Double Exposure Gameplay Is Sweet, But Awkward

During Summer Game Fest last week, Deck Nine Games revealed that it’s returning to original Life Is Strange protagonist Max Caulfield in a direct sequel, Life Is Strange: Double Exposure. The studio held a reveal lifestream today, June 13, and on top of interviews with the development team and Max voice actor Hannah Telle, the stream concluded with 18 minutes of gameplay footage. The stream was enlightening, both in that it answered questions fans have had since the reveal trailer premiered, and in reassuring anyone worried that Max might be less of an absolute dork this time around.

One of the key points brought up during the stream is that Double Exposure will respect both of the original game’s divergent endings. Spoilers for a nearly decade-old game, but Life is Strange ended with Max choosing to either save her friend/possible girlfriend Chloe or the town of Arcadia Bay. Those are two very different outcomes, but it looks like Deck Nine isn’t making a choice about which one is canon in Double Exposure.

At some point in the game, players will talk to Max’s friend Safi about her past, and that will include defining their relationship with Chloe and whether or not they chose to save her. It’s unclear how, if at all, this will affect Double Exposure’s story, but at the very least everyone will get to see how Max’s life played out in either scenario. Double Exposure finds Max incollege, where her life seems pretty distanced from her time back in Arcadia Bay, so if Double Exposure can acknowledge the player’s decision without engaging with it too much, that’s probably easier on the team.

Beyond that, we also got a pretty extensive look at what seems to be an early segment in the first episode. Double Exposure is a murder mystery that follows Max as she learns that she can jump between two timelines. She’ll move between them to search for clues, but it’s possible for the player to get confused and pick dialogue options that should only apply to one timeline or the other. For instance, one clip shown during the stream had Max apologizing for “being nosy” talking to someone in one timeline, seemingly for mentioning something she’d talked about in the other. That’s an interesting way of making sure you’re paying attention. We don’t see Max using her timeline-jumping abilities in the 18 minutes of footage that capped off the stream, but there are clips of it interspersed between the interviews.

The segment we do see has Max hanging out with her new friends Fari and Moses. Even as a Life Is Strange diehard, I felt a little awkward watching the scene unfold. Many players, myself included, found the dialogue in the original Life Is Strange often pretty stiff and silly, and I was kinda hoping that revisiting Max a few years later would have gotten us past that. Maybe the tone of things will shift when the murder mystery begins properly. Check out the footage below:

Life Is Strange

Life Is Strange: Double Exposure launches on October 29 on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Switch. The game has only been announced for under a week and it’s already got a little bit of controversy after it was revealed that people who pay extra for the game’s Ultimate Edition can play two episodes weeks in advance, leaving people who can’t afford it open to spoilers.

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