Life is Strange is mindful of and also proudly screens its plenty of influences. The contains little nods to contemporary styles and larger references to object predecessors. Geek culture manifests in the faux Magic: The Gathering cards concealed in Max’s drawers and on Warren’s graphic t-shirts. Modern-day hipster aesthetics show up in the game’s soundtrack, which functions artists favor Alt-J, Sparklehorse, and also Mogwai, as well as in Chloe’s punk-chic outfits and Max’s journal doodles. “I mean, we room looking in ~ memes, 4chan, Tumblr, and also all that,” Life is Strange’s co-director, Michel Koch, tells Vice. Max namedrops several well known photographers, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, and also Philip-Lorca DiCorcia (my man!), in tribute. Life is Strange incorporates this photography into its narrative, intuitive language, and themes that representation and transience.

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In evaluating the plot that Life is Strange, reflect of well-known surreal and sci-fi story emerge. The Laura Palmer-type figure of Rachel Amber evokes David Lynch and also Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks, which also receives acknowledgement from Chloe’s “TWNPKS” license plate and also the “fire walk with me” graffiti in the 2 Whales washroom. Recurring visions of impending catastrophe the conclude ~ above the night of a high school Halloween party? extending an inescapable fate while experiencing newfound joys that adolescence? These elements draw ~ above Richard Kelly’s cult classic, Donnie Darko. Max’s supernatural use of mementos to access and readjust the past echoes The Butterfly Effect, i m sorry derives that is premise from “A Sound that Thunder,” a brief story written by beam Bradbury, who wrote The October Country, a book which Max borrows indigenous Kate in the game.

Amidst the broad selection of social homages in Life is Strange, a specific influence is at the foreground. “Max’s name is a nod to the key character in Catcher in the Rye,” Jean-Maxime Moris, Dontnod’s an imaginative director, said Siliconera after the relax of the game’s very first episode. It is unsurprising the JD Salinger’s huge coming-of-age narrative and its unreliable narrator, Holden Caulfield, find their way into this particular bildungsroman’s myriad inspirations. There is a poster, title “The Winger and the Cow,” in Max’s room that is modeled ~ Catcher’s famous carousel sheathe art; and also a hunting hat in primary Wells’s office the resembles Holden’s own. If the player investigates the hat, Max renders a referral to the word “phony,” Holden’s iconic slang term. As well, Kate’s jump recalls Catcher’s James Castle. One critic has suggested that Max Caulfield’s name is a only characterization shortcut, however Life is Strange’s callbacks come Catcher are more complicated than they first appear, and also Holden is as main a component of the game’s subject issue as that is that Max’s name.

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// Life is Strange, Dontnod

In the half-century because the publishing of The Catcher in the Rye, generations the troubled teens have established with Holden Caulfield. Catcher chronicles Holden’s premature leave from boarding school and subsequent wintertime wanderings with the city of new York. Constantly in a state that indecision and melancholia, the resists maturation right into adulthood in all its forms—a disposition that provides him bitter and desperate. He criticizes everyone roughly him because that attending come adult niceties and becoming “phonies” involved with the superficial and performative, however is regularly driven by compulsion or need to connect with those exact same people. His blind stabs at adulthood place him in azer positions, and, as a motif throughout the novel, Holden recounts old times fairly than picking to connect with the present. His distress builds v each the his encounters, and his physical and also mental states deteriorate as he socially ranges himself from anyone he knows and meets. That plans to operation to the countryside and also live a life that solitude together a hearing disabled mute, eschewing communication with other human beings, but Phoebe, his younger sister, bring him back.

The only solace Holden find is in the perceived beauty the innocence. He has a favorable meeting v two nuns, and he finds pleasure in see a young young carelessly obstructing traffic. In ~ one point, he helps tie a young girl’s skates. She many thanks him and also it pleases him. His only living acquaintance the he truly likes is Phoebe, who has actually yet to confront her unpreventable maturity. The resents his larger brother, a writer that takes his talents to Hollywood, but cherishes the late memory of his younger brother, Allie. As soon as Phoebe asks Holden to surname one thing he genuinely likes, he have the right to only name Allie. “Allie’s dead,” Phoebe says. “Just since somebody’s dead, girlfriend don’t just stop liking them,” Holden rebuts.

Allie’s innocence is maintained in his death; that cannot age or mature and also thereby can not inherit the traits of the adult realm that Holden therefore detests. In the exact same conversation through Phoebe, Holden expresses his modus operandi, native which The Catcher in the Rye gets its title:

Anyway, I keep picturing all these tiny kids play some game in this big field that rye and also all. Thousands of small kids, and nobody’s around—nobody big, ns mean—except me. And also I’m standing on the edge of part crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have actually to record everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I median if they’re running and they nothing look wherein they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s every I’d carry out all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I understand it’s crazy, yet that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.

It is renowned to review Holden as a noble character who suffers disillusionment v 1950s America, as a defender the the sanctity the childhood, and also as a tragic martyr failing to control the uncontrollable. However Holden’s crusade because that innocence also informs the an ideas of Life is Strange’s antagonist, mark Jefferson. The link becomes clear as soon as Max come face-to-face with the catcher in “Polarized,” the game’s last episode.

Holden’s continuous on innocence pertains to a twisted conclusion in Jefferson’s photography. “Simply put,” he speak Max in the Dark Room, “I’m obsessed through the idea of recording that minute innocence evolves right into corruption.” Likewise, Holden is fascinated by icons of preservation in Catcher, noting his interest in mummification and also penchant for childhood ar trips come the museum with carved statues of native Americans. This desire for conservation is what drives Jefferson to his photography, which share morbidity v Allie, mummies, and also the noble savage trope promoted by the statues. “Max…you used to be so pure, therefore innocent,” says Jefferson, “ you have to die.” favor Holden, Jefferson make the efforts to manage the uncontrollable—to contradict the natural order. That purports to look for “pure expression” in his models, but screams at Max to stay still: “I need you posed and framed mine way!”

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The way that Life is Strange links Holden to Max in name and also Jefferson in attraction come innocence enriches the reading of Max’s last choice. Holden’s obsession through innocence pushes away him from anyone he knows and also makes him a miserable misanthrope; Jefferson’s infatuation with purity perverts his creative talent and passion into something horrifying and also harmful. Favor Holden, Jefferson is a catcher in the rye, yet what around Max? She must pick the possibilities the the future end the allure the the past lest she satisfy a an in similar way tragic fate.

The narrative means that Arcadia Bay’s ecological calamities are the an outcome of Chloe’s continued survival and also of Max’s refuse to let her go. Together Max rescues Chloe indigenous both Nathan and also the train when rekindling she beloved childhood friendship, the storm draws nearer. In this case, Chloe is Max’s identical of Allie: a relic that childhood brilliance to it is in parted with and also properly grieved because that the benefits of healthy personal growth. Is that a failure in the stimulate of Holden and Jefferson come sacrifice a totality town for Chloe? In keeping Chloe, is Max sabotaging her future opportunities and also relationships, distancing it s her from everyone else by damaging Arcadia Bay? Is Chloe Price the price of passage right into maturity? she phone contact that clears Max from the Zeitgeist collection (where Wells ordains Max “a notable adult”) seems to indicate so.

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However, if the storm is to be check out as a metaphor for Max’s inside turmoil in the direction of maturity, it is necessary to note that it subsides nevertheless of the player’s final choice. Sunshine accentuates Max and also Chloe’s departure from the collapse Arcadia Bay. Birds and also deer arrive among the wreckage, advertising the return the the herbal order. The visible Pan chateaus billboard alludes to Pan, a Greek god that wilderness, reverberating notions of pastoral simplicity. The imagery reinforces the town’s nominal tie to Arcadia (a location artistically associated with an unattainable, utopian past), which argues that Arcadia Bay, the site of Max’s youth, is the expense of her entry right into adulthood. Maybe Max is intended to give up the physical best of nostalgia and embrace Chloe together the avatar of the future.