The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, also referred to as Captain Spirit, is a free standalone game inside the Life is Strange universe, developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. It was announced June 10, 2018, and was released on June 26th for free on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (Steam).
It takes place over the course of a single Saturday morning in December and follows Chris Eriksen, a 9-year-old[note 2] boy who dreams of adventure, and carries on the theme of childhood nostalgia that was a central element of the original Life is Strange. Likewise, the game tackles challenging social issues, such as grief, neglect and alcoholism. The story is predominantly about imagination and how it helps us cope with reality. The game takes place in Beaver Creek, Oregon, during winter time, 3 years after the events of the original Life is Strange.
The game serves as a precursor to Life is Strange 2 that gives "a glimpse into Life is Strange 2's brand-new story... but only if you’re clever enough to piece the clues together!". Dontnod calls it a "perfect introduction" to the upcoming sequel. Dontnod confirmed that "some choices in Captain Spirit will carry over and have consequences in Life is Strange 2." It is now confirmed that Captain Spirit is a set-up for Episode 2 of Life is Strange 2.
Dontnod stated pre-release that the game will be between 1 and 2 hours long. It is more open-ended than the original Life is Strange's episodes as Chris can complete an optional list of quests. Also after passing the ending and being returned to the menu, players can continue following the quests at any time by pressing "Continue".
"The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is not Life is Strange 2, but it does connect to it in multiple ways. This is the first step into the diverse world of Life is Strange beyond Arcadia Bay where you will find secrets and hints as to what to expect in Life is Strange 2. In addition to this, choices & actions you make in Captain Spirit will carry over to Life is Strange 2.", as stated on the official website.
- An original narrative experience set in the Life is Strange universe
- Play as Chris and his super-hero alter-ego, Captain Spirit
- Complete a series of missions as Captain Spirit and discover secret content
- Some choices and actions will link to your Life is Strange 2 experience
"In The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, you play as Chris, an ordinary [9-year][note 2] old boy who dreams of being a superhero. Chris has a big imagination that will take him on all sorts of adventures, but on this particular Saturday something truly extraordinary will happen to him..."
"Have you ever dreamt of being a superhero? Meet Chris, a creative and imaginative 10 year old boy who escapes reality with fantastical adventures, as his alter ego - the Awesome Captain Spirit!
Return to your childhood and play a touching and heart-warming one-of-a-kind narrative experience from the directors and development team behind the BAFTA award winning game Life is Strange. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a self-contained narrative experience with plenty of hidden secrets to unearth with each play-through as you explore Chris’ world."
On a snowy Saturday in December 2016, Charles has promised to take his son to get a Christmas tree, but refuses to do so until the Basketball game is over on TV. Charles has already started drinking beer and heads to the living room with a half-bottle of whiskey. He tells Chris to wake him after the game if he falls asleep (which he does) so they can go get the promised tree.
Chris explores his environment, giving us a glimpse into his world and his imaginary super hero Captain Spirit. We learn more about his mother Emily, including the fact she once went to the Blackwell Academy and fell in love with his father Charles at Eugene College. They got married and had Chris in February 2007. She was Chris' Kindergarten teacher and his dad worked at the same school. Emily was killed in a hit-and-run accident on December 16, 2014 and the offender was never found. His father lost his previous job at the school and is currently working for a railroad company. It is now December 2016 and Charles is currently seeing an exotic dancer named Audra, which he has yet to tell his son. The narrative leads the player to believe the boy has possibly been physically abused by his father, most likely due to his alcoholism and anger issues.
At the end of this chapter, Chris wakes his father as he was told to do. Charles is still very intoxicated and falls twice, the second time knocking over a side table. He swears and yells at Chris. The neighbor Claire Reynolds is out for a walk and hears the commotion. She rings the doorbell and an angry Charles sends the boy to the door, telling him to get rid of whoever it is. Chris and Mrs. Reynolds have a conversation and the story changes depending on how the conversation goes. After she leaves, Charles continues yelling at his son, and blames him for Emily's death, stating if it wasn't for the boy, she wouldn't have been in a situation to get hit by a car in the first place. He immediately apologizes and says he didn't mean it, but Chris refuses to accept it and runs out of the house in his socks to his tree house.
During the quick and angry climb up, a board comes loose and Chris falls. Just before reaching the snow, his body comes to a sudden halt. Chris, completely surprised by this, slowly lands in the snow. He gets up, checks himself over, still completely baffled as to this 'power' that kept him from getting hurt and looks at his hands. He then notices two children in the Reynolds's back yard waving to him and waves back.
- Chris Eriksen
- Charles Eriksen
- Claire Reynolds
- Sean Diaz
- Daniel Diaz
- Stephen Reynolds (mentioned)
- Emily Eriksen (mentioned)
- Audra (mentioned)
- Nick (mentioned)
- Peter Wyatt (mentioned)
- Kristen Wyatt (mentioned)
- Principal Wells (mentioned)
- Ms. Stroud (mentioned)
- Professor D. Jennings (mentioned)
- Mark Jefferson (mentioned)
- Henry (Chris' toy)
- Mantroid (Captain Spirit arch-enemy)
- Snowmancer (Captain Spirit enemy and member of Team Mantroid)
- Shark-Stinger (Captain Spirit enemy and member of Team Mantroid)
- Noctarious (Captain Spirit enemy and member of Team Mantroid)
- Noctared (Captain Spirit enemy and presumably a (indirect) member of Team Mantroid)
- Water Eater (Captain Spirit enemy)
- Beer Can Monster (Captain Spirit enemy)
- Forest Warrior (Captain Spirit ally and member of Team Spirit)
- Power Bear (Captain Spirit ally and member of Team Spirit)
- Mar-T Rex (Captain Spirit ally and member of Team Spirit))
- Sky Pirate (Captain Spirit ally and member of Team Spirit)
- Ralph the Viking (Captain Spirit ally)
Announcement and Release
The Awesome Adventured of Captain Spirit was announced during the Microsoft Conference at E3 2018 as a free self-contained spin-off game that functions as a precursor to the events of Life is Strange 2 on June 10, 2018 and released on June 26, 2018.
Concept and Idea
Co-Director Michel Koch on why they decided to make an additional game set in the Life is Strange universe:
"Because Life is Strange is not a single set of characters or a single town. It's not just Max and Chloe. For three years now, we've created lots of new characters working on Life is Strange 2, and Captain Spirit is one of them. When we started working on Life is Strange 2, started talking about settings and characters, it was quite a huge story. We saw potential in a lot of characters, to find a bit more about their backstory and their side stories."
Captain Spirit is meant to work as both an introduction to the second season of Life is Strange and an entry point to the franchise and the kind of games the developers team works on. "I wouldn't say that [it is a demo]. It's formed around our relative experience. It's a standalone experience. It means that if you don’t know Life is Strange, you can play it and discover the type of game we're creating — and, I hope, the DNA of Life is Strange. Of course, if you know Life is Strange you can find a lot of details in Captain Spirit. It's really a perfect introduction to Life is Strange 2," Co-Director Barbet explained in an interview. Dontnod explained that they're hoping people who've never played Life is Strange will play The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, and that it’s designed for both newcomers and fans to get enjoyment out of.
Chris was a character Dontnod came up with while working on Life is Strange 2, but they wanted to do something more in-depth with him.
The game explores two central aspects – the difficult situation of Chris's father and his family life and the positive side of how a 10-year-old spends his time alone and escapes the reality of this situation. Dontnod wanted to combine the two elements because they go hand in hand and, as Raoul Barbet puts it in an interview, "escaping doesn't make dark things disappear."
The game is all about seeing the world through the eyes of a 10-year-old: "We really wanted to talk about being a kid, and this sort of blending of imagination and reality and how, for the player, we could use this vivid imagination to have fun, but also use it to tell Chris' story. What are his fears? What is the relationship with his dad like? And so on."
"We knew the game would be free, so it sort of changed the way we designed and wrote it," continued Koch. "We were completely free to create this small sandbox of a kid on a Saturday morning. What do you want to do? Do you want to help your father out? Do you want to revel in your own imagination?"
The game was influenced by the writers' own experiences as 10-year-olds who were only-childs and/or had only one parent like the game's protagonist, and Scriptwriter Christian Divine's experiences as a father to a little girl.
Michel Koch (translated from French): "I was an only son, with a single parent. Forcibly in this case you find yourself more often alone, so you make your world your way of occupying your time. Although the game does not take place in the 1990s, there are many concepts and memories of childhood that come from there."
Raoul Barbet on childhood nostalgia: "We’ve all been children, boy or girl, and we had our bedroom, our own toys. (...) We hope that players will love Chris and be able to put their own memories into this game, just as they did with the first one."
Raoul Barbet: "As a 10-year-old boy, you've got this powerful imagination we all have as a boy, as a lonely boy. (...) We wanted to talk about that, the fact that sometimes it's interesting to be able to escape the difficult reality with your imagination."
Underneath the cute conceit of Captain Spirit — that the powers he uses in-game are just a product of his imagination — lurks a more serious story. Chris' mother is out of the picture, and his dad struggles with alcohol abuse. "This is something we really wanted to talk about, what is it to be a child on your own. I think it’s interesting also to remember when you’re a boy like him, you’re quite young, but you start to understand some stuff of the adult world."
Dontnod has worked to make dialog more natural. Players can now respond in some instances while moving. In the demo, this was on display as Chris' father, Charles, called to him from upstairs. Players can choose to respond or ignore all while continuing to explore. "We wanted to improve the feeling of answering someone," says Co-Creative Director Raoul Barbet. "It was interesting to us to have the feeling for the player to walk with someone near me and they can answer or not." Another change is the inclusion of a quest system. As Captain Spirit, Chris has a number of objectives to undertake, some of them are optional.
Like for the original Life is Strange, the use of music was a key element of the development. Co-Director Michel Koch explained in the developer's diary on Captain Spirit, "It's not just about having some decent strikes in particular music, it's also how you're going to use it within the story."
Nods to the Original
- A letter from Principal Wells shows that Chris Eriksen's mother went to Blackwell Academy.
- A photography book featuring Mark Jefferson's work.
- Hawt Dawg Man; a game on Charles' phone, a comic book and a web page.
- The cover of the book in Chris' room, Where the Wild Things Are, contains a chicken from Max Caulfield's nightwear.
Connections to the Sequel
- The newspaper lying on the Eriksens' dinner table describes the events of and fallout surrounding Esteban Diaz and Officer Matthews' deaths.
- The console Chris wants for Christmas that can be found in Charles' closet is of the "PlayBox" brand, which makes a return in the Diaz's household and Sean Diaz's Christmas home video in Life is Strange 2.
- After being saved from falling out of the treehouse, Chris sees and waves to two boys in the Reynolds' backyard, later revealed to be Sean and Daniel Diaz.
Like the original game, Captain Spirit has been praised for its well-written and relatable characters, notably protagonist Chris's characterization, its emotional story and the way it tackles childhood and its problematic sides. Furthermore, it was praised for its improvement on graphics and animations, as well as for being a non-linear gaming experience that offers multiple ways of shaping a single playthrough. WCCFTech wrote "Rather than being the normal linear affair, Captain Spirit opens up a set of opportunities that can be completed in any order or ignored altogether."
It was criticized that the game is quite short and that the ending can be triggered by accident.
- On Metacritic, it has a Metascore of 75/79 based on 31 reviews and a user score of 7.1/7.3.
- Steam user-reviews are "very positive" (92% out of 8,511 reviews).
- IGN calls the game "good" with a score of 7.0.
- Waypoint calls the game "a gripping but upsetting story about a father and a son in a toxic relationship.
- The Guardian calls the game "only clumsy occasionally; as a whole (...) affecting, sweet and memorable" with a score of 3/5.
Awards and Nominations
Before the release, Captain Spirit won one of Android Central's "Best of E3 2018" awards.
In January 2019, Captain Spirit won an award for "Best Adventure Game" in the Game Informer's Best Of 2018 Awards. The winner announcement reads as follows:
"Captain Spirit may be a prelude for the latest Life Is Strange, but it stands just fine as its own adventure. Seeing the world through the eyes of an imaginative boy named Chris makes thoroughly exploring each environment worthwhile, as does learning more about his life and relationship with his troubled father."
|OS: Windows 7 or above (64-bit)||OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)|
|Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 (3.1GHz) or AMD Phenom X4 945 (3.0GHz)||Processor: Intel Core i5 3470, (3.20 Ghz) or AMD FX-8350, (4.00 Ghz)|
|Memory: 4GB RAM||Memory: 6GB RAM|
|Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 2GB or AMD Radeon HD 7770 2GB||Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB or AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB|
|DirectX: Version 11||DirectX: Version 11|
|Hard Drive: 5 GB available space||Hard Drive: 5 GB available space|
Note: 32-bit operating systems will not be supported.
- The songs in the announcement trailer are "Death with Dignity" by Sufjan Stevens and "May Weather" by John Francis.
- The promotional artwork depicting protagonist Chris strongly resembles the promotional artwork for the original Life is Strange depicting Max Caulfield.
- The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, is the only Life is Strange franchise game that doesn't have "Collectible Mode".
- Co-Director Raoul Barbet said that Sailor Moon was a reference they had in mind.
- Chris can come across an e-mail on his father's computer detailing accounts of "unruly teenage freight-hoppers" in the area. Michel Koch revealed in an interview that one of his major inspirations for Life is Strange 2 was Mike Brodie, a photographer known for having train-hopped across the U.S.A. for four years while capturing images of the people he met along the way. Both prior to and after the release of this interview, it was speculated that the protagonist of Life is Strange 2 would encounter and join a group of the aforementioned freight-hoppers during the game.
- The game doesn't have any trophies or achievements.
- Toby Palm, the community manager for Life is Strange, called the game a "significant piece of content" and not a "quick throwaway."
- Chris's costume's design varies based on the player's choices at the beginning of the game.
- Some documents can be viewed in the Document Gallery in the menu that aren't shown as documents during normal play.
- If dad is awake in the recliner, Chris can antagonize dad by continuously trying to talk to him using the speak option to the point that dad becomes rather irritated (the equivalent of "Dad, Dad, Dad....").
- A Super Comic Store pamphlet found in Chris's room contains a QR code. When scanned, it provides the text, "A ragged colt may make a good horse." It's speculated that this easter egg is a hint at Life is Strange 2.
- One of the dates on Chris' height chart on his father's wardrobe is "09/10/2013". When read as a European date, this is possibly a link to the third episode of the original Life is Strange, "Chaos Theory", which takes place on October 9th.
- There are two variations of the main menu game logo that changes based on Chris' costume color choice at the start of the game.
- Charles falls asleep after 23 minutes and all events pause the timer.
- When Chris gives the "Radio Interview" in front of the mirror in the bathroom, the radio station he pretends to be speaking with is "WHERO". However, radio stations in the US start with either a "K" or a "W", depending on if they are west or east of the Mississippi River, and with Beaver Creek being located in the state of Oregon, all radio stations there would start with a "K", making it odd that Chris talks to a station that starts with a "W".
- Chris and Ms. Reynolds respond specifically to the following conditions: 1) Chris shovels the steps outside of the house. 2) If Chris takes the waste-basket full of beer cans outside. 3) If Chris manages to fully complete the costume before waking up Chris' Dad. Also, right at the beginning of the game, as soon as Chris finishes eating the eggs, Chris can call Ms. Reynolds on the phone. Chris will have a chat about Stephen, plans for the day, etc. If Chris tries to call her after waking up Charles, she will not be home. Lastly, Chris' Dad will be angry with him saying the phone is not to be used to prank call others.
- If Chris completes the quest to defeat the Water Eater early, Chris will have a special dialogue when using the kitchen and/or bathroom sink.
- In Charles' room, Chris can steal a cigarette. If Chris takes it to the tree house, there is special dialog when used with the "Old Bowl". Chris laments about his special bowl being misused by his Dad as an ashtray.
- The developers had planned to use a song by Bruce Springsteen in the game, but it didn't happen.
- ↑ Official release times image.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The initial marketing messaging incorrectly stated his age to be 10. Square Enix's and Dontnod's Community Managers both have confirmed that he is 9, close to 10. The Steam product description also mentions this age.
- ↑ Captain Spirit looks heroic, but sometimes tragic too (June 19, 2018)
- ↑ Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit world premiere: Life Is Strange, but not (June 15, 2018)
- ↑ The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit: Life is Strange Prequel Revealed at E3 2018 (June 11, 2018)
- ↑ Choices you make in Captain Spirit will carry over to Life is Strange 2 (June 11, 2018)
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 reveals its connection to Captain Spirit in January (December 19, 2018)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 25 minutes with Life is Strange 2's brilliantly unexpected free prequel (June 10, 2018)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Official Website
- ↑ Announcement blog (June 10, 2018)
- ↑ PlaySation.com: An ordinary boy on an extraordinary day
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit Won’t Have Trophies or Achievements (June 23, 2018)
- ↑ THE AWESOME ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN SPIRIT PREVIEW - E3 2018 (June 11, 2018)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit will pick up three years after Life is Strange (June 15, 2018)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Jeu vidéo : « L’émotion est plus dure à amener, mais l’interactivité peut la décupler »(June 25, 2018)
- ↑ Life Is Strange spinoff draws inspiration from a classic anime (June 19, 2018)
- ↑ ‘The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit’ Sets Stage for ‘Life Is Strange 2’ (June 13, 2018)
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Metacritic PC
- ↑ OpenCritic
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 WCCFTech: The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit Review – Hella Good (June 29, 2018)
- ↑ Metacritic PS4
- ↑ Metacritic Xbox One
- ↑ Steam page
- ↑ IGN review (June 26, 2018)
- ↑ `The Sort But Chilling 'Captain Spirit' Weaponizes Empathy Against You (June 27, 2018)
- ↑ The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit review – poignant pipe dreams (June 28, 2018)
- ↑ Twitter post by Dontnod
- ↑ Game Informer’s Best Of 2018 Awards
- ↑ Life Is Strange spinoff draws inspiration from a classic anime (June 25, 2018)
- ↑ Life is Strange 2 Developers on Leaving Chloe and Max Behind - Gamescom 2018
- ↑ ResetEra post
- ↑ Reddit post by /u/MusicalNerd72
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 Blackwell Podcast Episode 57 - Captain Spirit
- ↑ Interview with the developers of Life is Strange 2 - JeuxVideo-Live (August 26, 2018)
- ↑ Florent Auguy's ArtStation