There are very few games with a positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Life is Strange, a graphic adventure that focuses on identity through a time-traveling mechanic is one of the few exceptions to the rule. Released in 2015, the game received generally favourable reviews and became a cult classic because of its portrayal of young women in romantic relationships. The game was then followed by the prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm, released in 2017. Riding off of the wave of enthusiasm for these titles, Square Enix is set to release Life is Strange 2 later this month.
Trailers and press releases for Life are Strange 2 have revealed that the upcoming game centers around the relationship between two brothers, and moves away entirely from the set of characters introduced in the other two games. As the main character of the first game is a bisexual woman, fans are wondering how the sequel will compare in terms of representation. It is a bold move for Square Enix to throw out the two elements that made their franchise successful so far — the characters introduced in the first game, and the important relationships portrayed between those characters.
It is a bold move for Square Enix to throw out the two elements that made their franchise successful so far — the characters introduced in the first game, and the important relationships portrayed between those characters.
The series is still far from perfect representation. It has been accused of succumbing to the “bury your gays” trope, in which LGBTQ+ characters are portrayed only if their stories end in death or tragedy. Even Before the Storm, which seemed promising because it predates the disaster that concludes the first game, still forces its gay characters to go through constant hardships before they are allowed a glimmer of happiness.
Life is Strange 2 releases on 27 September. Hopefully, the latest installment does not rewind the progress made by the other titles so far.