Back in 2015, Square Enix and Dontnod Productions released the debut iteration in the Life is Strange series. It is an episodic coming of age story that’s gripping and tells an emotionally compelling story. Gamers loved the world Dontnod created and as a result, a new iteration is in development.

While the true sequel, Life is Strange 2, is in development at Dontnod, Square Enix still wants to give gamers something else to enjoy in the meantime. Deck Nine Games is creating Life is Strange: Before the Storm and it’ll launch toward the end of August. This will be a three-part prequel and is focused on Chloe before she meets Max. It’ll center around her life just after her father’s death.

In Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Deck Nine Games is deciding to eliminate the rewind feature. The decision behind this is to focus more on characters and its story. It is uncertain whether or not the rewind feature will return in Life is Strange 2. It will be a surprise if it does not though.

Before the Storm will take place three years prior to the original. All three episodes will total around six or nine hours of playtime, depending on how swiftly you play through each episode. Episode one will release on Aug. 31 of this year, so gamers won’t have to wait much longer for the prequel.

The overlook, a new location coming to Before the Storm (Courtesy of Square Enix).

Some of the locations gamers will see in Life is Strange: Before the Storm are brand-new to the game. Others will be more familiar and you’ll recognize them from the series’ first release. The same is true for characters you’ll find. Some will be new while others will be returning.

Two years prior to when this game takes place is when Chloe’s father died. Thus, the current state of her life leaves Chloe thinking everyone is against her. She in turn burns bridges with those close to her and tries to manage her destructive state. The girl who seems to be the love interest for Chloe is Rachel Amber.

Choices are a major point of emphasis in Life is Strange: Before the Storm, much like the original. Gamers will reach points throughout each episode that dramatically impact their relationship with characters in the world. I had the chance to see first hand some of the choices Chloe encountered in a demo at E3.

One of the first choices Chloe faced was wanting a cool t-shirt. The dude selling the shirt wasn’t interested in giving one to Chloe, so she got creative. Since the shirt was in the trunk of a parked car, Chloe released the hand break sending the car forward. While he was distracted, Chloe snatched the shirt, but noticed something else.

Frank makes his return to the series (Courtesy of Square Enix).

Beside the shirt was $200 cash, and we had to decide whether or not to steal it. As I saw in the demo, this choice had consequences, not necessarily bad ones, later on in the demo. We decided to steal the $200. This came in handy when we ran in Frank, who also was in the original Life is Strange. She asked to pick up some weed, but turns out Chloe owed him $175. Good thing she just came into some cash to cover such debts, right?

So when you have this choice, will you pay him or not? We decided to see if he could spot Chloe some cash, but he wasn’t into it, so we ended up offering him the $200. Surprisingly, Frank was nice and forgave the debt, allowing Chloe to keep the cash in the end.

Graffiti is a part of the game where gamers can “make their mark on the game.” In the original Life is Strange, Max could take pictures when prompted to. For Chloe, Graffiti will serve that function, and gamers have a choice of the design they want to paint.

Later on in the demo, Chloe ran into a couple thugs, if you will, and the three of them get into a verbal altercation. Insults are tossed back and forth, with Chloe’s being chosen by the player, and things escalate. One of the guys breaks a bottle, hinting at his intentions for harming her.

Rachel and Chloe will be the stars of Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Courtesy of Square Enix).

Gamers had the choice to attack or runaway in this instance. We chose to attack and a mini-scuffle ensued. Rachel suddenly showed up and her appearance ultimately helped Chloe escape from the situation. On their way out, the thugs ran after the girls, but Frank kept them from getting to the girls. This is one of the scenes gamers will experience during the early parts of Life is Strange: Before the Storm.

Second, we were able to check out a scene between just Rachel and Chloe, which took place later in the game. This was a different paced instance, in which it was just the two of them. Choices were based off of what Chloe would say to Rachel, like whether or not their just friends or if there is something more happening between them. It was a great example of the different pacing we’ll see in scenes from the upcoming game.

Rachel Amber is from the original Life is Strange, though her fate was grim. Deck Nine is making it clear that this is story is not about her demise. From the E3 demo I saw, it seems like Deck Nine is being more upfront with Rachel and Chloe’s relationship. It is clear there are feelings from Chloe and the demo showcased the conflicted state Rachel seems to be in.

I’m very excited to see where Deck Nine Games is taking the prequel. They seem to have a focused vision for what they want to do, and I think the length will be great for how they want to do it. This has the potential to add wonderful background to Life is Strange that otherwise would have been left undiscovered.

We’ll all see what the prequel is like when the first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm launches on Aug. 31. The game will be available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Life is Strange.

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