Eurogamer caught up with Dontnod Entertainment, the creators of the hit episodic game Life is Strange, recently in London and discussed the title’s ending which still stirs debates months later.
This is the first time writer Jean-Luc Cano has discussed the game and he was joined by co-directors Michel Koch and Raoul Barbet as well as producer Luc Baghadoust.
Jean-Luc said his favorite character to write was Kate Marsh, even though he did not like her originally given her starkly different personality to his own but during the game’s production, they made her “more human” and memorable.
After this, the team was asked about the game’s ending.
At the end of Life is Strange’s final episode, Max and by extension the player, is given the choice to rescue the town of Arcadia Bay from a terrible storm or save Max’s friend (and perhaps more based on earlier choices), Chloe.
The team says they always wanted the player to make their decision at the end based on their own feelings and it always going to come down to this choice.
“We wanted it to be all about your own feelings – for there to be no right or wrong decision,” Jean-Luc said. “More than that, this choice is really a metaphor for growing older. The narrative arc of Max begins in episode one where she really is a teenager and slowly she changes to become more of an adult.”
As for how the development team chose themselves, there’s a clear division which reflects the fact that it’s almost a 50-50 split among players too.
“Personally, I saved Chloe,” Baghadoust said. “I absolutely love the other ending but I’ve watched it so much and it’s still so hard to watch. I remember the camera artist in front of me working on it, working all day to adjust the expressions… I don’t know what I’d have done in real life but for me in the game, that’s what I had to do.”
“I would sacrifice both! [laughs] No, I would have to go with saving the town,” Barbet added. “And I love Foals, the band whose music plays when you do. So I’d know that was coming at least. But honestly, the editing and framing of the scene that follows is one of the most memorable things about the game.
“And for me, as much as I love Chloe, I’d feel like I was being selfish sacrificing 10,000 people for the sake of the woman I love,” Jean-Luc explained his choice.
While Koch didn’t reveal his choice, he did say, “We made sure we had the nightmare scene right at the end to help players make this decision. We wanted to remind people of Chloe and the experiences you’ve had throughout the series in preparation for the final choice. We’ve also seen how people’s final choice is often reflected by how they responded to the characters throughout.”
Dontnod’s next game is Vampyr, which sees players take on the role of a doctor in 1920s London and succumb to vampirism. It’s coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2017.
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