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Thread: After doing some deep thinking...

  1. #1

    After doing some deep thinking...

    ... I've come up with a couple different theories as to the over-arching message of the whole game turns out to be, at least for me personally.

    Before I get any further into this, I will warn that some of this will be religious in nature, so for those of you who do not believe in Christianity, or don't like religious material, you will know to not even read the rest of this post. I would kindly ask, though, that those of you who don't believe/don't like Christianity please don't attack it purely because of such reasons.

    Anyways... the two theories I've come up with are not mutually exclusive, they can coexist, and I am in no way accusing Dontnod of anything, but this is just what comes to my mind when I think about the game and how the ending plays out.

    Some people go "Life is Strange is meant to teach you that life just isn't fair sometimes, and you can't control things in life and sometimes you just keep messing stuff up when you try."

    Well, that's all and good, but see the problem is...

    Point #1: The game is designed to break hearts no matter what. We're introduced to Chloe, the ultimate "abused dog" personage. At a young age, she lost her father in a horrible car accident when she was part of a very loving family who had a loving best friend. That's horrible, but it gets worse. Her mother meets a man who is nice of heart, but is Chloe's exact opposite in personality and does come across as a little over-bearing. I have nothing against David myself, because he means well, he just... is not very good at showing the more tender side of himself. Be that as it may, David ends up making Chloe's life miserable because of the personality conflicts. Chloe, because of all of this stuff, ends up doing drugs, getting involved with Frank, she almost gets raped by Nathan, and just throughout the game, Dontnod does everything they can to get you emotionally attached to Chloe yourself, but then puts you into heart-wrenching scene after scene of the most ridiculous horrible events happening to Chloe, who just wants to be happy but can't, no matter what she tries. They go to such ridiculous and great lengths to get you to fall in love with Chloe, to the point that you're doomed to have a broken heart no matter what you do.

    WARNING: Religious Content Ahead.

    Point #2: This almost looks like an attack against the character of God. Again, I want to stress that I do not accuse Dontnod of anything; this could have been accidental, or they could have just failed to see what they were really doing. Anybody who is familiar with the Christian Bible would know that nothing happens on this Earth without God allowing it. Even the most terrible tragedy you can imagine, be it 9/11 or the Holocaust was allowed by God, and He allows nothing that doesn't give Him glory or fulfill His purposes. God is just, and God is always fair. Saying "Life isn't Fair" is actually indicting the character of God. Most people don't realize this. When someone says "Life ain't fair", what they are actually saying, is that God isn't fair, because whatever Life throws at you, God allowed it. That's basically indicting the character of God, whom the Bible says is always just and righteous in everything He does.

    That said, let's look at the character of Chloe. Dontnod gives us this character who is abused painfully everywhere she turns, and can't catch a break whatsoever. Trying to save her (using the power that Max was given even before she "met" Chloe in the Bathroom!) results in a natural disaster that comes out of nowhere, which gives a religious person the idea that this Tornado is some kind of judgment from God because He intended Chloe to die. What this story says to me, is that the writer created a character (Chloe) that is forsaken and unforgiven so much that attempting to save her and turn her life around for good results in the destruction of an entire town. That almost looks like an attack against the character of God to me. Why would God allow this power to be given to Max, and then punish her dearly for using it? If you sacrifice Chloe, then it is a huge heart-wrenching tease. If Max sacrifices the town, then Max is more or less guilty of murder of countless people (even if you believe there are some survivors), and she's going to have that on her conscience for the rest of her life.

    What I see being portrayed here, is a merciless God Who seems to be in it just to run Max through the emotional wringer, who seems willing to let a ridiculous number of people die or let her best friend die, either way, Max is punished heavily for her love -- either the love of Chloe or the love of the people of the town, either way, Max is going down the emotional drain because no matter what she chooses, it just seems that there's nothing good that can come of this.

    Again, I want to stress that I am NOT accusing Dontnod of anything, they probably just didn't realize that's how this story comes across if you look at it from that angle.

    Even before Chapter 5, I'd have to admit I was having serious questions about what they were really trying to say about Chloe, because even before the ending of Chapter 4, I kept thinking that they keep dragging Chloe through the mud as if she was so hated by God that everywhere she turns, something bad keeps happening to her over and over again. There's supposed to be light at the end of the tunnel, there's supposed to be a reward for persevering through suffering... that's why I was waiting until the very end before I made any kind of conclusions about the story, and sure enough... at the end, no matter what happens, both Chloe and Max are punished heavily in various ways and there's no way out of it that the game allows, even though various plot holes exist that should allow otherwise if they were actually filled in.

    That, to me, says the game was designed purposefully at the very least to be heart-wrenching with no opportunity of anything one could call a "good" or "pleasant" ending (why is that such a sin these days? Can there not be any good endings to story-rich games these days?) to the extent that major plot holes were left in the game, just to make sure it turned out that way.

    Just some musings on the story and its two endings... again, if you don't like religion, then I hope you skipped the part about it, but please don't attack Christianity in your responses.

  2. #2
    The second theory is... interesting. If that is what they were going for, the major artistic misconception driving such a choice is that a creator of fiction can successfully depict the will of God (if there is one) or the randomness of nature (if there isn't). They can't. Because while there may be doubt of a creator in the real world, there is no doubt in fiction. The sun may rise and set by the earth spinning or God willing it, but always rises and sets in a story because the author says it does. All fictional universes are intelligently designed. Trying to depict the will of a capricious God in fiction reeks of the author's hand. Tragedy doesn't befall fictional characters because God wills it, but because the author wills it inorganically in a point that they try to make themselves. It's intrusive. It's inauthentic.

    But if the first theory is true, then I find that infuriating. Just tell a sad story. If I'm gonna feel sad, it's gonna be my idea. If you force the issue, then I'm going to start resenting the storyteller for getting between me and the work. Telltale's The Walking Dead understood that. Hell, even Wolfenstein: The New Order understood that. They didn't build you up only to knock you over like a toddler with building blocks, but they subsumed their characters in tragedy, made the stories about the little moments, gave us a drip-feed of hope, and ended the stories based on their characters' actions, their essences, their purposes. They ended in sadness because the characters went there willingly in a story that supported them. They weren't led there with a tight leash like an unruly dog. That a Bro-Shooter gets this and Life is Strange doesn't is... God, I don't have the words.

  3. #3
    If you call yourself a christian and adhere to the bible the second point does make some sense. I find it also drives home the point of how we as persons are in some way write half of the stories we read, or in this case participate in.

    Thank you for sharing that one Corinth.
    Last edited by KristaD; 24th Oct 2015 at 20:49. Reason: grammatical correction.
    Life is what you make of it, or atleast try to make of it.

  4. #4
    Regarding point 1, David and Chloe aren't actually opposites. Their personalities clash but they actually have a lot in common. They've both been through traumatic experiences that they aren't coping well with. They both take criticism badly and lash out even though they deeply regret it later. They are both deep down trying to do the right thing but just don't quite know how to. If David somehow survives the storm I would think he and Chloe would be able to move on to a better relationship with Max's help as a calming influence and mediator. Chloe has definitely warmed to him in the end.

    Not really relevant to your point but I felt it needed to be said as it's an interesting aspect of their dynamic.

  5. #5
    I don't get it... what does the story have to do with a God? It's about chaos-theory. Butterfly wings causing tornadoes... that sort of stuff. That is basically the anti-thesis to a universe that was willed into existance by something/someone.

    So, yeah, I agree, though, that Dontnod made us fall in love with many of the characters, Chloe in particular... and then made is kill them for some reason.

    I guess it's some abstract thought experiment. For which they wouldn't have to make the charaters so relatable... But now that they have, why would be so cruel about it... I don't get it...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by PinkFrog View Post
    I don't get it... what does the story have to do with a God? It's about chaos-theory. Butterfly wings causing tornadoes... that sort of stuff. That is basically the anti-thesis to a universe that was willed into existance by something/someone.

    So, yeah, I agree, though, that Dontnod made us fall in love with many of the characters, Chloe in particular... and then made is kill them for some reason.

    I guess it's some abstract thought experiment. For which they wouldn't have to make the charaters so relatable... But now that they have, why would be so cruel about it... I don't get it...
    Well, sooner or later you will run into similar things in life (if you have not already).
    Life is what you make of it, or atleast try to make of it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkFrog View Post
    I don't get it... what does the story have to do with a God? It's about chaos-theory. Butterfly wings causing tornadoes... that sort of stuff. That is basically the anti-thesis to a universe that was willed into existance by something/someone.

    So, yeah, I agree, though, that Dontnod made us fall in love with many of the characters, Chloe in particular... and then made is kill them for some reason.

    I guess it's some abstract thought experiment. For which they wouldn't have to make the charaters so relatable... But now that they have, why would be so cruel about it... I don't get it...
    Back in February or so Dontnod said: "There will not be a completely good ending. There will always be shades of grey." Which is great.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by KristaD View Post
    Well, sooner or later you will run into similar things in life (if you have not already).
    Yeah, so I need more of this in my games? Why?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PinkFrog View Post
    Yeah, so I need more of this in my games? Why?
    I got no idea, but it's there.
    Life is what you make of it, or atleast try to make of it.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tataboj View Post
    Back in February or so Dontnod said: "There will not be a completely good ending. There will always be shades of grey." Which is great.
    Hahahaha

    You serious?

    The wonderful experience to choose between the death of all characters you know and care about in the game and their dogs or the one character you were tasked to protect over all the 5 episodes? That is not grey. That is emotional torture.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by PinkFrog View Post
    Hahahaha

    You serious?

    The wonderful experience to choose between the death of all characters you know and care about in the game and their dogs or the one character you were tasked to protect over all the 5 episodes? That is not grey. That is emotional torture.
    ^^
    This.

    I see Black and Blacker. There's no grey.

    Grey, to me, means an ending with some good, some bad. But what we really got was "Either your best friend dies in front of you which would wreck a normal person, or an entire town gets wrecked and who-knows-how-many people end up dying which has a ridiculously heavy weight on someone's long-term conscience"

    Black and Blacker.

    Where's the grey?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corinth View Post
    ^^
    This.

    I see Black and Blacker. There's no grey.

    Grey, to me, means an ending with some good, some bad. But what we really got was "Either your best friend dies in front of you which would wreck a normal person, or an entire town gets wrecked and who-knows-how-many people end up dying which has a ridiculously heavy weight on someone's long-term conscience"

    Black and Blacker.

    Where's the grey?
    In the first ending is everybody else except your best friend alive. And in the second is your best friend alive. That's the grey.

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