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Life is Strange prequel Before the Storm debuts this summer (update)

Three episodes on Chloe and Rachel

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm is the prequel to Life is Strange, and it will launch Aug. 31 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, publisher Square Enix announced today

A trailer for Life is Strange: Before the Storm was shown at Microsoft’s E3 2017 press briefing today — it will be an Xbox One X Enhanced title. The game appears to focus on two major characters from the first season of Life is Strange, which launched in 2015: Chloe Price and her best friend, Rachel Amber.

Before the Storm will be released across three chapters, unlike the five-episode Life is Strange, which was developed by Parisian studio Dontnod Entertainment. Before the Storm is being made by Deck Nine Games, the Denver-area developer that was founded in 1997 as Idol Minds.

The project was leaked last month, when a set of screenshots and a piece of concept art showed up on Imgur. It is separate from Dontnod Entertainment’s next title, which is a new Life is Strange game.

Update: The complete three-episode season of Life is Strange: Before the Storm will cost $16.99; you can pre-order it now on the Xbox Games Store. Square Enix said in a news release following Microsoft’s press conference that the game is coming to PlayStation 4 and Windows PC as well as Xbox One; we’ve updated the article to reflect this.

In a post on the Life is Strange blog, Square Enix said that Ashly Burch will not reprise her role as Chloe Price. Instead, she is on the writing team for Before the Storm; the younger version of Chloe in the game will be voiced by Rhianna DeVries. Burch received an Emmy nomination last year as one of the writers of an Adventure Time episode.

Before the Storm will include a Chloe-specific feature called Backtalk, “a risk/reward conversation mode that allows Chloe to use her barbed tongue to provoke or get her way.” Square Enix is also offering a $24.99 Deluxe Edition that will come with a bonus episode, “Farewell,” that will allow players to take the role of Life is Strange protagonist Max Caulfield “one last time.” The package will also include an exclusive Mixtape Mode, which players can use to put together their own playlists from the game’s soundtrack of licensed music.

For more on Before the Storm, check out the developer diary from Deck Nine below and the screenshots above.

Update 2 (June 12): Ashly Burch said today that the ongoing SAG-AFTRA voice actors strike is the reason that she isn’t voicing Chloe Price in Life is Strange: Before the Storm.

“I wasn't able to reprise my role as Chloe in Life is Strange: Before the Storm due to the SAG-AFTRA strike,” said Burch. In a follow-up tweet, she added, “Chloe means a lot to me. Grateful for the opportunity to consult on her character.”

Video game voice actors in the SAG-AFTRA union went on strike in mid-October, demanding changes such as residual payments and safer working conditions. The strike is now the longest one in the history of the Screen Actors Guild. The union members and the video game publishers they’re striking against both indicated last week that they would be open to resuming negotiations.

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