"
- "If that tornado came right now, I would just sit here and watch for a while."
- — Max at the Vortex Club party in "Dark Room"
- "With great power comes great bullshit."
- — Max to Brooke in "Dark Room"
It's unclear whether Max changes reality or creates new timelines that run and exist parallel to each other for each time she rewinds and alters the past. If the second was confirmed, the end would not boil down to "save the city or save Chloe", but Max would only decide which reality she preferred to live in. In other words, even if Max sacrificed Chloe, the tornado would still be going on, but in another reality that she left behind.
At a given time Max can use her laptop for research about her power, after opening a page about wormholes, she will comment on how that theory makes sense. If taken into account how her power works during the rewind Max may actually be right. She may indeed open a wormhole in the fabric of time,(not space), allowing her to go back in time and not to have moved at all in space. This would also explain why pause rewind is harder for Max to perform, in Kate's rescue, under this theory when she pauses time, she actually has to open a wormhole in the fabric space/time as she needs to move herself as well. Further supporting this theory, is the fact that the rewind position in the timeline is indicated by a "swirl meter" that resembles a crude drawing of a wormhole in the corner of the screen.
There is also a theory that if Max holds a person's hand while rewinding, they became immune to rewind power like her.
Character Concept and Design
In an interview for Polygon in June 2015, Michel Koch stated that Max is "always looking to the past. She has this old camera, she's reluctant to make decisions. [Christian Divine] has been writing her [in a way that] sometimes she's using some older expressions."
Artistic Influences and Inspirations
Max admires many artists and photographers. The following is a list of some of those mentioned.
- Jack Kerouac - Max mentions his admiration of the train tracks to Chloe.
- Andy Warhol - She has a picture of him in her locker.
- Leonardo da Vinci - Max admires him, simply stating "Da Vinci was a boss".
- Ray Bradbury - Max has a copy of Battle Royale, and borrows Kate's edition of The October Country. Also, the book A Sound of Thunder is mentioned.
- Annie Leibovitz - Max says she has "mad respect" for her while examining the textbooks in class.
- Eugene Smith - Max says he is amazing.
- Man Ray - There is a poster of him in Max's room. She wonders if he would call them "selfie portraits".
- Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, and Hamilton - Max has books from them in her room and thinks they are the greatest.
- Philip-Lorca diCorcia - "My man"
- Julia Cameron - Max loves her Victorian vibe.
- Salvador Dali - Max affirms that he could truly freeze time
- Main article: Inconsistencies
- In Episode 2, at the Two Whales Diner, Max eats breakfast with her fork in her left hand and her knife in her right. However, in Episode 3, when Joyce makes Max some breakfast at the Madsen Household, Max eats breakfast with her knife and fork in opposite hands. It is either an oversight by the developers or an indication that Max is actually ambidextrous.
- Though explicitly discussed by the characters in relation to Max's time travel powers in Episode 5, nobody ever figures out why or how Max gained her power.
- Max's zodiac sign is Virgo. This sign matches with her nervous tendencies, her will to help others and make everything perfect, her modesty and lack of self-confidence as well as her keen eye for details that lead some people to call her "nosy".
- Max can often be seen biting her lower lip, a habit that becomes more infrequent as the game progresses.
- Her room in the girl's dormitory is room 219.
- Max seems to have quite a dark sense of humor as evidenced in several occasions throughout the game.
- It is implied that Max is of Irish descent. Her last name is of Irish origin. The name of her father Ryan is a typical Irish first name. Chloe also mentions her "Irish luck" in "Out of Time". Lastly, pale skin, auburn brown hair, and freckles are characteristic Irish traits.
- Max mentions in "Chaos Theory" that her grandfather owns a garage.[note 4]
- October is Max's favorite month, mostly due to her love of Halloween, the milder weather, and the colorful scenery.
- According to her school file, Max has a 2.8 GPA.
- Max has a green plaid backpack but doesn't seem to use it.
- Makoto Konno the protagonist of "Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo" A.K.A. "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" may have served as inspiration to some degree to the developers for Max's character. They share several traits both physical and personality-wise besides the obvious one, they both jump through time.
- Max's camera seems to be based on the Polaroid JobPro and most of the other models of the 600 Polaroid camera line; the camera Chloe gave her is based on the Polaroid 1200si from the Polaroid Image/Spectra line of Polaroid cameras.
- As evident from her School Schedule, Max takes the following courses at Blackwell: World History, Algebra, Language of Photography, Life Drawing, Media Literacy, The Art of Science, Cultural Anthropology, Physical Education, Music, and other Media, Photography and Science courses.
- The doodles on Max's notebook in Jefferson's class include the phrase "winter is coming", which is a reference to the central motto of Game of Thrones, and a scribble of Frank The Rabbit from Donnie Darko. [note 5]
- Max has got 81 friends and 12 subscribers on her social media profile. Her latest status is: "Time is bunk" - Douglas Adams.
- 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.
- According to David's file on her, Max uses the online aliases Mad Max, Max Factor, and Noir Angel.
- As mentioned in her diary, Max attended Latin class back in Seattle which she barely passed and wherefore she is capable of some phrases as "Sancto Sanctorum".
- Max is a fan of the MMO World of Warcraft. Adding to her nerdy status, over the phone, Max advises Warren to "bubble-hearth", a term which refers to a paladin shielding themselves before using their Hearthstone to teleport to safety. Max also texts him back with "Kek", meaning "Lol" in Orcish.
- Max's clothing style is pretty much casual. She seems to wear primarily short sleeve shirts, hoodies, average blue jeans, high tops, and sneakers. When wearing Rachel's punk clothes, she doesn't think it's quite her style.
- Max's taste in music is primarily based on acoustic indie and alternative rock. In Episode 1, while walking along the school corridor, she listens to "To All Of You" by Syd Matters. When she switches on her hi-fi system, "Something Good" by alt-J starts to play. When Max drives to the Two Whales Diner in Episode 2, she listens to "Crosses" by José González. When Max plays on her guitar, she performs instrumental versions of "Something Good" and "Crosses".
- Max and Chloe's favorite childhood series include Spongebob, Power Rangers, Blue's Clues and Teletubbies.
- According to "Polarized", Max dislikes eating caviar.
- Max has a clear distaste for alcohol, in particular beer.
- According to "Chaos Theory ", Max gets freaked out over the movie Jaws, and she can't watch any shark shows as a result of this.
- Max apparently is a fan of the time travel movie Donnie Darko since a Donnie Darko copy can be found in Max's room in Episode 2 and her doodles in Mr. Jefferson's classroom include a sketch of the movie's antagonist, Frank The Rabbit.
- It is possible that Max may possess some sort of developmental disability (such as High Functioning Autism/Asperger Syndrome, Dyscalculia, or ADHD), as she is in an IEP (Individualized Education Program, a program usually reserved for students with said condition) according to her Student File.[note 6] It's also possible that Max suffers from some form of social/emotional disorder like social anxiety. It is also possible that Max is just an introvert who is a bit shy, without any mental health conditions to speak of. When asked on Twitter about Chloe's behavior, Co-Director Michel Koch said he "never considered to affirm either BPD or depression, to not stigmatize anyone and to focus on other topics", which possibly also applies to Max.
- Max is a virgin judging from her shy and innocent demeanor, her comments about not having been able to "find a grove with guys" or that she always liked skater boys but they didn't like her as well as the fact that she asks Chloe what that "first magical kiss" feels like in Episode 3, which implies that she never kissed before. Nathan seems to be aware of this and mocked her because of it. In Max's nightmare in Episode 5, Mr. Jefferson calls her 'pure', unlike Rachel and Chloe, which can refer to Max being a virgin.
- Max's surname is a reference to Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the J. D. Salinger novel The Catcher in the Rye, a student at an exclusive boarding school like Max, and an icon for teenage rebellion and angst. Both have similar personality traits such as the urge to preserve innocence. A central aspect of The Catcher in the Rye is the dilemma of Holden's state in between adolescence and adulthood. There are several other references to that book throughout the game, such as the "the WINGER and the COW" poster in Max's room which has a very similar style to the cover of The Catcher in the Rye, or the red cap in the principal's secretary office which resembles the hat Holden wears; she also calls it "phony" which is a characteristic word used many times by Holden in the novel.
- In "Out of Time", Joyce calls Max "Nancy Drew", referencing to an 18-year-old girl who spends her time-solving mysteries, the protagonist of a mystery fiction series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer.
- There is a possible reference to the 'poker face' meme on Max's room slate.
- Max thinks that "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" is one of the best science-fiction movies ever made. She says it while looking at the plasma TV in Victoria's room in Episode 1.[note 7]
- In the diner sequence of Max's nightmare in Episode 5, Max has to enter a code to exit the diner bathroom. If she enters the incorrect code 50 times, she will break the fourth wall and say, "I'm going to make the designers pay for all these bullshit code puzzles!"
- The font used in Max's Journal is an adjusted version of the "Dudu Calligraphy" font that can be downloaded here.
- An entry rule of the Everyday Heroes Photo Contest was to "submit an image that best represents yourself or others in heroic action". Max's entry, at first glance, does not appear to show her participating in any heroic action other than looking at a wall of photographs she has taken. However, the focus in the photo does not lie on Max, but on the pictures, she has taken. This could imply that the subjects of those photos are everyday heroes to Max because they enable her to carry out her greatest passion; photography.
- Despite having a slim figure, Max could be implied to be really self-conscious about her body and weight. The fact that she also failed to finish her plate twice (in the diner and in the Prices' living room) — even though she praised Joyce's cooking skills — implies that she might have a developing eating disorder, though she got distracted in both cases. Joyce pointed out she used to eat more than William. It could also be implied by an unused comment from her when seeing the bathroom scales "I already weighed myself last week, no comment"..
- In Episode 3, after seeing Max wearing Rachel's plaid shirt, Joyce suddenly decides to show her the family photo book. A closer inspection of the photo book's content reveals that one of the pictures shows Rachel and Chloe together, Rachel wearing the exact same plaid shirt as Max. This is probably what triggered Joyce's memory. It also confirms the shirt Max was wearing wasn't a left-over but a shirt Rachel used to wear instead.
- In 2008, Max hated pictures of herself (as heard in a randomly occurring audio file in Episode 3 while focusing on the picture William took).
- Max's student ID is B1OT21F2015. 2015 could be an expiry year. If this is the case, then Blackwell Academy's switch to a specialized two-year extended senior program by 2013 makes a 2015 expiry date on Max's student card make sense. If the academy operated like a normal high school, then her student number would have ended with 2014.
- Max's phone alarm screen (used at the beginning of the second episode) can be seen in the game files. The time 8:00 isn't to be taken at face value since it is established that Max was already awake at 7:34 am.
- It is suggested that Max prefers smooth peanut butter and possibly dislikes the crunchy variety altogether.
- The sounds Max hears while rewinding is reversed future and past dialog pieces and other environmental sounds.
- In early concept art for Max's room that appears on Feral Interactive's website, Max appeared to have an environmentally conscious roommate. A poster that appears in Victoria's room in-game (a bird with paint drips) can be seen under the bunk in the early art, but concept art for Victoria's room also exists. The concept artist, Edouard Caplain, was asked about Max's roommate, and the reply was that Max did originally have one (all students had them at the time), and this was a Greenpeace/hippie style student, but she was cut and is not in-game.
- Also in the early concept art, Max appeared to like rollerblading as some rollerblades are seen tucked under her desk. However, this skillful pastime doesn't seem to have made it into the game itself. Instead, Max makes the following comment upon seeing some rollerblades in Dana's room: "Rollerblades! I wanted to be a derby girl, but I almost broke my feet just putting them on..."
- Main article: Max Caulfield/Gallery
- That's a reference to the butterfly, which is a recurring leitmotif in Life is Strange and an important symbolism regarding time controlling powers.
- That's a very ironic foreshadowing to the happenings in "Chrysalis" and her gaining of time controlling powers.
- "Are you made of copper and tellurium? Because you're CuTe." Max was referencing this meme.
- Max's comment upon looking at a toolbox in Samuel's custodial room: "Nuts and bolts... like my grandpa's garage."
- Frank The Rabbit is a person named Frank in a life-size demonic-looking rabbit costume who has the ability to move through time, and who warns Donnie, the protagonist of Donnie Darko, that the world is going to end in a specific amount of time. His objective is to guide Donnie in his path to correcting the timeline of the primary universe to prevent the world's destruction.
- This could also explain her problems with social interaction, her rejective behavior towards Warren despite possible feelings for him, and also her termination of contact with Chloe after her moving to Seattle. She just might be unable to find the right way of communicating or expressing her feelings to others.
- Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: "This could be a reference to the fact that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was considered a box office bomb and contributed to the decline of Square Pictures."
- The version of Max that we meet in the Two Whales Diner in Episode 5 is referred to as "MaxGhost" in the game's text files.
- This was confirmed by the developers on Twitter.
- "A spark can start a fire that burns the entire prairie."
- Max says herself in Episode 1: "This is ridiculous. I always get so shy and nervous around Mr. Jefferson."
- Although freezing time was implemented as a game mechanic to give the player time to get Max into the dormitory building before Kate jumped, it is still a power that Max has, as stated by Raoul Barbet in this video from the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2016 - from the 22:02 time stamp. A visual cue that Max is using her powers is her constantly extended right hand that remains in front of her as she walks slowly towards the building.
- Check out this article for more information: http://www.spiritanimal.info/deer-spirit-animal/
- Symbolism of Dream Catchers: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/STUDENTS/GREENB/crafts1.html
- Wikipedia: "The Ojibwe believe that a dreamcatcher changes a person's dreams. According to Konrad J. Kaweczynski, "Only good dreams would be allowed to filter through... Bad dreams would stay in the net, disappearing with the light of day." Good dreams would pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper."
- Max's signature is taken from an illustration in Max's journal.
- Max playing "Crosses": Max playing "Something Good":
- High Functioning Autism: "High-functioning autism is a term applied to people with autism who are deemed to be cognitively "higher functioning" (with an IQ of greater than 70) than other people with autism. Individuals with HFA or Asperger syndrome exhibit deficits in areas of communication, emotion recognition and expression, and social interaction."
- Wikipedia: "Asperger Syndrome is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar or odd) use of language are frequently reported."
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: "In school-aged individuals inattention symptoms often result in poor school performance. Although it causes impairment, particularly in modern society, many children have a good attention span for tasks they find interesting."
- Social Anxiety Institute and Social anxiety: "Social anxiety is the discomfort or fear of social interaction that brings on self-unconsciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance and self-isolation. It's typically characterized by the fear of criticism and rejection, feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression."
- Twitter post by Michel Koch
- This reference was confirmed in an interview with Creative Director Jean-Maxime Moris.
- Anorexia nervosa:"Anorexia nervosa, often referred to simply as anorexia, is an eating disorder characterized by a low weight, fear of gaining weight, a strong desire to be thin and food restriction.
- Public post made by Square Enix's 'Life is Strange' Community Manager in the 'Life is Strange (GAME)' group on Facebook (7th July 2017): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1578433839080885/permalink/1938590309731901/
- Max: "I'm glad that's creamy, and not crunchy..." (Episode 3 - Chloe's living room.)
- Video 1