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The Game

     A-D 
  • Acceptable Targets: Max gets a lot of flack for being a hipster. She even chastises herself internally at one point.
  • Accidental Innuendo: "Show me the way to Chloe's cave."
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Chloe is often subject to this — is she just a selfish person who gets inexcusably jealous every time Max seems to pay attention to someone else, or is she a wounded girl who has been abandoned by nearly every significant person in her life, and she wants to make sure it won't happen again?
    • Victoria gets hit with this after Episode 3. Is she genuinely remorseful about Kate's suicide/suicide attempt, as shown at the end of Episode 2, or is she just trying to get sympathy while she tries to advance her own career? Does her friendship with Max in the alternate timeline indicate that she is ultimately a good person in the regular timeline? Her letter to Kate and her conversation with Max in Episode 4 seem to show she's genuinely remorseful about Kate, although she's still not above rather inappropriately dedicating her speech to her to make herself look good after winning the Everyday Heroes Photo Contest.
    • Is Warren an Adorkable best friend with an innocent crush on Max, or a creeper trying to get her to date him through kind gestures and guilt-tripping? Some got the latter impression from him, especially after in the beginning of Episode 2, you can see him looking through her window while waiting to talk to her (or at least in the direction of her window, since there's really no indication that he can see anything). There's also a line of dialogue later in the episode that some interpret as him thinking Max "owes" him for distracting Nathan, but it's very ambiguous. Others think that he's just trying to be cool around his crush and isn't weird at all, or is weird in a good way. He does support her until the end regardless of whether the player chooses to have Max reciprocate his affections or not.
    • Is Nathan really just a repugnant sociopath, or is he a deeply damaged victim of his father's abuse? The finale shows that his final act was warning Max that Mr. Jefferson was coming for her:
      Nathan: Max, it's Nathan. I never meant to hurt Rachel or Kate, I never wanted to hurt anyone. Everybody used me. Jefferson's coming for me now. All this shit will be over soon. Be careful, he wants to hurt you too. I'm sorry.
    • Rachel Amber herself. Was she a good person who wanted to help Chloe? Or was she a selfish person who blatantly betrayed her friend's trust? Additionally, was she really in love with Mr. Jefferson as he claims or was she just trying to seduce him considering she wanted to be a model and he, as a famous photographer, potentially had contacts in the fashion industry? Or both?
    • Some fans have pointed out that the way Max often uses her power (or how she is given the choice to use it) is highly manipulative. She escapes a lot of scrutiny because she's so demure and kind and the player sees everything from her point of view. But ultimately, is she just trying to make things right for everyone, or is she playing God and tailoring the world to her own favor? Does she really have the right to put the direction of Chloe's life in her own hands and revise history to create a timeline that's more convenient for her?
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: A female protagonist, little Fanservice, a focus on relationships, and minimal gameplay in favor of cutscenes are not usually things one thinks of when describing a successful video game, but Life Is Strange was a surprising critical and financial success and one of the sleeper hits of 2015.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • In the final chapter. When Chloe urges Max to go back and let her die, she insists that no matter what happens, everything they did and had was real. It can come off as an attempt to keep the player from being annoyed that sacrificing Chloe means that none of the events of the plot ever really happened, and all of the decisions they made are rendered pointless.
    • For those dissatisfied with the abrupt nature of the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending, a comic series takes place after said ending.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Chloe. Everything about her character divided the fandom. You either like her for her Jerk Justifications because they flesh out her behavior and her life before Max returned, or you think Chloe is just a brat and a terrible person with no real redeeming qualities. Another point fans have against her is that she often does illegal things, but the game will often guilt trip the player if they don't enable Chloe's selfish behavior, and you have to go along with at least some of it in order to get any kind of romantic ending for them, even those that Chloe herself likely would have regretted later, such as ignoring Kate's phone call. This has led some to accuse her of being a Creator's Pet.
    • Not as bad as Chloe, but fans seem to be split right down the middle on how they feel about Warren. He's either a genuinely nice guy who is awkward about his not-so-subtle crush on Max and doesn't realize she's not interested, or he's an entitled "nice guy" at best (or creepy stalker at worst) who knows Max isn't interested but is trying to pressure and guilt-trip her into going on a date with him. There is little middle ground between the two opinions. However, negative opinions of him significantly eased up after he fought Nathan to protect Max in Episode 4. His show of drunken comic relief later in the episode further helped cement fan consensus on him as a dorky, harmless friend with no dark intentions, although negative opinions still linger.
    • After Episode 4, Nathan started to become this. Many fans see him as a struggling, mentally ill kid brought up on constant pressure and emotional bullying from a father who deprives him of the help he desperately needs, who has little choice in the crimes he's been carrying out. But an equal number believes that his actions (assisting Mr. Jefferson in kidnapping, drugging, and emotionally torturing young women to take artistic photographs of them) outweigh his sympathetic points.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In Episode 2, when Max runs to the dorm to prevent Kate from jumping off the roof, she suddenly discovers she's actually frozen time. It wears off the second she gets to the roof, though. Max comments on getting stuck in that state, but never uses it again, although it's suggested that it only happened because she overtaxed her powers.
    • The nightmare sequence in Episode 5 also, considering that it suddenly comes out of nowhere and it's never explained. The gameplay shift to stealth is also jarring.
  • Broken Base:
    • Chloe's treatment of Max is rather divisive among players, mainly due to Chloe's attitude towards Max. One group sees their relationship as tender and loving, with a hint of adventure and rebellion. Others perceive their relationship as unhealthy, poisonous, and manipulative, mainly due to Chloe wanting Max to enable her selfish actions and clingy nature, which also ends up causing trouble for Max in the long run. Max calling Chloe out on it in Episode 3 eased this somewhat.
    • The ending of Episode 3 sparked many debates due to Max altering the past so that Chloe's dad lived, changing the present time drastically, seemingly invalidating every choice made in the game thus far. By extension, that same choice removed Chloe's iconic punk girl look and seemingly retconned all of the character development and shipping that went on between her and Max. Episode 4 eased these concerns when Max returned to the primary timeline.
    • Chloe's being revealed as quadriplegic at the end of Episode 3. Many were shocked at this revelation, feeling that it depicted being physically disabled is the worst thing that could happen to a person. On the other hand, if the intent is to show Max that she can't simply fix things without making other things worse, it works brilliantly for that purpose. Luckily, Episode 4's sympathetic treatment of her situation dispelled concerns about any insensitive portrayals of disability. Also, Chloe being disabled was not ultimately the main source of drama; it was the fact that she was slowly and painfully dying, while her parents bankrupted themselves trying to extend her life as much as they could.
    • Episode 4 got this in spades with the revelation that Mr. Jefferson was the true Big Bad. Half think it came out of left field, while the other half can point to a lot of clues hinting at a darker side. It helps that it was a popular fan theory from the start.
    • The ending of the game as a whole. While some readily accept the idea of a Bittersweet Ending regardless of which choice you make and feel a happy ending was always out of the question, others are entirely unhappy that the two choices either leave you with Arcadia Bay destroyed, or Chloe dead - both of which don't really take previous choices into account. Furthermore, what the endings mean are also points of contention. In the ending where Chloe dies, you've gone back in time and let her die. Although Nathan and Mr. Jefferson are brought to justice, this means that everything you did in the other episodes was inconsequential and never happened. On the other hand, letting Arcadia Bay die for Chloe's sake is either beautifully tragic, or makes Max Unintentionally Unsympathetic. Word of God says that the intention was beautifully tragic, but the development team was limited by time and money to do everything they wanted for that one.
    • Whether or not everyone in Arcadia Bay actually died in the "Sacrifice Arcadia Bay" ending. After all, only a few individuals are actually shown to have died, and absolutely no named characters are actually seen to be dead. The city simply appears abandoned. A number of fans assume that this means the storm and tornado completely wiped out the city and killed everyone. Others offer possible evidence that some characters may have survived, such as the fact that Two Whales Diner, where Joyce, Warren and Frank were holed up, is later shown to be largely intact and relatively undamaged. It has also been suggested that several Arcadians possibly fled the city before the storm hit, as people often do in Real Life. Word of God says players get to decide who is and isn't alive as they wish, and that the ambiguity was meant to enable this. Still, Episode 1 of Life Is Strange 2 shows that at least some people died in the storm, enough for a memorial sign on an outlook. Not to mention the entire town will appear to be a desolate ruin, so even if some townspeople lived, it seems that no one actually lives there anymore.
    • Some are annoyed that you can only have Max and Chloe act unambiguously romantic in the ending where she dies, and that the ending where you save Chloe is so much shorter and completely lacking in closure compared to the other ending making it seem like the "wrong" or not true ending. For some, it comes a bit too close to a classic tragic lesbians ending vs. an Ambiguously Gay one. Word of God says that the ambiguity is unintentional, but the idea of them kissing passionately while a town is destroyed in the background didn't fit well, and they most certainly did kiss a day or two down the line. They also wanted to potentially create more versions of the ending depending on the player's choices, but didn't have the budget.
    • The Nightmare Sequence. It's either slow paced and doesn't mesh with the main story, or its unadulterated Nightmare Fuel full of creepiness and a good dose of Player Punch, as well as an original and insightful look at Max's characterization.
    • David's relationship with Chloe. Some sympathize with Chloe for having such a hardass for a stepfather and point out that some of David's behavior definitely crosses the line. Others argue that Chloe really pushes her luck with him and claim that she makes no effort to get along.
    • One common debate regarding the endings is which one best represents Max taking responsibility for her actions. Namely, is it better to go out of your way to prevent adverse consequences for things you've done (Sacrifice Chloe) or to accept them and move on with your life (Sacrifice Arcadia Bay)?
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Due to the relatively small cast, almost everyone voices some of the minor characters as well. For the most part, it can be easy to miss unless you listen carefully. For example, Sarah sounds exactly like Chloe since Ashly Burch provided the voice for both characters. It sort of pops up again at the Zeitgeist Gallery, where dozens of patrons are all voiced by the cast.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • The options to spill Frank's beer and beans during your attempts to get the keys for his trailer only exist for this reason.
    • David finally getting called on his abuse, harassment, and illegal spying by getting kicked out of the Price home.
    • Watching Warren utterly beat the shit out of Nathan can be this for some players, depending on how you feel about him.
    • Max's conversation with Victoria during the End of the World party can either be friendly and peacemaking or it can escalate into an increasingly profane and merciless storm of Volleying Insults. Depending on the player's feelings about Victoria, it can be incredibly satisfying to let Max rip into her.
    • David knocking out Mr. Jefferson, and killing him if you told him the truth about Chloe definitely qualifies.
  • Cliché Storm: The game, or at least Episode 1, can come across as this at first, particularly when it comes to its secondary characters. There's the Alpha Bitch, the Jerk Jock, the nice science geek, the quiet goth girl... basically your standard high school student selection. Later episodes provide a lot of supplementary information and development for these side characters, significantly easing up on the cliché aspects. In their E3 2015 Q&A, the developers mentioned that this was intentional, explaining that they started with some familiar archetypes and then added more nuance and character development from there to subvert them.
  • Complete Monster: Mr. Jefferson is a famous photographer and teacher at Blackwell Academy, as well as the true mastermind of the Dark Room. Taking advantage of Nathan Prescott's need for a father figure, the villain has the latter drug and abduct girls to the Dark Room to be tortured by him. His specialty is the loss of innocence, and he won't hesitate to kill when it suits him. It is discovered one such victim was Rachel Amber. When one of his victims, Kate, is struggling with depression, he subtly tries to goad her into killing herself to cover his tracks. When Max and Chloe discover the Dark Room, they find a series of photo albums listing his previous victims and intended victims, Victoria being one of them. When the culprit learns Max and Chloe found the Dark Room, he drugs and kidnaps Max and kills Chloe. If Victoria is successfully warned about the Dark Room, she will be kidnapped and killed. He will also kill David if not for Max's help. It is also discovered he murdered the Dragon both to cover his tracks and to frame for his crimes. Despite his charming demeanor and close friendships with his students, he is taking advantage of their respect and admiration, for the sake of his torture art, and his enjoyment with no remorse or empathy for his victims.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • The final episode received rave reviews from critics. Much of the fandom was far less receptive to the episode, at least initially.
    • The game in general is very well received by critics, while general gaming community is more of a Broken Base as people either adore it or find it overrated.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • While there are fireflies in the Northwestern United States, they aren't the type that light up at night.
    • In Episode 5, the news announcer and Warren both classify the tornado as an E6. If one takes this as a simplification of the EF scale, then it would only be an EF-5, as the scale stops there. Even under the previous Fujita scale, an F6 is purely theoretical with only one known instance that might qualify. Furthermore, such classifications are made based on surveying the resulting damage, and would certainly not be made before the tornado ever hit land. Finally, an EF-5 tornado causes total destruction; in the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending, the damage is consistent with an EF-3 at best.
    • In-Universe: In Episode 1, Ms. Grant waxes poetically about Blackwell's historical heritage and mentions how settlers and Native Americans worked together to make Arcadia Bay what it is today. Any first-grader today can tell you what's wrong with that statement.
    • Warren lists Pulp Fiction as a time travel movie with alternate timelines. It's really just presented in Anachronic Order.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The vibe the game gives is if you save somebody then things get progressively worse from there so the best option is to just do nothing while you watch your friend get murdered. So whatever heroic accomplishments you've made up till that point were for nothing.
  • Designated Hero: Chloe has been viewed as this by a number of players since she is a Toxic Friend Influence for the otherwise antisocial Max who often implies that the latter should use her powers for personal gain, and then presents the former as correct because it guilt trips the player for not going along with her (i.e. it condones her anti-heroic behavior without pointing out that it is anti-heroic at best). Max telling her off in Episode 3 reduces this. She gets over this by the finale.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Episode 5, for some players. This is due to the budget issues the developers ran into in creating it.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Mr. Jefferson gained a major fan following after his revelation as the true Big Bad of the game and showing his true colors in the final episode. The fact that his very own Memetic Mutation was brought in that episode shows it. There's also some unintentional examples of this, as a few fanfics from before the revelation shipped him with Max.
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     E-J 
  • Ending Aversion: Both of the game's endings have been criticized by the fanbase. "Sacrifice Chloe" is accused of turning the entire game into a needlessly cruel "Shaggy Dog" Story, while "Sacrifice Arcadia Bay" is often seen as rushed and anti-climactic, in part due to budget cuts. Other fans consider the entirety of Episode 5 a mess for a number of reasons, and will advise new players to simply not bother with it.
  • Ending Fatigue: Some felt this way about the nightmare sequence, given that it comes in without warning and can get tedious in places depending on how good you are at stealth sequences.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: As the producers invested mostly in writers and voice actors, the game is strongly focused on the story, with very little actual gameplay. When there's gameplay, it's most times puzzle solving and it's not so exciting as the story itself.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Dana due to her friendly relationship with Max and her Adorkable dancing in Episode 2.
    • Brooke due to her being a quiet nerd with good chemistry with both Max and Warren.
    • Kate is one due to her being The Woobie. So many want to protect her and think that she's a great person.
    • Hawt Dawg Man has a ton of fans despite being nothing more than a background mascot. This was noticed and played up by the developers for later episodes.
  • Epileptic Trees: One common fan theory is that Max's powers are not, or at least not completely, responsible for the storm, but rather the Prescotts, who may have caused it deliberately. This theory is especially popular among advocates of the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending, as it absolves Max of the town's destruction.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Some fans took issue with Max being the cause of the tornado through using time travel to save Chloe. In this case, it's inverted partly because it means the game's plot is a "Shaggy Dog" Story, and partly because the explanation itself comes from Warren only after Max tells him she can even time travel at all. Basically, these fans feel like the game should have spend more effort on explaining why Max has powers at all and how they actually work, although Word of God is that it's meant to be more of a symbolic device than anything.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Max and Chloe ("Pricefield") by an overwhelming majority despite Max's status as a Launcher of a Thousand Ships.
  • Friendly Fandoms: The game rubs a lot of shoulders within the choice-based narrative game genre:
    • Gone Home was one from even before release, in part due to Word of God confirming its influences and also due to their generally similar premises as introspective mystery games with female protagonists. That it has a possible same-gender romance also helped.
    • Oxenfree is another, due to releasing shortly after Episode 5 and its coincidentally similar premise (supernatural teen mystery involving a blue-haired girl).
    • Life Is Strange fans tend to be fans of Firewatch and BioWare games.
  • Foe Yay: Max is shipped with Alpha Bitch Victoria.
  • Foe Yay Shipping:
    • Shipping Max with Nathan Prescott (Caulscott) sprung up in the wake of his character development in later episodes.
    • Shipping Nathan with Warren (Grahamscott) to create one of the fandom's only M/M ships.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The Brick Joke about the missing tablet containing pictures of the owner's late cats. This is built in as a recurring joke throughout the game, with notes going back and forth on public bulletin boards. That is, until Episode 5, where Max can come across a bag with the tablet inside and a very sincere apology note from its thief, saying he was remorseful of what he did and had planned on giving it back to the owner. To make this even more depressing, Max can only find this during her trip to the Two Whales Diner as Arcadia Bay is being destroyed by an incoming tornado. Judging that the bag in the middle of the street, the thief is presumably dead. What makes it even better is that handwriting analysis on the original note asking for the tablet back shows that Nathan is the guy who lost it in the first place.
    • Max can examine a broken car in the junkyard and she'll wonder if seeing it reminds Chloe of her father's death. In Before the Storm, Chloe comes across her father's car in the junkyard - complete with very visible damage from the crash that killed him - and has a breakdown over it.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Hearing Nathan scream at Chloe "Nobody would ever even miss your punk ass, would they?" just before he shoots her in Episode 1 is even more heartbreaking if Max chooses to go back in time to that scene in the finale and let Chloe die, as Max slumps down behind the bathroom wall and cries, re-watching Nathan kill Chloe.
    • Letting Warren pummel Nathan until he becomes a sobbing wreck can be upsetting when it's revealed that this is the last time Max sees him before he is killed by Mr. Jefferson.
    • The tornado threatening Arcadia Bay? It's a sadder now.
  • He Really Can Act: Ashly Burch was most well-known for her web series, Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?, as well as voicing a portion of high-pitched characters. But when she voiced Chloe, a Troubled, but Cute woman who has gone through a lot of misery in her life, Burch proved herself to be an incredibly capable actress, as many consider it to be one of her best performances after Tiny Tina and Aloy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Frank's "I'M GONNA KILL YOU!" sounds very frightening in the Episode 3 trailer, but instantly became funny when this was shown to be his reaction to Max messing around with him by spilling his beer in his food.
    • In Episode 2, Max can get a text message from Chloe saying that she wants to marry her. Max replies to it by saying that gay marriage is illegal in Oregon. The episode was released in March 2015, three months before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the country. Unfortunately, the game's setting takes place in October 2013, so Max and Chloe may have to wait a few months to get married, as Oregon legalized same sex marriage in July 2014.
    • The Mr. Jefferson meme that circulated around after Episode 4 ("I told you to enter your fucking photo") becomes even more hilarious in Episode 5 when he brings it up during Max's photo shoot as one of his rants.
    • Chloe's dislike for emojis becomes this when the female lead of The Emoji Movie has a strikingly similar blue punk hairstyle with a dark beanie.
    • The game owes a definite debt to Twin Peaks. In the 2017 revival series, the character of Richard Horne is extremely similar to an older Nathan Prescott as both characters are privileged, insecure and likely mentally ill guys involved in the drug trade in small Pacific Northwest towns.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • The colossal tornado in Max's vision.
    • The ending of Episode 3 drops several Drama Bombs. Max can use photographs to go to the time in which they were taken, assuming she was there, which she uses to save Chloe's father from dying in a car accident. All is happy, until Max returns to the present time and sees that many things are different now, such as her being a member of the Vortex Club and David no longer being married to Joyce. The real punch comes in right at the end, where the alternate-present Chloe comes to say hello to Max in a wheelchair with an oxygen tube in her throat.
    • Episode 4. Someone has been drugging Blackwell students in order to take morbid photographs of them, and then possibly murder them afterwards. One of these victims? Rachel, and Max and Chloe find her body. Then there's The Reveal: It was Mr. Jefferson, not Nathan. Chloe is killed because of him.
  • Inferred Holocaust: If you choose the "Sacrifice Arcadia Bay" ending, then Arcadia Bay is demolished by the tornado, and the ending shows no other characters than Max and Chloe. Word of God says that who lives and dies is left ambiguous because the player is supposed to decide that for themselves, and the developers run out of budget.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Chloe. The death of her father when she was very young, Max moving away and keeping out of contact for too long, the disappearance of Rachel and the conflicts between her and David at home are too much for her to handle. These factors have led to her disrespectful behavior to almost everyone, self-destructive lifestyle, and selfishness.
    • Nathan, as horridly mean, psychotic, violent and rapey as he is. He is introduced as a violent, drug dealing scumbag who coasts on his family's money and reputation, but subsequent events reveal that his life is genuinely horrible. He isn't just Ax-Crazy, but genuinely mentally ill, and is being denied treatment. He has two paternal figures in his life, both of whom are horrendously abusive. He is a genuinely skilled photographer, but his imagery is too macabre to be of interest to anyone, and either way his father doesn't approve. He has no friends, just flunkies and people who are after his drugs and/or money, and for all claims of "running the school", he's ultimately no more than a pawn in the hands of more skilled psychopaths. Hearing him whimper and plead for his life after his beatdown at Warren's hands or his tear-filled final call to Max really make you feel sorry for him.
    • Frank. Episode 3 reveals he was once a promising student at Blackwell who was kicked out. Without a family to turn to and with no work to be found, he resorted to drug dealing solely to survive. His violent behavior throughout the episodes is revealed to be due to his sorrow over Rachel's loss, and according to her letter and photos, he legitimately made her much happier and vice-versa. His dog Pompidou was one he rescued from an abusive owner, and a cop mentions that Frank was often seen feeding dogs that they later found out belonged to a dog fighting ring, which he tried to stop. If Max's dialogue options are a success in Episode 4, he will agree to help her and Chloe look for Rachel, and becomes much friendlier afterward. Seeing him breakdown in despair when being told about Rachel's death in Episode 5 is downright heartbreaking, showing just how much he truly cared for her, calling her "the one good thing in [his] life".
    • Victoria. She might be rich, spoiled, and a bully, but she's shown to have a softer side to her. Openly snarking at Max in the middle of class, she also insults her to her face in their teacher's presence, leads her clique in unintentionally helping Nathan drive Kate to suicide, and is actively there filming Kate when she's up on the roof. She then goes on to try and throw Max under the bus while attempting to manipulate Mr. Jefferson into giving her prize for the Everyday Heroes Photo Contest, even suggesting outright blackmail. Despite this, if Max perseveres, Victoria can become more candid and friendly by Episode 4, realizing that while she's one of the few who knows about Nathan's issues, that doesn't let his actions slide. There's also a rejection letter in her room, despite the fact that she can afford expensive camera equipment and acts as though she's the best at photography. Should Max successfully warn Victoria about the Dark Room in Episode 4, then she'll not only find a terrified Victoria on the ground begging for help, she'll later be downright horrified when Victoria is gone and Jefferson states that he had to get rid of her thanks to Max's meddling.

     L-P 
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Max. She's been shipped mainly with Chloe, Victoria, Kate, Warren, and Brooke.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Very few fans expected Chloe's death at the end of Episode 4 to stick.
  • Love to Hate: Mr. Jefferson, mainly because of the sheer surprise around him turning out to be the Big Bad and him being the only unambiguously bad person in the whole story. His intelligence and Faux Affably Evil Cool Teacher demeanor make him an enjoyable character in spite of his awfulness.
  • Memetic Loser: Chloe. Her sheer Too Dumb to Live Cosmic Plaything status has caused her to be seen as this by many fans and she's gone up as one of the most joked about characters. Though keep in mind, being a loser in this game isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Hella" and "cereal" have become increasingly used among the fandom, along with other bits of slang from the game.
    • Max's plant Lisa. Every time you water it, the game tells you that this will have consequences, prompting indignant paranoia from first time players and endless humorous speculation over the kind of monumental impact watering the plant could have on the ending of the game. Eventually, Lisa was the focus of an April Fools' joke by DONTNOD, where after a fervent demand for merchandise, they made a post saying that Lisa would be available to buy in the Square Enix store. After 70% of players killed Lisa, statements of mourning like "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" cropped up. Lisa has a growing fanbase and fan art.
    • Chloe's strong reaction to Max's use of emoji and emoticons ("NO EMOJI!") has taken root in the fandom, cropping up whenever anyone uses an emoji/emoticon.
    • "I gotta blame somebody, otherwise it's all my fault. Fuck that."Explanation 
    • Alternative nicknames for Max, especially by Chloe in fanfics/fan art ("Maxaroni and Cheese", "Maxamillion", and "Maxter Blaster").
    • Max and Chloe's endless exchange of groan-inducing puns.
    • "I WAS EATING THOSE BEANS!"
    • During the hiatus between Episodes 3 and 4, Lampfield (Max/lamp) sprung up out of nowhere as a sort of hurt/comfort ship. A similar Cargo Ship has sprung between Chloe and the comfy chair.
    • After Episode 2 came out, "Protect Kate Marsh" became an oft-repeated declaration among fans. There are even T-shirts.
    • Scenarios involving Max and Chloe sharing a romantic moment until Chloe abruptly kills it by saying she wishes Rachel were here.
    • After The Reveal at the end of Episode 4, "I told you to enter your fucking photo" became a meme, so much so that it was brought up in the final episode.
    • Tons of memes and jokes were made of Brooke purposely letting Max get hurt or leaving her in life-or-death situations, simply because Max is going to the drive-in with Warren.
    • Hawt Dawg Man, a background cartoon character, became rather famous for being flavor text.
    • Bay or bae? The final decision is choosing whether to sacrifice the town to save Chloe, or sacrifice Chloe to save the town. Many players describe the decision thusly. Many also decide "Bae before bay!"
    • The exclamation "By Neptune's beard!", which is part of a line that can be said by the fisherman outside the Two Whales Diner.
    • Following random non-sequitur sentences with "Drugs?", as David does repeatedly in his notes on Kate, is occasionally now used elsewhere either to mock the paranoia of overprotective authority figures or just for surreal humor.
  • Moe:
    • Max with her Adorkable personality, cute appearance, and endearing demeanour definitely counts.
    • Even Chloe is this, due to her somewhat Adorkable personality, beautiful looks, and her tragic past. Especially Alt!Chloe, who is ridiculously sweeter than the present Chloe.
    • Kate fulls this all the way.
    • Some of the Blackwell students can count as this, especially Dana.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Reveal of Mr. Jefferson as the Big Bad immediately has him crossing this, but he leaps over it when he kills Chloe and abducts Max.
  • Narm:
    • The attempts to produce slang accurate to the age of the characters can end up unintentionally comical for some players. The writers often seem to have heard of the phrases they use, but not the proper usage of them, such as when Victoria tells Max she's "stuck in the retro zone" at the very beginning of Episode 1 or Max hilariously calling Nathan's father his "sugar daddy" in one conversation. It's been pointed out that the writers are adult French men trying to replicate how American teenage girls speak, and the results are predictable:
      Zero Punctuation: Hella baguettes yo.
    • Mr. Jefferson's face at the end of Episode 4 is supposed to be frightening, but it can be funny too.
    • Constantly rewinding time during the fight between David and Mr. Jefferson in Episode 5 can be rather comical for some when you have to repeatedly see David get beat or killed before realizing what you need to do in order to help him win. This is especially the case as David will take orders from Max on how to fight, given that he's ex-military.
    • Many of the teasers for the final episode were just repeats of what happened before. The first trailer that showed something new... showed us Max's hand. Cue audience sarcastically being hyped by the mere shot of it.
    • Frank calling Rachel his "lioness" in the diner in Episode 5 sounds a bit odd.
    • "Are you cereal" being used in the argument with Nightmare!Max can sound silly given how serious the scene is, even though she's obviously making fun of herself.
  • Narm Charm: Many players embrace the misused slang as a quirky part of the game's own appeal.
  • No Yay: Max can tell Mr. Jefferson in the Nightmare Sequence that she loves him and he reciprocates these feelings.
  • Padding:
    • Looking for bottles in the junkyard in Episode 2. They are scattered all over the large area, and there's one near the bonfire that's extremely well-hidden.
    • Some players felt this way about the Nightmare sequence in Episode 5. It contains several interesting moments and tidbits, but it's ultimately inconsequential to the plot. It could be removed from the game and not really change anything.
  • Pandering to the Base:
    • Word of God is that the developers take fan reactions into account so they can add in more of what people liked in future episodes, such as more scenes with Ensemble Darkhorses. An actual example of this is the scene with Kate in Episode 4, if Max saves her life, which was added after the development team realized how popular said character was with players.
    • Eliot from Before the Storm seems to be based on the interpretations of some players about Warren, which involved aplying Ron the Death Eater to him and exaggerating his "nice guy" mentality.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • "This action will have consequences."
    • What's up with the folders at the end of the episodes? Kate is under scrutiny, Rachel has a file, and there were a lot more than just those two folders. Who is documenting this? Why? And for how long has this gone on? The paranoia continues with the reveal. It was Mr. Jefferson. For exactly how long he was doing this is unknown.
    • Samuel is pretty odd, although generally considered harmless. Then in Episode 2, he has head shots of Rachel in his shed, and makes seemingly innocuous comments about time to Max. Red Herring or something else? Samuel will say that Rachel did give him the photographs, and that he's spoken to the police about the Rachel situation, while encouraging Max to keep prying. It turns out that while he's a bit of an oddball, Samuel is harmless.
  • Player Punch:
    • Kate's suicide in Episode 2. It's not so much that you don't see it coming, it's that it's difficult to do right even under the best of circumstances and you can't rewind time like in every other instance. Well, you can just pause the game and restart the moment though. Even if the three major choices involved (David vs. Kate, Kate and police, and Kate's phone call) played out in a way that Kate was happy with, two thirds of the possible dialog options result in Kate's death, and it isn't really helped by the fact that the final two choices can be difficult if you didn't examine enough objects in Kate's room. Even if you did, many players don't remember or realize that you can consult whatever objects you examined in her room while talking to her by looking in Max's journal. This one hit players so hard that DONTNOD actually set up a webpage to help those who needed support after watching that scene.
    • The reveal of Chloe in a wheelchair at the end of Episode 3. This is right after Max saved her father's life, where a moment of elation at making things better for Chloe is completely turned on its head as she wheels out to say hi to Max when Max drops by to visit. The first section of the following episode just twists the knife even further with every new piece of information.
    • Mr. Jefferson revealing himself as the Big Bad and murdering Chloe in Episode 4 is probably the biggest one yet.
    • Victoria getting kidnapped and murdered by Jefferson. It's worse because it happens when the player tries to do the right thing by making amends and warning her of the Dark Room.
    • The ending choice in Episode 5. Do you sacrifice your best friend to save the whole town? Or do you let the town suffer a lot of property damage and likely kill a lot of people save your best friend?note 
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Many, generally using the characters' last names:
    • Pricefield = Max/Chloe.
    • Grahamfield = Max/Warren.
    • Chasefield = Max/Victoria.
    • Marshfield = Max/Kate.
    • Amberprice = Rachel/Chloe.
    • Amberpricefield = Rachel/Chloe/Max.

     R-W 
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: For those that dislike Chloe, her willingness to sacrifice herself to save Arcadia Bay redeemed her in the eyes of some.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • While Warren's characterization in-game verges on the creepy nice guy mentality, he's a decent person overall and can be a good friend to Max if the player makes certain decisions. This doesn't always apply in fanfics, where he's often ignored or vilified, with some even going so far as to make him one of Mr. Jefferson's accomplices.
    • As of Before the Storm, both Rachel and Max have received this treatment. In canon, Rachel has a manipulative streak, and according to Word of God manipulates people for selfish reasons without realizing it, but sincerely cares about people and often uses it to benefit people she cares about; Max fell out of contact with Chloe because of her anxieties and the trauma from dealing with William's death and feels conflicted about using her powers for selfish reasons. Whether she does is up to the player. Fanfic writers who want to play up a given Chloe ship will exaggerate one or both girls as being cold, manipulative Alpha Bitches who'll use and discard Chloe the moment they're done with her.
    • Some Chloe haters paint the scene of her killing Frank and Pompidou as proof of her being a bad person. This is ignoring the fact that A. Frank was threatening her and Max with a knife/gun and B. That she is visibly shaken after gunning them down.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Max/Chloe (Pricefield) vs. Max/Victoria (Chasefield), the two most popular Max-involved ships in the fandom. Max/Warren (Grahamfield), while also being a popular ship, more often than not gets caught in the crossfire. Warren's mere existence as a potential romantic partner gets him flak from the Pricefield side. The fact that the game focuses on interpersonal relationships and a potential lesbian romance in a medium that sorely needs queer representation makes these shipping wars particularly fierce.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Max's walk through the school hall in the beginning of Episode 1.
    • Chloe and Max holding hands and walking on the train tracks in Episode 2 is one of the game's most iconic images.
    • The end of Episode 3 revealing that Chloe's in a wheelchair.
    • Chloe and Max finding Rachel dead in Episode 4 with "Mountains" playing.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Bullying and victim blaming is wrong.
    • Helping people with depression is important, even if all you can offer is a kind word, your time and attention, and a nice cup of tea.
    • Sometimes, when bad things happen, there isn't anyone to blame. They just happen.
    • Mental illness is a serious problem that could have disastrous consequences if left untreated.
    • Not everyone who makes bad decisions is a bad person. Figuring out the why is important.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • Prior to Episode 4, the lack of accurate lip-syncing. For example, when Nathan approaches Max about ratting him out to Principal Wells, his words are hardly in line with his mouth. And when you're given two speaking options, he'll continue to just nod his head in a twitchy fashion. The former is mitigated, to some degree, by the compromise made; vaguely "talking-like" mouth movements for the wide range of choices and options the player is given, which would naturally lead to in some cases extremely dissimilar dialogue.
    • The endings of the episodes noticeably switch from being rendered with the in-game engine to pre-rendered cutscenes, and a drop in video quality accompanies this.
    • If you look closely at the people in the pool at the End of the World Party, you can see that they're looping sprites.
    • Almost everyone in the game has the exact same standing idle animations during conversations, particularly the arm-folding animation.
  • Spoiled by the Format: In Episode 5, all seems well as Mr. Jefferson is apprehended by the police after Max travels back in time via a photo, Chloe is alive, and Max arrives in San Francisco alongside Principal Wells after winning the Everyday Heroes Photo Contest. However, all this can be achieved in less than an hour, and most will remember the tornado is still a threat before Max does, meaning this happiness isn't going to last forever. To make it more obvious, if you are going for the optional photos and check your journal, you will realize that you still have a lot to obtain.
  • Squick:
    • One of the optional photos in Episode 3 is a decomposing dead bird lying out in the sun being consumed by a swarm of ants.
    • Also in Episode 3, there's one point where Chloe rummages through some garbage for something to distract Frank's dog with. This in itself isn't so disgusting, but the unnecessarily detailed squelching and squishing noises that accompany it definitely are.
  • Strawman Has a Point: David's security measures are a tad paranoid, but him trying to put Blackwell under heavy surveillance is more justified when you realize that a student went missing, and said student was his stepdaughter's friend.
  • Surprise Creepy: When Max goes to pick up Warren's flash drive in Dana's room, an almost demonic voice-over by Max herself says, "Must protect my precious, so Max never has to chase it down again." While you might realize after the fact that this is something some people might say to themselves, considering this is just a simple errand for a friend, it may catch some off-guard on their very first playthrough, even if it was supposed to be funny.
  • That One Level:
    • Saving Kate from suicide is unquestionably the hardest part of the entire game. You have to have make all of the right choices, either make most of the right dialogue options or execute them all perfectly depending on your choices and you cannot rewind time to try again. You screw up a single dialogue option or agitate Kate? Kate dies and unless you repeat Episode 2, she will stay that way.
    • In Episode 5, the extended stealth segment in Max's Nightmare Sequence serves no discernible purpose and is just plain annoying to traverse. It gets downright sadistic if you're a completionist and want to shoot the two optional photos there, one of which is hidden in the tightly patrolled locker maze, while the other requires dodging even more sentries in the junkyard section to collect five bottles in a Call-Back to another That One Level that did the same thing without sentries in an earlier episode.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The Homeless Woman who lives behind the Two Whales Diner can be seen as a missed opportunity. Conversations with Max suggests that she knows about the oncoming storm before Max warns her, she seems to know an awful lot about the town and its residents, and she even states that she has lived in Arcadia Bay for "a thousand years". Many fan theories suggested that she was a future version of Max or Rachel, but ultimately we know nothing about her. She either dies in the storm if Max doesn't warn her, or Max simply finds her spot behind the Diner empty, suggesting that she fled to safety when Max warned her.
    • Samuel, the slightly odd groundskeeper. He seems to understand that something strange is going on, and even predicts that a great disaster is heading their way. He's also correct about the doe being Max's spirit animal, and that it will lead her to Rachel's body, which he apparently foresaw in a dream. It would have been interesting to see just how Samuel received his information and why, and whether he had powers similar to Max, or something else entirely.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Episodes 3 and 4 hinted at Max's powers being Native American in origin, even plainly revealing that the Prescott Estates were built on their burial grounds. By Episode 5, this buildup is dropped and how Max got her powers is never explained.
  • Uncanny Valley: The characters rarely show any real emotion on their faces which leaves a lot of them looking like wooden puppets at times. There's also a scene in Episode 2 where Ms. Grant has a very intense stare in her eyes, making it look like she's staring right into Max's soul.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
  • The Un-Twist: The Reveal that Rachel was Dead All Along. It doesn't help that most are aware that missing persons cases in real life usually result in a dark outcome and multiple characters in the game question the possibility of a happy ending for said plot. This untwist is mostly about destroying Chloe's hope, after she put so much into finding Rachel.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The lighting effects used in this game, the rewind effect, and several others are surprisingly well-done. The game's cinematography is picturesque and very beautiful.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Quite a few of Chloe's misfortunes are self-inflicted. Examples include:
      • While stealing David's gun may not have been smart in on itself, there's at least an understandable reason behind it. What isn't understandable is when David confronts her about the gun, she has the brilliant idea to mouth off to her abusive stepfather when she was already on thin ice.
      • Not calling the police when Frank is threatening her. While Nathan at least has connections that could get him out of prison, Frank is a lowly drug dealer.
      • Laying on the train tracks, leading to her getting stuck when a train was coming.
    • Evan chooses to stand outside during the storm to take photos. To his credit, he'll call himself out on this if you choose to save him.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: A lot of people assume that Life Is Strange is simply a Slice of Life game dealing with teenage angst and high school drama that plays out like something out of The Breakfast Club, when in actuality the game involves a lot of sexual undertones, drugs, swearing, murder, dealing with a killer who abducts teenage girls, and time travel. However, some people still ignore the "M" rating.
  • Wheelchair Woobie: Chloe in the alternate timeline, on account of having been paralyzed in a hit-and-run, yet is still happy to see her best friend again.
  • The Woobie:
    • Max gets bullied by some of the students at Blackwell at first, has to deal with the pressure of being the only person with Time Travel powers, that make her physically ill when she overuses it, and is the only person, along with Chloe, investigating the reason behind Kate's attempted and possibly fulfilled suicide at the end of Episode 2. She possibly watches two of her closest friends die right in front of her. At the end of Episode 4, she gets drugged and kidnapped by Mr. Jefferson. In Episode 5, she goes through absolute hell and we get to see inside her mind, making her potentially the biggest Woobie of all. In that episode's finale, she has to decide whether to go back in time to before she'd known of her powers and let Chloe die for good, or let the oncoming tornado, which was caused by Max using her power, lay waste to Arcadia Bay, potentially killing everyone else she'd known and cared about. The nightmare sequence suggests a high level of self-loathing.
    • Chloe. Having her dad die around the same time her best friend moves away, along with said best friend never contacting her for years? Making a new best friend/possible lover, only for that best friend to disappear with no explanation, while dealing with her military obsessed stepfather, who abuses her verbally and physically? She may hide behind her punk rock attire and her "I don't give a shit" attitude, but she's had a hard life and it's clear that it has taken its toll on her. Things only gets worse from there. Rachel, her closest friend and the single person she felt she could trust and depend on, apparently had a fling with Frank, the man threatening Chloe with violence over some drug money. And she didn't even tell her. Her subsequent meltdown reveals that she struggles with feelings of being abandoned by her father and being betrayed by her mother, even though she knows it wasn't anybody's fault. She also finds out in Episode 4 that Rachel is dead. Then, Chloe gets shot by Mr. Jefferson and Max is too drugged to actually rewind and help her out. And come Episode 5, if the Sacrifice Chloe ending is chosen, then that means Chloe ultimately dies without knowing of any of the happy memories that had been formed between her and Max over the course of the game. In her view, she hasn't even met Max again because of the previous episodes being reversed and is murdered with no knowledge of her childhood best friend being only a few feet away. Even in the ending where she lives, her mother and stepfather are potentially killed by the tornado, as well as likely many more Arcadia Bay residents as she and Max live with that knowledge.
    • Kate seems to fall squarely into this, with everyone aside from Max bullying her for very little reason and she seems utterly miserable. Her last scene of Episode 1 is of her crying alone in her room. Things escalate in Episode 2, with Kate being finally Driven to Suicide. Only Max's intervention can save her and talk her down, and even then it's not a sure thing. In Episode 5, no matter whether you've saved her or not, Kate is seen at the dorm during the nightmare sequence, lambasting you for your choice and jumping down into the white abyss in her room.
    • David has been acting terrible and has been doing really douchey things, but it's apparent that these attitudes and actions are a result of him struggling heavily with the transition from military to civilian life. In Episode 5, if you tell him Chloe's dead, he kills Mr. Jefferson without hesitation. Afterwards, he laments how horrible a stepfather he's been and how he's never told Chloe that he loved her.
    • Samuel is basically an outsider who is shunned by many of the students for the crime of being weird.
    • Daniel DaCosta, an overweight kid who gets bullied frequently by the other students, beats himself up for not getting the hang of photography, and generally does not have very good self-esteem.

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The Comic

    A-Z 
  • Author's Saving Throw: Issue 4 reveals an alternate universe where Rachel lived and she and Chloe successfully make it to Los Angeles, which helps alleviate some of the criticism about the game pulling the Bury Your Gays trope as Rachel is dead no matter what you do in the main game, and Chloe has the potential to be killed off for real depending on the ending you choose. It is also this in general for fans of the franchise who are sick of Chloe being made to suffer horribly.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Max and Chloe's new friends introduced at the start of Issue 1 due to being a rather cute and diverse bunch.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: For some, Issue 4. It ends with Max leaving the comic's main universe to return to what is supposedly her home universe, where both Rachel and Chloe are alive and in Los Angeles; meanwhile, the Chloe we've been following vows to find her true Max. However, this would be a pre-character development Max, so it's hard to say how a reconciliation between the two will go. Not helped by Chloe's canon tendency to project her feelings for one person onto another. What's to stop her from using her true Max as a substitute for the main one, which would lead to problems of potential unfulfilled expectations since pre and post character development Maxes are fairly different individuals.
  • Fanfic Fuel: The use of a canon multiverse in the comic leaves room for many, many ideas.
  • Fridge Logic: Issue 4 reveals that not only is this not the Chloe and Max of the game but that the Max we're following doesn't even belong in the comics' main universe, yet we're made to believe that the events of the main game still happened. The problem comes when you realize that if the "true" Max is still in Seattle, that would mean the Max we've been reading about had no way to actually be attending Blackwell, as she couldn't be in two places at once without questions being asked. Such as "how is this teenaged girl enrolled in our school when she's still in Seattle with her parents?" and "Why is our daughter texting us from another state?" Unless reality has been completely broken to allow two Maxes at once, there's no way this can be explained.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: One of the reasons Chloe pushes Max to sacrifice her is because she doesn't want Joyce to suffer and die in the diner. Here we find out that Joyce does indeed die if you spare Chloe, killed by the explosion you originally prevented in your effort to get to Warren and obtain the photograph needed to save Chloe from being killed by Jefferson.
  • One True Threesome: The majority of fans seem to be hoping that after Issue 4 Amberpricefield will become canon.
  • Player Punch: Potential one for players who chose the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending where it's revealed that Warren and Joyce are two of the deceased as a result of the storm ripping its way through Arcadia Bay. If you were fond of either one, learning this can hurt.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Amberprice and Pricefield shippers are still at each other's throats.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some fans who actually like Warren are annoyed that he isn't as involved in the plot as they would've like, and the universe where he survived the storm with Max goes unexplored.

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