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This week saw the release of Farewell, the aptly titled bonus episode to the Life is Strange prequel, Before the Storm. While the new game is an even smaller story than its predecessors, that's part of why it's so great. Following two solid episodic dramas, the last thing fans need at the end is another heart-wrenching tale to get them wound up. This is not to say Farewell is without emotion, because it's not. But if you find yourself tearing up, it will be as an emotional release.
Farewell feels like the right title because it seems to indicate this could very well be the end of this particular story. In all honesty, it probably should be, because after playing through it, there's really no reason to go back. Here's why I'm happy to say goodbye to Max and Chloe following the bonus episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm.
The Return of Old Friends
There are two sets of returns in Farewell, one on the screen, and the other behind it. For starters, Farewell is a prequel story that sees the player take on the role of Maxine Caulfield once again. It takes place prior to the events of Before the Storm, making it a prequel to the prequel, before Max has moved away from Arcadia Bay. It also sees the return of the original voice actors from the original Life is Strange. Hannah Telle and Ashly Burch are back. Burch was unable to reprise her role due to the SAG-AFTRA voice actors strike, but now that it's over, she has returned to voice Chloe. Seeing so much from the original series back feels like the right place for this one to wrap up.
It Completes The Story
The original Life is Strange told of Max's return to Arcadia Bay and her reuniting with her former best friend Chloe. We even got to see some of the two as kids during the game's flashback sequences. Before the Storm showed us how Chloe became the person she was during the time while Max was gone. Farewell is about the one missing piece, the time when Max had to say goodbye and move away. The game is far more straightforward than previous episodes and the choices don't mean much, but that's because the ending is inevitable. These friends have to say goodbye. While seeing this point in the lives of these two isn't strictly necessary, after having played it, it feels like the only story left to tell. What happened before this is just two kids being friends. What happened after is everything we've already played.
Of course, it wouldn't be Life is Strange if it didn't tug at your heartstrings and Farewell knows exactly how to do that. It won't be long before you discover that the day you're playing through is important for reasons beyond Max's impending departure. This is an important day that actually impacts every other episode of the game up to this point. It's a fitting place for the story to end, and when the inevitable occurs, you'll feel it at least a little. When the hammer finally drops you're relieved that it's happened. As sad as it is, it feels right.
We know that the original developers of Life is Strange, Dontnod, will be back with some sort of new game in the Life is Strange franchise at some point. At first, I was looking forward to a direct sequel that might explain more about Max's abilities in the first game. Now, however, I am hoping for a more anthology style follow up, that deals with similar ideas but with a new cast of characters. This story is complete. It's time to say farewell.