Weird: Life Is Strange Live-Action Series Announced

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.

From this site

27 Comments

  1. TheAngriestHobo says:

    I’ll probably end up watching this. I’m a sucker for live-action TV (I spent a few years in that industry) and the idea of LiS will undoubtedly be well received by the Twin Peakers (Tweakers?) and such types.

    My one concern is the number of teenage actors they’ll need. I can’t count the number of teen actors who have just rubbed me the wrong way and ruined shows for me (ie. that kid on Once Upon a Time, all the kids on Under the Dome, Logan from Veronica Mars, etc). Often the problem stems from a lack of sincerity in their performance, which I think can largely be attributed to their being cast in roles for which they lack the requisite life experience.

    Hopefully, the casting director is worth her salt, and picks an introspective geek to play Max, a short-fused firebrand to play Chloe, etc. Honestly, I’d say this should be a bigger priority than finding actors that physically resemble the characters.

    • TWChristine says:

      I partly agree. “Partly,” because I find teenage actors to be a middle ground; there’s a fair amount of decent ones mixed in. Child actors however, ruin 90% of movies/shows 100% of the time. I think the only reason I got so far in The 100 is because I heard it got better in the 2nd season. Had I not known that, I would’ve stopped after the first few episodes. And yea, the kid in Once Upon A Time got me to stop watching it. Then there’s the kid in Sixth Sense, Short-Round, the list goes on..

  2. warenhaus says:

    I’ll likely watch it. If only for the music, for I hope they get the soundtrack as right as LIS did.

    Regarding actors, and if they remake the exact story (instead of an inspired one), Chloe’s voice actor should be cast as full actor for the show, she was excellent.

    As for Warren, they’ll probably canonize the BAE>Bay ending, with Warren being the BAE.

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      Aitrus says:

      Ooh, if they got Jonathan Morali to do the soundtrack for this… Yes. Do it.

    • HothMonster says:

      I agree that Ashly Burch did an amazing job voicing Chloe but I’m not sure she really looks the part.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Yeah, she may be a bit too old. Sorry Ash!

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Huh. I mean, I actually think Ashly Burch could handle the “20-something made up as a teenager” look as well as anyone. She’s 26 and I’m sure she still gets carded at 18+ events.

  3. Babymech says:

    They could do this like ReZero and have Max turn into a broken wreck from constantly going back and back and back to try to just find those goddamn bottles in that goddamn junkyard.

    Since the time travel mechanic in LiS was completely nonsensical and only ‘worked’ as a plot contrivance, they could really have fun with this show though – basically they can make up whatever hijinks they want!

  4. klops says:

    Hmh, just finished LiS yesterday. The last episode sucked, otherwise I enjoyed it. Which has nothing to do with this bit of news, but I felt the urge to praise and complain.

  5. Alice O'Connor says:

    On reflection, I would totally go for something like iZombie – mysteries of the week (with time travel!), drama, and laffs, all with an undercurrent of building mega-doom and mega-gloom.

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      Aitrus says:

      Funny you should say that. Life is Strange is kind of already Veronica Mars (a show also created by Rob Thomas) with time travel.

      • zxcasdqwecat says:

        Nha, it’s Evangelion with over 100 references to tv shows much like eva features over 100 refereces to its inspirations. And ofc none of thdm means anything since they add nothing to the narrative.

      • Deviija says:

        I definitely felt a similar vibe to Veronica Mars. And that’s not a bad thing at all. We could use another (season one) Veronica Mars in this tv world.

  6. ROMhack2 says:

    That’s a decent enough explanation of why it seems strange to make it into a TV show in the first place. The game plays out quite passively in the first place – much to its strength – so I can’t imagine what more people will get out of a TV show.

    • Wulfram says:

      Well, it can probably reach people as a TV show that it couldn’t as a game

  7. Deviija says:

    I loved this series dearly. It’s in my top ten favorite games. The only thing I didn’t care for were the last five minutes or so, and the final choice, and how it ended. Just didn’t feel like enough and no better closure for the things chosen.

    Anyway, I am all for a live-action adaptation of the series. I think it has great promise with the material and the audience it can court (it IS a teen melodrama with coming of age story and metaphors involved, after all). The ONE major thing I felt when I finished the game is: Man, I wish this series could go on forever with Chloe and Max, time traveling and having detective adventures together. CSI: Arcadia Bay. I’m totally into it.

  8. April March says:

    Weird! Isn’t Max power basically that she can save and reload real life? So this is a series about a girl that has video game powers, based on a videogames.

    Anyway unless it ends with her strangling herself on her umbilical cord I’m not interested.

    • kraken says:

      So basically, Max is save-scumming real life.

      • Razumen says:

        Not gonna lie, I would do the same.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        Yeah, except saving costs about 2$ worth of Polaroid film and loading may include side effects such as nosebleeds and headaches. They should put that feature in videogames for added realism!

  9. Amake says:

    I can’t imagine that the defining feature of making your own choices translates very well to a non-interactive format, and I am not hopeful they’ll go with the ending I felt made the story great over the one Dontnod clearly wanted to present as the right choice.

    Tentatively worried.

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      Aitrus says:

      Originally that ending wasn’t even going to be a choice, so I would say you are correct, assuming they follow the game’s story that closely.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Spoilers ahead

      I didn’t interpret it as Dontnod encouraging you to choose that option. To me, all the voices begging to be saved reflected Max’s crisis of conscience – she had begun to understand (perhaps subconsciously) the nature of the storm and the choice she would soon have to make, and she was torn between two impossible options. This continues when she encounters mirror Max, who plays upon her doubts and the guilt she feels – until Chloe manifests and helps bring her back from the brink.

      I liked that final choice, because it was ultimately a question of values, not potential consequences. Unlike most of the other big decisions you have to make, you know what the outcomes will be ahead of time. There is no right answer, only an answer that’s right for you.

      I can see the writers/producers going either way with that choice. Either decision would be a powerful piece of characterization that would ripple across every subsequent episode.

  10. ooshp says:

    “GO AWAY, WARREN”

    This should be a T-shirt. Would buy.

  11. RimeOfTheMentalTraveller says:

    I didn’t tell Warren to go away when I could. I regretted it. Especially since I’m watching Jesse Cox’s playthrough and after his Max rejected Warren’s cinema invitation, he invites Brooke, who actually likes him.

  12. Wagrid says:

    There are many different interpretations of Life is Strange’s characters and themes and people can get pretty heated on subjects like the ending, so I’m glad we can all come together on the important topic of GO AWAY WARREN.

    Anyway, a series that follows the same characters is not something I want AT ALL.