The explanation isn’t so strange.
While the first Life is Strange ended up striking a nerve with a lot of people, being somewhat of an unexpected hit, it’s sequel doesn’t seem to be sparking that same fire. Publisher Square Enix hasn’t released any numbers on what the game has sold yet, but there’s a distinct lack of discussion and buzz around the game it seems. There’s a lot of reasons for this, I wager, but the biggest one is probably the huge gaps between episodes. The last episode released at the end of last month, and the fifth (and final) episode won’t come out into December. Why the long wait? Well, Co-director Michael Koch breaks it down, and the explanation isn’t strange at all.
In an interview with Dualshockers, Koch gave an extensive overview of the game so far. When asked about the gaps between episodes, he gave simple reasons. First, the game is simply bigger in its production than the first game, which overall was a much more modestly produced title, and then second is that Dontnod has taken more time between each episode since each one is more of a standalone type story as opposed to the more serial type of storytelling of the first game.
“The game is much bigger, it’s a bigger game with longer episodes. I think in the first season episodes were two hours long, here is more like three to four. It is also a much more ambitious game in the fact that we are using this road movie structure where each episode you are meeting new characters in new environments in new seasons so it’s a much bigger task to create the game which also ends up needing a longer development time for each episode. And yeah you’re right, I think the window between each episode has been three to four months instead of two to three in the first game so it’s longer which can be a bit frustrating for the players, but we also have this structure where each episode is really a small story during the road trip.
In the first Life is Strange each episode was taking place in one day of the same week. In the second Life is Strange each episode is a few days during a whole year for the game and there is an ellipse of several weeks, sometimes months, between the story of each episode so I think the ellipse between the episode makes sense with the wait time in-game and makes sense with the time out-game for the players. Personally, I would love to be able to reduce this time and see next game if we can maybe be more advanced in the creation of the content and start releasing the episode later. When we finish one episode, we still have a lot of work for the next episode. It allows us to see the community reaction and the reviews and maybe use some of that directly in the creation of the next episode, but it also creates a longer time capsule. If we later try to reduce the gap between episodes we might not be able to react that much to what the community is saying. It’s a tough question and we need to find a way to improve.”
Life is Strange 2 is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The game has released four episodes so far with the finale set to hit December 3rd.