One of the greatest takeaways from E3 for Life is Strange fans, was the announcement of a standalone game set in the same universe releasing in just two weeks! The wait is over and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is now available free of charge on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. According to the developers, DONTNOD Entertainment, Captain Spirit is a “self-contained original story in the Life is Strange universe” and features “links to the brand-new story of the highly anticipated upcoming sequel”.
So, who is Captain Spirit and what can you expect from this episode?
Captain Spirit is the alter ego of Chris, a nine-year old boy with a vivid imagination. Chris enjoys pretending to be a superhero and creating his own fictional world similar to the way young Chloe and Max enjoyed playing pirates and searching for buried treasure. While the imaginative childhood games he plays may remind fans of the series of the Farewell episode created by Deck Nine, it’s clear from the moment you enter this new game that DONTNOD is back at the wheel again.
The characters in Captain Spirit are engaging and the world around you is full of objects to interact with. Like the original LiS stories, interacting with items around you opens up more of the storyline and drives you to explore your surroundings. In a statement DONTNOD released to their fans, the devs state that Captain Spirit would give us a glimpse of the story that is yet to come, “but only if you’re clever enough to piece the clues together”.
Well, Life is Strange team… challenge accepted.
Let’s take a step back from what we know and take a guess at what is to come. There will be spoilers in this section so if you intend to play Captain Spirit, you may want to do so and then come back for the fan theories.
As stated above by the devs, this story is “self-contained” but at the end of the game, a text box appears saying we will meet Chris again in Life is Strange 2. This leads me to believe that we won’t pick up where we left off in Chris’s life, but maybe we’ll jump into his story in a future timeline. We know that his mom is not a part of his life, and as we progress through the story it is confirmed that she died in some kind of car accident.
The papers found on the top shelf in Chris’s dad’s bedroom closet lead me to suspect that there is something suspicious about her death. It seems that his dad, Charles, spent years investigating how the car accident came about, requested traffic camera footage, and even was in contact with a private investigator but still received no answers. A fan theory that I have seen following suggests that LiS 2 will probably contain flashbacks that will give us answers to Chris’s families past. Judging by how much the past played a part of Chloe and Max’s lives in the main series, I deem this theory to be very plausible.
There are several items that you pick up during this game that refer to the Pacific Northwest. There’s a newspaper story about a shooting in Seattle and an email about “unruly teenage freight hoppers” (sound familiar?) hitching rides on the NorthWest RailWay. Most importantly, Chris discovers his dad has been looking into purchasing tickets for the Portland Hero-Con and mentions going again.
As a single parent household that was evicted from their previous home, I find it very unlikely that Charles can provide the kind of financial stability needed to take time off work and embark on a road trip to Con multiple years in a row. This makes me suspect that they live at least somewhat close to Portland, Oregon. As fans of the series know, the previous LiS episodes took place in Arcadia Bay, a fictional city on the coast of Oregon. This proximity could suggest the presence of some of the original characters from Life is Strange.
We should probably talk about the ending of Captain Spirit. I’m a sucker for the story telling in the LiS series and have yet to make it through an episode without tearing up at least a bit. This episode was no different.
When the game started I was flooded with a rush of excitement as Chris appeared to use super powers to make a toy spaceship fly. But we quickly learn that there is nothing supernatural about this event. After all, Chris is pretending to be a superhero and enjoys using one hand to control his “powers” while the other hand subtly makes the objects in question move. But at the end of the game, Chris falls from his tree house – a height that would at least cause severe injuries if not death – and he is able to magically stop his fall and hover gently about the ground.
Could Chris be demonstrating a new strange power that we’ll find in LiS 2? If you played Life is Strange Before the Storm you probably missed having Max’s rewind powers. As fun as spending time playing as Chloe can be, the gameplay mechanic LiS revolves around is using supernatural powers to solve puzzles. Let’s hope Chris has more to show us.
In all honesty, after playing Captain Spirit I don’t really know what to expect from LiS 2. What I do know is the story telling in the first five episodes of LiS captivated me and provided me with so many choices that I found enjoyment in replaying each episode multiple times.
The Amazing Adventures of Captain Spirit is a short, free game and I’m already immersed in Chris and Charles’s story and want to play it again to see what different gameplay decisions I can make. After this game, I am even more hopeful and excited about the future of this series.
The first episode of the new five-episode series is scheduled to release September 27, 2018 and the developers promised more details to come in August.