Life Is Strange: Before the Storm’s Chloe has a new voice actor, because of the strike

Gameplay snippets from Life Is Strange: Before The Storm [official site], a miniseries prequel focused on the wonderful teen melodrama’s gal pal co-star Chloe, have oozed out of E3 and- hey wait, that’s not Chloe! Turns out, she has been replaced. While Chloe’s original voice actor, Ashly Burch, is consulting on the prequel, she isn’t actually playing Chloe this time. This wasn’t a creative decision, but rather down to the ongoing voice actor union strike. You can hear Chloe’s new voice in this gameplay video:

Before The Storm is a three-episode prequel starring Chloe, set after the death of her father and around the beginning of her doomed friendship with Rachel Amber.

Burch did pop up in the announcement video developer diary talking about her role as a writing consultant but I hadn’t twigged that she wasn’t voicing Chloe this time. “My main focus has been on Chloe and Chloe’s voice, in terms of just her dialogue and her psychology,” Burch said, “and so I’ve given notes on different aspects of the script, about things I think Chloe would or wouldn’t do, things she would or wouldn’t say.” But she won’t actually be saying those things herself.

“Hey y’all, to the fans asking – I wasn’t able to reprise my role as Chloe in Life is Strange: Before The Storm due to the SAG-AFTRA strike,” Burch tweeted yesterday.

“Chloe means a lot to me,” she continued. “Grateful for the opportunity to consult on her character.”

Burch’s Chloe is Chloe to me, so this is weird. In such a character-focused series, the change is a shame.

The strike by SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Foundation of Television and Radio Artists) started in October 2016, seeking changes including better pay and more breaks to avoid the dangers of vocal stress. The strike is focused on games started since February 2015 by 11 companies, including bigguns like Electronic Arts, Activision, and Take-Two. And, evidently, Before The Storm was hit too. The strike is ongoing against the big eleven, though SAG-AFTRA say they’ve signed a number of other companies and games up for their new arrangement.

A new Chloe isn’t the only change. Before The Storm is being made by a different studio, Deck Nine Games. Series creators Dontnod Entertainment are working on their own new Life Is Strange too, so we have two games coming.

Life Is Strange: Before The Storm will start on August 31st. The three-episode season will cost £13.99/16,99€/$16.99, or £20.22 for the Deluxe Edition which includes extra outfits and a bonus episode starring a young Max. Publishers Square Enix swear blind that Before The Storm is a complete story without that extra episode, that it is an optional bonus. An update to the Deluxe Edition will be sold separately too.

23 Comments

  1. Faxmachinen says:

    Are you surreal? I’m not sure that’s hecka cool.

  2. Mecha_Rocky says:

    Easy fix: It’s an alternate timeline. Like Treehouse of Horror V, when Homer had to settle with his family having lizard tongues after his bout with the time traveling toaster.

    • Frosty Grin says:

      I don’t think an alternate timeline is necessary. It’s a different take by a different studio – and that’s enough. No one thinks that Batman should always be played by the same actor.

  3. Halk says:

    So this guild is not allowing her to? Or is she herself refusing?

    • Jalan says:

      Being part of the union prevents her from working while the strike is in effect. No doubt someone else could elaborate better than that since that’s my (very basic) understanding of how a labor union strike operates.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Members voted something like 95% in favour of striking, and Burch’s tweets supporting strikers suggest she’s not one of the 5%.

        • Jalan says:

          She’s part of the union and when it entered the strike phase, she’s bound by its terms to not work until the strike is resolved whether she supported or was against initiating it or not.

    • Ksempac says:

      I don’t know the details for this voice actress or this project.

      However, usually, when you go on strike you agree to stick together in refusing to work, even if you get interesting individual opportunities, until the union’s demands have been accepted. Otherwise, it would be very easy to break the strike by peeling off people here and there until there are not enough strikers left to hinder the employers.

      Interestingly, for this particular strike, the union is not trying to get a global deal with every game maker at the same time. They are trying to get individual deal with individual game project. And it’s apparently a successful strategy ( link to arstechnica.co.uk )

      So, not knowing the specifics, it seems like the people in charge of Life is Strange have decided they do not want to sign a deal with the union, or at least not for Life is Strange.

  4. Hyena Grin says:

    Ugh, that sucks a lot of the wind out of the sails for me.

    Burch was integral as Chloe, and it’s going to really eat away at me to play with someone else’s voice. Like, without Burch as Chloe I’m not sure it was the right time to make this prequel. I’d almost say they should’ve waited.

    I was totally committed to getting this. I still probably will, but now I’m less certain and I might wait for a review before making a decision.

  5. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    In other words, either Squeenix or Deck Nine (or both) are happy to work with scabs. Maybe you could’ve reached out to them for comment?

  6. Thirdrail says:

    Oh, Chloe is the friend, not the main character. We were Max. Ok. Yeah, the only way I’d ever play any more Life is Strange is if Chloe never ever speaks again. Her personality was so awful. Easily the most I’ve disliked any video game character since Kefka poisoned the castle back on the SNES.

  7. Someoldguy says:

    I hadn’t appreciated that we were only getting chapter 1 in August. Is there any ETA for chapters 2, 3 & the bonus?

  8. mercyRPG says:

    The voices are okay. But too many spoilers, so didn’t watch, especially didn’t listen to the devs.

  9. Panicintrinsica says:

    Eh… I’m not a fan of the change, but listening to the dialogue around the 16min mark, it doesn’t bother me too much, and I can mentally write it off as her just being younger.

    If this is three years prior to LIS, that makes her 16, and though usually subtle in females, your voice doesn’t “mature” until about 20. Plus we can assume she’s been smoking for 3 years less at this point, so there’s that too. Idk, I’ll make it work.

    • Callyste says:

      That… would have explained the different voice, if it wasn’t for one of the latter sequence in Episode 3, which takes place long before Before the Storm. Burch voiced an even younger Chloe there.
      It’s not that I hate the new voice though, I simply don’t find it as strong as Burch’s. :/

  10. demicanadian says:

    One day after preorder and I already feel shitty about it…

  11. Booker says:

    Too bad, Ms. Burch was really ideal for the role.

    What bothers me even more, is that this thing costs as much or more with 3 episodes than the first season did with 5 (I don’t assume these are any longer and they probably didn’t enhance this thing in any significant way either). And then they are even pulling this “deluxe” crap, when they know for sure that everyone will want to play the “bonus” episode. No one would want the incomplete season.

    It’s really sad, they couldn’t stop themselves from pulling something like that. LiS didn’t become the “hit franchise” it is now because they did stuff like this. Sometimes it’s better if stuff doesn’t become THIS successful, just for this reason.

    Unsure if I’m going to buy it. If the negative impression gets worse during the next months, I’ll only buy it in a year or so, when it’s older and cheaper.

  12. Stromko says:

    It being a prequel puts me off. I already know how these characters end up, so what’s the point exactly?

    • Callyste says:

      I would argue that it all lies in the journey, not the destination, but to be entirely honest… I actually agree with you – for different reasons maybe. I don’t think we needed this to be explained. It might, I fear, detract more than it adds to the amazing experience that was LiS.

  13. brad drac says:

    Scabs and a different studio are enough to make me sit this one out.

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