In Tragedy, 'Life Is Strange' Finds Freedom for the People Who Need It Most


#1

Time traveling teenage drama 'Life Is Strange' offered real, true freedom at its climactic ending.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/nevqaz/in-tragedy-life-is-strange-finds-freedom-for-the-people-who-need-it-most

#2

Those are some interesting interpretations of the ending, though I think both of them are somewhat more bleak than how I saw it. I picked the save Chloe ending too, both as the most emotionally compelling ending, a conclusion to the game’s theme of how far Max will go for her, and from a pure logical standpoint. The game’s(wize) decision to not focus on the supernatural elements meant that there’s no way of really knowing if the storm was connected, and making a deliberate move to sacrifice a human life on nothing more than a hunch based on time travel topes wasn’t the kind of a madness I was willing to dive into. Not when the person being sacrificed was Chloe.

And besides, from that same logical point of view you can’t assume everyone dies in the storm. The Butterfly Effect is 100% a thing in the game’s logic, and the future where you make the final decision isn’t one you see the entirety of. You don’t see how it differs from the version you see before you Do The Nightmare Thing. Hell, the optimist in me is wondering why they set up the Dark Room as a hurricane shelter if not to imply it’s use as such.

But even with all that stuff up in the air, I’m still convinced my decision was the right one, if only because Chloe and Max can have Lesbian Time Travel Adventures together like a Gay Stardust Crusaders.


#3

I also prefer the Bae over Bay ending. The alternative strays too far into Dead Lesbian Syndrome. A mountain of digital ink was spilled over at /r/LifeIsStrange at the time of the final episode release which I can’t hope to summarize here, but the most salient criticism of the ending to me is that the player is forced to choose between two bad options. Divine punishment rains down on the Max that dares to choose love.

I understand that the writers had to make the last choice meaningful, and that explicitly showing people survive the storm would tip the balance too far into making Bae the “better” ending. But honestly, who cares about balance? It was an abusive choice to begin with, as designed, and life is full of unbalanced options. If I could put on my armchair designer hat for a second (I hate doing this), I would go the Walking Dead S1 route, where you can explicitly make the choice, or you could simply let the choice time out and the game would make a decision for you based on your previous actions.


#4

I think that the ending can be pretty powerfully read as the social consequence of queerness. The loss of home and connections, the leaving behind of the wreckage wrought by the incompatibility of your actions and the world around you, etc. As far as queer femme coming of age dramas go, which Life is Strange definitely is, the running away from a ruined past is pretty standard. See also: Gone Home, But I’m a Cheerleader, etc. The fact the ending is tonally treated as a “new dawn, new life” dramatically kinda reinforces this.


#5

Also, consider the other ending. If you look at Max’s powers as her dawning realization of her queerness and the storm as the community and social consequence, then the Save Arcadia Bay ending is essentially Max going back into the closet for the benefit of the community. I mean she gives up Chloe and decides to never use her powers.


#6

Wow this is powerfully accurate. #BaeOverBay4lyfe