Square Enix Is The Only Publisher That Would Touch Life is Strange Because It Has A Female Protagonist

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Square Enix has announced their newest IPLife is Strange, follows Max, who has the power to rewind time and is searching for a missing fellow student. The game will be released digitally and episodically, with “each new chapter building and evolving based on the choices you made in previous episodes.” So why did it take so long to find a publisher for Life is Strange?

Max is a girl.

French studio Dontnod is creating Life is Strange, the same studio that made 2013’s female-led 2013’s Remember Me (though that game frequently did not make the best use of its most interesting mechanics). In a developer diary, Dontnod’s creative director Jean-Maxime Moris said,

 Square is basically the only publisher who didn’t want to change a single thing about the game. We had other publishers telling us to make it a male lead character, and Square didn’t even question that once.

Other Dontnod developers said that “it felt natural to have Max as a female character for this game,” and that Max and the main NPC, Chloe, are two very different female characters. “Max is a bit shy, but she’s also a bit different, so we wanted for her to define the way she’s moving; she’s not all flashy, like Chloe, she has more subtle movements and for our motion-capture actress, we asked her to be much more like a dancing/moving. Max and Chloe are really different, but they’re also opposite and complementary at the same time.” They also say both characters will see growth and development over the course of the game.

Dontnod’s Remember Me also ran into the exact same issues with publishers, though it eventually found a home with Capcom. Back in 2013, Moris told Penny Arcade, “We had some [publishers] that said, ‘Well, we don’t want to publish it because that’s not going to succeed. You can’t have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that.'” Moris also said of that game that the lead character’s gender “just felt right from the beginning of development,” and that changing it for marketing purposes would have “endangered the consistency of the whole game.”

Apparently with Remember Me, people took issue with male gamers playing a female character who kisses a male character. “We had people tell us, ‘You can’t make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that’s going to feel awkward,'” said Moris. “I’m like, ‘If you think like that, there’s no way the medium’s going to mature,'” he said. “There’s a level of immersion that you need to be at, but it’s not like your sexual orientation is being questioned by playing a game. I don’t know, that’s extremely weird to me.”

Sounds like Moris is exactly the kind of creative director we’re looking for in game dev, and hopefully their new partnership with Square Enix will make Life is Strange a much more successful game than Remember Me. Life is Strange will be out later this year for PC and both last-gen and current-gen platforms.

(via Develop Online)

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Sam Maggs
Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.