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In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Life Is Strange developer Dontnod Entertainment had a lengthy conversation about the entirety of the game, including the highly-emotional and controversial ending. But Dontnod revealed why exactly they chose to make the ending the way it was.
Ending spoilers ahead.
At the ending of Life Is Strange, players were given two choices. They could either save the town and sacrifice Chloe’s life, or they could save Chloe and sacrifice the town against the ravaging and impending storm. What made this ending to Life Is Strange so controversial was the fact that none of the decisions you made previously in the game affected the outcome of the ending. This isn’t true in other storytelling games like Beyond: Two Souls and Until Dawn. In these games, the outcome of the story in the end was directly connected to the choices the player made in-game. But in Life Is Strange, this was not the case.
Dontnod Entertainment sat down with Eurogamer to discuss things like the story in Life Is Strange and brought up the ending that left a hole in so many players’ hearts. In response to the creation of the ending, Life Is Strange writer Jean-Luc Cano said,
We wanted it to be all about your own feelings - for there to be no right or wrong decision. 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.
Cano is talking about the “consequences” of making the wrong decision in a game like Until Dawn where inevitably, it gets one of the characters killed. But he went on to say,
The whole game is about how in real life you do make sacrifices and cannot go back and make the other option. When you are a child you think you can have a bit of this one, a bit of this one. When you are an adult you sometimes have to make difficult decisions.
So rather than have all of the decisions melt down into one final ending, they wanted to put the player into an uncomfortable position to make a seemingly impossible decision. And that’s just it: sometimes life is about making those difficult decisions. While the ending of the game has no real wrong answer, the in-game choices do still affect the gameplay. I’ve had many people describe in-game events to me that I never experienced. So in Life Is Strange, don’t ever think that your choices don’t matter, because they do, more than you know. But while the in-game choices were probably made in a matter of minutes, I spent almost a half hour struggling with the fact that I had spent the entirety of the game trying to save Chloe and now here I was deciding whether or not to give her up. It was beautiful in a way, tragically beautiful.
A sequel to the episodic time-travel adventure has been confirmed, but no release date has been announced yet. But I’m not sure anything can top an ending quite like that—it’ll at least be pretty difficult.