Just one decision in Life is Strange: True ColorsAlex Chen will have to make lots of emotionally-complex decisions in Life is Strange: True Colors. Read on as Narrative Director Jonathan Zimmerman takes you through just one…
Hi, this is Jonathan Zimmerman, Narrative Director for Life is Strange: True Colors.
The Life is Strange series is all about making decisions, and in Life is Strange: True Colors, we’ll present some of the most difficult and emotionally-complex choices yet.
The many residents of Haven Springs are fascinating and fully-rounded figures, each with their own strengths, desires and flaws. Using Alex Chen’s psychic power of Empathy, you won’t just get to know these people by what they say and do, but also by what they feel.
You’ll need to consider on this information when making decisions in the game, as many have lasting consequences that will shape the story and its characters dramatically. To give you a sense of what I mean, I thought I’d walk you through a choice from early in the game, and look at some of the outcomes that can result from it.
This decision focuses on three characters: Mac Loudon, Gabe Chen, and Riley Lethe.
Mac Loudon is the hot-headed, jealous boyfriend of Riley. Gabe Chen is the amiable bartender and transplant to Haven Springs. Gabe has become something of a confidant for Riley for a decision about her future that she hasn’t even shared with her boyfriend Mac.
This infuriates the hotheaded Mac, who has grown convinced that Riley is cheating on him with Gabe. These are all key pieces of information for the player to gather as Alex, as she moves through the Black Lantern and Haven Springs.
What’s more, a bruising encounter between Mac and Gabe acts as an unfortunate welcome for Alex on her first day in town, and neither she nor Mac are at all sure what to make of each other in its wake.
All of this tension remains unresolved as Alex begins her first shift as server at The Black Lantern, and runs into Mac, still licking his wounds in the back room. If they wish, the player can choose to use Alex’s power to empathically connect to Mac.
Through her power, Alex can feel Mac’s genuine love for Riley, his regret for the encounter with Gabe, and his fear that Riley is slipping away - and may even break up with him. Mustering the few scraps of humility of which he is capable, Mac makes a heartfelt plea to Alex. He begs her not to tell Riley how aggressive he was with Gabe.
Choice and consequence
Sure enough, Riley arrives on a warpath, laying into Mac and telling him that, unless he can give her a good explanation, they’re finished. Mac spins up a version that makes him and Gabe equally culpable - which is when Riley spots Alex. “Oh god, were you there too?” she asks, prompting Alex to choose how best to respond.
If Alex felt Mac’s true emotions, she may choose to let him off the hook, giving him the chance to save his relationship and hopefully do better in the future. Going forward, Alex could see Mac and Riley’s relationship blossom in unexpected ways, and may even be able to tap Mac for crucial information about Gabe’s death.
Alternatively, Alex may also choose to disregard Mac’s hidden emotions, or avoid engaging with them all together. Instead, she will call out Mac’s bull and tell Riley the truth, unvarnished and ugly. As a result, Mac and Riley’s relationship will be forever altered and Mac’s animosity toward Alex will grow ever stronger.
Neither decision is right and neither decision is wrong - it’s up to you to decide what the best course of action is. Either way, this is a choice made very early on in the game that has lasting consequences throughout. Mac and Riley’s status affects not just their relationship with each other and with Alex, but with the rest of Haven Springs’ expansive supporting cast.
That’s just one decision out of many you’ll have to make in Life is Strange: True Colors… but I’ll avoid saying more because I want you to discover them - and their outcomes - for yourselves.
Life is Strange: True Colors releases for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC on September 10, 2021. It’s available for pre-order now, and if you choose the Ultimate Edition, you’ll also get the Life is Strange Remastered Collection included!
We’re excited to show you more about the game in the future, so make sure you follow Life is Strange on social media for updates: