Life Is Strange was released on January 30th, 2015. This brand new game is the first installment of five episodes and focuses on the power of choice with a twist. Unlike other choice-based games, Life Is Strange offers a rewind button. The story follows a girl waking up in class realizing that she has had visions of the future and the ability to rewind life’s choices and try again. The girl, Max Caulfield, returns to her old school as a senior photography student. She finds that her best friend’s father died and a girl they knew went missing. The first chapter ends without tying up either end but still getting closer to the truth of the town’s mysteries. Many choices, both seemingly inconsequential and extremely impactful, are made throughout the episode. The rewind option allows for the player to explore multiple outcomes and possibilities without the entrapment that other choice-based games force on a player. Better outcomes in the short term do not always lead to the best outcomes in the long term. Conversations can be held and then rewound in order to already know certain information.
Telltale Games has more or less dominated the market of choice-based adventure games with titles such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales From the Borderlands, and many others. However, these games have been sold on the consequences that come with the choices the players make in each game. In addition to being forced to choose without a return option, the player is also given a timer in which to make their decision. This adds to the tension and consequence the player feels once the decision is made
Life Is Strange is unique because the player is not stuck once they make their big choice. For example, in one part of the game, a friend’s abusive step-father berates her while Max hides in the closet. The player is given the choice to step out and interfere or stay hidden. Where as in a Telltale game this would be an important and high-pressure choice, Max’s powers allow for her to explore both paths and then choose the path the player prefers. In one way, this takes the significance away from what would be a very large decision and turns it into a learning experience. This is what makes Life Is Strange so significant in the gaming world. The game seemingly wants to educate the player and give them as much information as possible before a choice is made. The player is encouraged to really think about the consequences of their actions and determine the best fit.