One thing that can be said about "Life is Strange," the incredible breakout franchise from Square-Enix and Dontnod Entertainment, is that it's not your average mainstream game. With choice-based gameplay and an emotional turn at every button push, the series has made strides for story-based gaming in ways that thousands of indie titles before it couldn't quite bring to life. Life is Strange Episode 3: Chaos Theory continues the story of Maxine, a young girl with an eye for photography, and the changes (whether standard or supernatural) that occur in her life because of decisions she makes throughout the day.
"The game really started from our previous game [Remember Me] where you looked in to people's minds and understood their memories," Game Director Michael Koch told Moviepilot at 2015's Electronic Entertainment Expo. "We loved this concept and thought it would be interesting to create a whole game out of it... It's sort of a butterfly effect. You make decisions based on her memories and the knowledge you have of her life."
Maxine, for her part, is still developing emotionally based on the player's decisions. With an initially meek, shy heroine, Life is Strange creates something so many games have received criticism for in the past: a well-rounded, deep-thinking female protagonist who is relatable to anyone that's ever experienced the social anxieties of teenage life. Koch elaborated on the choice to make Max their flagship character:
We had different characters who could have been the main characters when we were developing, but we really thought that Max was the one who worked the best, because when we were developing her -- everyone has issues with certain events in life, whether it's deciding to talk to a girl, or dealing with a big house move, and her nostalgia and issues moving forward, she's always questioning herself, this seemed the best reflection on where we all are in a way. We're all holding on to something and we wanted her to resonate that teenage nostalgia.
Two installments later, the emotional story has becoming an award-winning franchise, with two episodes to follow after this year's release of the third installment. The latest episode sees an elaboration on the game's intriguing supporting cast, including the mystery of Frank Bowers and his daunting connections to the game's story. With Life is Strange 3, we're given an in-your-face, almost unforgiving look at the people in Maxine's life, with grave consequences arising at every wrong decision.