Publisher Square Enix has revealed the next Life Is Strange game will be called Life Is Strange: True Colors. The game will release on September 10 and keep to the franchise’s supernatural choice-focused storytelling.
If patterns are anything to go by, True Colors is likely not a new mainline entry for Life Is Strange. True Colors is developed by Deck Nine, meaning it’s probably more like Before The Storm, also developed by Deck Nine and released in between Dontnod Entertainment’s Life Is Strange and Life Is Strange 2. Game director Zak Garriss said that True Colors began development in 2017, so Deck Nine has been working on it since Before The Storm released.
“At its heart, this is a game about empathy–about how we connect to each other,” Garriss said. “The story is driven by a complex mystery, with supernatural elements all brought to life by an incredible cast.”
True Colors sees you play as Alex Chen, who travels to the quiet town of Haven Springs (not to be confused with Life Is Strange 2’s Haven Point) to reunite with her brother, Gabe, after not seeing him for eight years. When Gabe suddenly dies, Alex realizes that his death was no accident and that there’s more to Haven Springs than what’s on the surface, vowing to get to the bottom of the mystery.
“What I love most about Alex is she’s this smart, resilient young woman who, at the start of the game, has already weathered a really difficult life in the foster care system,” Alex’s voice actor Erika Mori said. “But she still has this hope for the future–that somewhere, she can find a place to call home.”
Like Life Is Strange’s time-bending Max Caulfield and Life Is Strange 2’s telekinetic Daniel Diaz, Alex possesses a supernatural ability: Empathy (not to be confused by lowercase ‘e’ empathy like the theme of True Colors; this is uppercase ‘e’ Empathy like the comic book superpower).
“In Life Is Strange: True Colors, Alex’s power–or ‘curse,’ as she calls it at the start of the game–is an unparalleled empathetic ability: the psychic power of Empathy,” Mori said. “It allows her to experience the emotions of other characters around her, but it’s also a volatile power that can bleed into and take over her own emotions if she’s not careful.”
“This power is a key part of the game and very much under your control,” Garriss adds. “And there are plenty of opportunities to use your power as you freely explore the streets and spaces of Haven Springs.” In the True Colors trailer, we see Alex being able to see and potentially tap into other characters’ emotions to better understand what they’re feeling and thinking by approaching them. Before using the power to dig deeper for a specific feeling, it looks like you can get a glimpse of someone’s general emotional state by the color of the aura they give off. Purple seems to represent fear, while red is anger or frustration, blue is sadness, and yellow is happiness or joy.
We don’t see any green for disgust though, so I guess True Colors does not take place in the same universe as Inside Out. Shame.
There’s also a musical element to True Colors as well, with Alex being a musician. And to that end, Alex won’t just be voiced by Mori in True Colors; musician mxmtoon will step in during scenes where Alex is singing. “As a long-time fan of Life Is Strange, being even a small part of this universe, and of Alex, means the absolute world to me,” she said.
True Colors takes several departures from the established Life Is Strange formula. The game is ditching the franchise’s episodic release format, and it will feature a semi-open world with optional content (like potential romantic interests). True Colors is also the most visually-advanced game in the series.
“Our extensive cast of characters is at the heart of every moment of the game and for the first time, they’re rendered using full performance capture technology–captured and animated here in-house at Deck Nine,” Garriss said.
“Making this the most visually-advanced entry in the series, and the true next generation of Life Is Strange,” Mori added.
You can preorder True Colors now. Picking up the Ultimate edition of True Colors will also get you Life Is Strange: Remastered Collection, which enhances the first two games with new visuals and animations.