The fab time-travelling teen drama Life Is Strange [official site] is to become a live-action television series, Square Enix announced today. Or whatever it is we’re supposed to call television shows made for cybernet screens. A “digital series”, they say. Netflix or something, perhaps? We don’t know who what where when – or why, really – but we do know Squeenix have partnered with Legendary’s Digital Studios arm for it.
Life Is Strange, if you’ve missed all our blather, is an episodic adventure game about a teenage photography student who discovers she can rewind time. It’s set around a prestigious high school in small city on the Oregon coast, where shady things are afoot with missing people and a powerful local family. Timeteen Max saves her childhood bestie Chloe from being shot then together they try to solve mysteries and divine the meaning of Max’s apocalyptic visions while dealing with the usual problems of teenage life. The first episode is now free so you can see for yourself.
As game-to-live-action adaptations go, hey, Life Is Strange seems a fairly good fit. Its pleasures and rewards are largely dramatic rather than systemic, developers Dontnod already framed scenes with a cinematic eye, most characters are meant to be a bit awkward, and unlike most game-to-live-action dealios it isn’t about enjoying mass murder. There’s no awful lore to splurge on either. It’s already a teen melodrama.
I adored Life Is Strange but can’t say the idea of a live-action series is particularly exciting to me. Still, nor does it detract from my fondness for the game.
No word yet on who might star in the series, nor when or how it might be released. This is still early days, at the point where it might never actually happen. All we know is Legendary have also drafted folks from dj2 Entertainment, who I’m told “recently produced the upcoming film Sonic the Hedgehog for Sony Pictures”. There’s a Sonic the Hedgehog movie?
“Life Is Strange is one of those rare properties that combines incredibly developed characters and storylines with deeply engaging gameplay,” said Legendary’s Greg Siegel in today’s announcement. “It lends itself perfectly to live-action imaginings. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Square Enix, Dnotnod Entertainment and dj2 to bring the world of Arcadia Bay to life in an exciting new way.”
Making a (presumably?) linear series out of a branching game is curious. If they follow the game even slightly, things Max does will be out-of-character for almost every player’s understanding of her. She’s left broad and empty enough to accommodate the possibilities and become real and personal through our decisions. And what if they choose the wrong ending? Oh god, what if they kiss Warren? GO AWAY, WARREN.
Presumably the series will take the source material as inspiration then do its own thing, hitting key points but not directly adapting the game. That’d be the way to do it.