We’ve just now finished the biggest event in gaming culture, the E3 Conference, and I’ve got to say, I’m pretty hyped for a lot of the games that will be coming out (also yes, “hype” and versions of that word have appeared in my vocabulary more often now that I am on Twitch quite often.) There’s going to be a new Kirby game (one of my FAVORITES), a very innovative Super Mario game (Super Mario Odyssey) and even the Metroid series is getting an exciting new addition! However, when they announced that Life is Strange would be getting a prequel, I just about flipped my lid, for more reasons than it just being an amazing series.
It means we may see a same-sex relationship as a main plot point in a VERY popular video game! Of COURSE I’m gonna be hyped for this!
If you didn’t get a chance to play Life is Strange, I’ll give you a relatively spoiler-free summary of the game, just in case you still do want to play it. The game is about Maxine Caufiled, a geeky, mildly-hipster teen who gets the power to turn back time. She uses it to save a girl who gets killed in the bathroom at her school, Blackwell Academy. This girl ends up being Chloe Price, her best friend before Max left for Seattle for five years. The game covers the two of them re-connecting in the midst of their hectic lives, and working together to help uncover the mystery behind a missing student, Rachel Amber (whom the game hints to be a love interest of Chloe’s). The game revolves around the decisions you make while playing it, and those decisions greatly affect the way the story plays out.
Before I move on to the reason why I’m so hyped for this next game, check out the trailer for the prequel, eh?
Because of the nature of how Life is Strange ends, it doesn’t leave room for a sequel. The game has a lot of back story that was never explicitly shown, so I imagine that the prequel will heavily feature exactly how Chloe became so jaded, as well as the relationship between Chloe and Rachel. Of course, I lost ALL of my celebratory marbles about this, just because of the lack of same-sex couples (female/female couples, at that) that we see in video games. Not only did it feel natural to add a prequel to this wildly popular series, but I think it will be a much-needed drop of sunshine in the darkness that is LGBTQ+ representation in games.
Of course, I’m just theorizing, here. Because we were never given that explicit explanation into Chloe and Rachel’s relationship, the prequel could really include anything, when it comes to the two of them. However, I’m gunning for them truly being a couple (or at least them being very into each other) because of the lack of LGBTQ+ representation in video games. The ambiguity behind the true nature of their relationship leaves quite the open door for the writers to make it happen, and I know there are a lot of fans out there who would celebrate it. Not only that, but I know we would feel extra connected to their story because we can actually see ourselves in that position. While that’s also possible with an opposite-sex couple, I’ll find myself emotionally connecting to same-sex couples more than I do with opposite-sex, just because I actually exist in their community. That kind of connection can really impact the way fans would enjoy the game, and I know that LGBTQ+ community members and allies alike would appreciate seeing this happen.
Whether it ends up happening or not, the Life is Strange series has still touched on serious issues such as mental health, corruption in schools and authority figures, and the weight our decisions have on others. If LGBTQ+ representation isn’t something they decide to include, then it’s not like they failed in trying to create conversation about other important topics. However, in a community where there is still a lot of homophobic attitudes (i.e. using “gay” as a degrading slur in online games, calling people “fag,” and people getting upset about games where there’s same-sex dating options) there definitely needs to be more representation. The more we normalize these identities through representing them, the more people will realize that it’s not something to keep out of video games, and we’ll be able to move onto a deeper sense of equality. Honestly, with the way it brings such an intense realism to the way it approaches its respective topics, I couldn’t think of a better series than Life is Strange to offer a beautiful glimpse into LGBTQ+ relationships.
The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm will be released August 31st, 2017! Will you be playing it?