Narrative-focused games are where some of the best new experiences in gaming are happening. Focusing on quick-time events and simple movement allows the developers of these games to tell moving stories that let choice and action take center stage over basic mechanics and direct player agency. That is exactly the appeal behind the excitement building around Dontnod Entertainment’s latest game, Life is Strange.
Life is Strange is already getting compared to some of the most evocative games in the narrative genre of games, with names like Gone Home meets Heavy Rain, and Beyond: Two Souls meets The Walking Dead being liberally thrown around. We have yet to see actual gameplay, but this new trailer for Life is Strange really illuminates on the style Dontnod is focusing toward. Everything is bright pastels and simple character designs, and the gameplay will apparently revolve around a time-traveling mechanic that is reminiscent of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, all focused around a high school and small town setting in the Pacific Northwest. The final scenes of the Life is Strange trailer also show that things are going to be getting pretty tense and dramatic.
Dontnod Entertainment are the developers behind Remember Me, a game that was both hailed for its excellent storytelling and panned for its mediocre-at-best gameplay. The truth is that the button-mashing brawler was a little wobbly upon release, because the mechanics ruined the immersion from the cool sci-fi series Dontnod wanted to tell. It seems they’ve learned their lesson, and are taking after Telltale games, focusing strictly on the narrative style that has become so successful. Life is Strange has a release date of early Spring 2015, with releases on PC; Playstation 4 and Playstation 3; Xbox One and Xbox 360, so no excuses for not having a console that can play it. Life is Strange will also be released episodically with a total of five episodes, in partnership with Square-Enix. If the game is anything as gorgeous as this trailer makes it out to be, gamers looking for great stories are going to be very excited for any news coming out for Life is Strange.