Dontnod talks about the challenges of making a sequel to Life is Strange as release date nears


It’s one of the most anticipated games of the year, with fans surely eager to play the first episode of Life is Strange 2, a sequel to the award-winning 2015 adventure game Life is Strange.

Made by French studio Dontnod Entertainment, this episodic adventure game focused on the lives of teenagers Max and Chloe, while also boasting supernatural elements such as time travel.

But it was the game’s great cast of characters that kept many people hooked until the final episode (which was released in October 2015), so many fans were disappointed to discover that the much-loved duo of Max and Chloe won’t feature in Life is Strange 2.

Rather, this sequel to the popular adventure game will star Sean and Daniel Diaz, two brothers who find themselves on the run after being involved in a violent incident in their home town.

Christian Divine (lead writer) and Philip Bache (voice-over director) of Dontnod Entertainment spoke about the challenges of making a sequel to one of the most popular adventure games in recent memory, and of life without Max and Chloe in a recent interview with gaming website GameSpot.

“We all love Max and Chloe and all the other characters, but we wanna be ambitious and keep moving forward and expand the universe. It’s not just those characters”, said Divine in the interview. “So I think it was not so much a challenge for us in that sense, but it was more of a challenge when it came to the players, because they love those characters so much, to get them to embrace these characters on this journey was the biggest challenge I think in terms of it”, added the Dontnod man.

This same pressure of abandoning the original familiar cast and starting out with new characters for the sequel is also felt by those taking part in recording the voiceovers, as Philip Bache admitted in the interview.

“it’s a challenge in that we know how much Life is Strange 1 is loved and we’re pushing it. For me, I think we’re all beating up what we’re doing so much more now. So I definitely feel the pressure in the voiceover booth. I can feel the pressure from the team. But we’re taking it head on. I do appreciate the challenge”, said Bache.

And Bache is also adamant that people will get to appreciate Sean, Daniel and the rest of the characters as much as those in the first Life is Strange, saying that “the new characters, you’re gonna fall in love with just as much”.

Also, when designing the sequel Dontnod was faced with the challenge of deciding which of the two major endings of Life is Strange should be considered “canon”, with the team deciding neither should be and that player decisions are what matters in a multiple choice adventure should as Life is Strange, while lead writer Divine commenting that the sequel will too have “several different endings”.

Blanche also elaborated on this, saying that it’s “a huge challenge for any sequel now, to creatively come up with a story that fits within the universe, while also allowing the player to still have that choice”.

Creating, unique believable characters was also a major challenge during the making of Life is Strange 2, while voiceover director Blanche also said living up to expectations will be a challenge given the millions who love Life is Strange will be casting their critical eye on this upcoming sequel.

Hopefully though, Life is Strange 2 will feature the same juvenile drama and controversial situations which will generate as much discussion online as the original did, and be a jolly good adventure game will a loveable cast of characters as the 2015 game was too.

There’s not much to wait now in order to discover if this sequel to one of the most-loved adventure games of recent years will live up to the hype though, so it’s a matter of wait and see to find out whether Dontnod can deliver another great episodic adventure that lives up to the original this year.

Note: Life is Strange 2 (Episode 1) will be released on September 27, 2018. Available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.