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This article lists references to pop culture and different media that can be found in Life is Strange 2. Pop-cultural references are a significant part of Dontnod Entertainment's world-building.

General Influences Edit

Road Stories Edit

According to Co-Creative Director Michel Koch, Life is Strange 2 was inspired by various media focusing around road trips and travelling[1], including:

  • Of Mice and Men - (1937 novel by John Steinbeck)
    • A copy of this book can be found in-game in Karen's room in Episode 2.
  • Stand by Me (1986 film) - Stand by Me tells the fictional story of four boys in a small town in Oregon who go on a hike to find the dead body of another boy.
  • Into the Wild (2007 film, based on the biographical book) - The film tells the story of Christopher McCandless, the son of wealthy parents, top student and athlete at Emory University. Instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career, he chooses to give his savings to charity, rid himself of his possessions, and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness.
  • On the Road (1957 novel) - On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States.
    • Kerouac and his novel are mentioned in Brody's blog post titled On the Edge.

In an interview prior to the release of the game, Michel Koch revealed that one of his 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.[2]

Various references to these main inspirations and influences can be found throughout the game.

Politics and Trump Presidency Edit

In an interview... (TBC)

  • In their chat messages prior to the game's events, Lyla and Sean discuss the 2016 Presidential Election on October 19, 2016, the night of the final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Sean marks this date as "American Horror Debate 2016" on page 9 of his journal.
  • Hank Stamper's quote “You're the reason we need to build that wall” references the Mexican border wall that President Donald Trump wants built between the two countries.
  • Hank’s threat of calling ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on Sean is also a reference to the illegal immigration crackdown when Trump took office.
  • Stephen Reynolds represents political conservatism with his views on America and traditional marriage. He owns a red hat with white bars in his office that bears resemblance to Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" hat.
  • One of Cassidy's signs reads "Make me great again", which likely refers to Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.

Characters Edit

  • Sean's middle name, Eduardo, may be a reference to Lead Concept Artist Edouard Caplain.
  • Daniel may be named after an apocalyptic prophet in the Bible.
  • Brody is likely inspired by and named after Mike Brodie, a famous photographer who freighthopped across the USA for four years while capturing images of the people he met along the way, largely freight-hoppers, vagabonds, squatters and hobos. Writer Michel Koch has said in an interview that Mike Brodie's work was a major inspiration for Life is Strange 2.
  • Brody's appearance, car, and backstory are similar to Christopher McCandless, the protagonist of the 2007 film Into the Wild. McCandless was the son of wealthy parents and graduated from Emory University as a top student and athlete. Instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career, he chose to give his savings to charity, rid himself of his possessions, and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness.
  • Cassidy's name may be a reference to Butch Cassidy, an American train robber.
  • Finn's name may be a reference to Huckleberry Finn, a fictional character by American author Mark Twain who travels down the Mississippi River on a raft.
  • Stephen Reynolds represents political conservatism with his views on America and traditional marriage. He owns a red hat with white bars in his office that bears resemblance to Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" hat.
  • Officer Kindred Matthews' name may be a reference to the middle name of American sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, who was most known for his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Prior to a patch following the release of Episode 2, Kindred's name was originally listed as "Philip", which would have fit as a reference to the same author. Blade Runner, the film adaption of this novel, was already referenced in the original Life is Strange.

Episode One - "Roads" Edit

Diaz Household Edit

  • The name of their street, Lewis, may be a reference to Meriwether Lewis, a famous explorer in American history who made a cross-country expedition across the Louisiana Purchase.
    • Much like Esteban, Lewis also died from a gunshot wound under mysterious circumstances.
  • (Lyla writing the "Official Party List" on Sean's left hand may be a reference to Chloe Price writing her objectives on her left hand in Before the Storm.)
  • In the living room, a "PlayBox" can be found. The "PlayBox" console brand is a portmanteau of two real-world console brands, PlayStation and Xbox.
  • When looking at the living room's television, Sean mentions binging Top Gear with his father and his brother.
  • When looking at the headset next to the television, Sean says that Daniel plays Minecraft.
  • In a letter addressed to Esteban from a neighbor, Scott Vaughn Foster, dated eight days before Esteban's tragic death, he was told that his property line overhangs their property and that his children are loud and don’t stay on their side. The letter also states that if Esteban doesn’t build a proper fence then he will be taken to small claims court for damages. This letter may be a real world reference to the campaign promise by US President Donald Trump to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it.
GozuMezu Poster Sean's Room
  • A poster depicting two figures wearing horse and bull masks below the words "gozu mezu" can be found on the walls of Sean's room. This is a reference to Ox-Head and Horse-Face (also known as Gozu and Mezu in Japan), the two mythological guardians of the Chinese underworld.
  • On Sean's computer, an active download for a movie called "Goodlands 1973" can be found, referencing the 1973 film Badlands.
  • On her social media, Jenn posted, "Don't let them tame you", a quote by American dancer Isadora Duncan.
  • When Daniel opens his room's door for Sean, Sean asks him, "What are you doing in there, Frankenstein?"
  • The word "Hello!" is etched onto the white bookshelf in front of Daniel's door. This may be a reference to the psychological horror video game P.T., which includes a similar inscribing that becomes focal at one point during the game.
  • If Sean takes some time to retrieve the right tool for Esteban in the Diaz Garage, the two begin to converse about the grade Sean received for an English essay he wrote on the 1969 anti-war novel Slaughterhouse Five.
    • Sean also keeps a customized cinema light box in his room displaying the message "So it goes", a famous quote from the novel. The phrase is meant to convey the lack of meaning in death during war and how it can come to anyone at any time, which may act as foreshadowing for Esteban's death in the following scene.

Into the Woods Edit

  • Daniel says, "Awesome possum", a reference the same-titled Sega Megadrive game.
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The "creepy mushroom".

  • On the offshoot from Trout Spring Trail leading down to Nisqually River, Sean and Daniel come across a "creepy mushroom" that strongly resembles the fungus mutations of the Infected, also called Clickers, from the post-apocalyptic survival adventure game The Last of Us. When looking at it, Daniel comments that it looks like a Clicker and imitates Clicker sounds.
  • Depending on what Sean responds to Daniel with upon entering the forest, the two brothers can make several references throughout their hike to either Minecraft or Lord of the Rings.
    • If Sean chose to reference Minecraft:
      • After Daniel mentions that he's afraid of the forest, Sean says that he's seen Daniel built giant cities out of wood in Minecraft, and Daniel becomes excited about being able to chop wood and build a secret base in the forest.
      • While sitting on a bench overlooking the park, Sean asks Daniel if he's ready to build a base, to which Daniel responds that they should find some "cool blocks" and "be careful of Creepers".
      • Upon finding and examining the landslide blocking off Trout Spring Trail, Daniel says that it must be the work of a Charged Creeper.
      • After helping Daniel over the fallen tree, Daniel tells Sean that they have to look out for skeletons and zombies.
      • When Sean tells Daniel that they could use the riverside cave as a "secret base", Daniel responds that they could "fight off any Skeletons or Creepers with some good traps".
      • If Sean asks Daniel who he's up against as he's fencing a tree with a stick, Daniel tells him that a mob of Skeletons with flame arrows is attacking them.
    • If Sean chose to reference Lord of the Rings:
      • After Daniel mentions that he's afraid of the forest, Sean brings up watching Lord of the Rings with their father, Esteban, and compares their hike to an adventure. Daniel decides to liken himself to Frodo Baggins and Sean to Samwise Gamgee, to which Sean argues that he'd be more like Aragorn.
      • While sitting on a bench overlooking the park, Sean asks Daniel if he's ready to build a base, to which Daniel responds "Frodo is always ready for adventure, Sean-Wise..."
      • Upon finding and examining the landslide blocking off Trout Spring Trail, Daniel says that it must be the work of the Ents.
      • After Sean helps him over the fallen tree, Daniel tells Sean "Come on Sean-Wise. We must explore!"
      • When Sean tells Daniel that they could use the riverside cave as a "secret base", Daniel responds that they could "stop any orcs from capturing [them there]".
      • If Sean asks Daniel who he's up against as he's fencing a tree with a stick, Daniel tells him that orcs and goblins have tracked them down. After "defeating" them, Daniel says "Ooof! They're down! None shall pass!", a reference to Gandalf's famous quote from the Lord of the Rings film: "You shall not pass!"
      • As Daniel falls asleep by their campfire, Sean assures Daniel that "without [him], there's no Fellowship".
  • In the Picnic Area, a carving of the All-Seeing Eye, a symbol associated with Chloe Price, can be seen on one of the tables.

Bear Station Edit

  • A poster outside the "Bear Station" gas station displaying an "ASH-82" chainsaw for sale references Ash Williams and his chainsaw hand from the classic 1981 horror movie The Evil Dead. The poster was posted by Sam R., a nod at director Sam Raimi.
  • A girl sitting at the picnic table can be seen looking at her phone, which displays an interface that closely resembles Instagram's.
  • When examining the freezer outside of the Mini Mart, Sean will say, "I don't even want to think about ice!" This may be a punny reference to ICE, the acronym for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is known for deporting undocumented Mexican immigrants.
  • Sean will say the Stampers' house looks like the perfect setting for the Washington Chainsaw Massacre, a reference to the horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

US-101 Edit

  • If Sean looked at and mentions the "creepy" wooden bears at Bear Station, Brody Holloway jokes that they could call it "The Bear Witch Project", a reference to the 1999 supernatural horror film The Blair Witch Project.
  • If Sean asks Brody how he makes money, Brody tells him that he sells items on eBay.

Sand Castle Edit

  • Before leaving, Brody tells the brothers that he can be contacted through his website, "A Tribe Called West", a reference to the American hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest.

Three Seals Motel Edit

  • Esteban references the Grand Theft Auto series in the old Christmas video that Sean watches on his phone.
  • Daniel and Sean can dance to "Guitar Fighter," a reference to Guitar Hero.
  • If Sean remains idle, he will say, "Better get that bath going for Dirty Daniel", a possible reference to a meme from Spongebob Squarepants.
  • On their way to their room, Daniel asks Sean if he thinks the motel has Netflix.

Sean's Inventory Edit

  • The inventory icon for Sean's schoolbag is surrounded by the phrase "receiving the gift of flavor". This is likely a reference to the 1995 album of the same name by The Urge, whose title is written in the same font style.

Sean's Journal Edit

  • Two sketches on page 3 of Sean's journal depict a fox and a bear that might be a reference to the characters Gregg and Angus from the story-focused adventure game Night in the Woods developed by Infinite Fall.
  • Page 5 of Sean's journal reads "OLLIE OLLIE OXEN FREE MOTHERFUCKERS", referencing Night School Studio's graphic adventure video game Oxenfree.
  • Sean marks October 20, 2016 as "American Horror Debate 2016" on page 9 of his journal; a reference to American Horror Story.

Sean's Messages Edit

  • When Lyla is trying to tell Sean about something and he doesn't immediately reply on September 15, 2016, she says, "Do not ghost me" to which Sean responds with "Boo". Lyla then jokes, "Nice try but I'm a Ghostbuster", referencing the classic Ghostbusters movies.
  • When Lyla calls Sean a "dick", he says, "That's what she said", an expression used in response to statements that may sound sexual in nature when taken out of context originating in the early 2010s.[3] In response, Lyla remarks, "2010 called and wants its meme back."
  • On September 20, 2016, Sean calls Lyla "Lyla Hawking" after she agreed to help him with Statistics.
  • Lyla mentions "ViewTube" in one of her messages to Sean, referencing YouTube.
  • Lyla and Sean discuss the 2016 Presidential Election on October 19, 2016, the night of the final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
  • Entry #7 features one of the Misty Mice tickets Sean bought for Lyla's birthday. The band's name may be derived from American indie rock band Modest Mouse.

Episode Two - "Rules" Edit

Reynolds Household Edit

Stephen's Laptop - Reddit Social Media Conspiracy Site

The website on Stephen's laptop.

  • Sean can find a website open on Stephen's laptop that looks identical to Reddit.
    • The website appears to be based off of Reddit's April 2018 redesign, which was introduced long after the events of "Rules" which took place in December 2016.
  • If Sean called Lyla in "Roads", she will post a quote on her Facebook profile from American journalist and social activist Gloria Steinem, who is recognized as a leader and spokeswoman for second-wave feminism starting in the early 1960s within the United States.
ReynoldsPainting01
  • Brody mentions Kerouac and his novel On the Road in his blog post titled "On The Edge", which itself may be a reference to Kerouac's novel.
  • He also mentions Lois Lane, a fictional character and award-winning journalist from the DC Comics universe, in the same blog post.
  • One of the paintings in the Reynolds' kitchen appears to depict American painter Bob Ross, who became famous for hosting the instructional television show The Joy of Painting.
  • Karen's bear Ulysses is named after the Greek hero and protagonist of The Odyssey, a story about his long and fantastic journey to return home from the Trojan War. This is further evidence of Karen's lifelong interest in travel and adventure.
  • Karen owns the book "Of Mice and Men" in her bedroom, which is a real novel by John Steinbeck about cross-country travel.
  • Karen owns a CD in her room whose cover bears strong resemblance to the music single "Rude" by the band Magic!.

(TBC)

Trivia Edit

  • While popcultural references found on license plates were prominently featured in the original Life is Strange, the license plates in Season 2 don't appear to follow this pattern.

References Edit

  1. Why Life is Strange 2 is ditching Arcadia Bay for its radically different road trip (August 21, 2018)
  2. Life is Strange 2 Developers on Leaving Chloe and Max Behind - Gamescom 2018
  3. Know Your Meme: That's What She Said