The first ever Life Is Strange tie-in novel, subtitled Steph's Story, has been announced for next year. The novel will be a prequel to last year's Life Is Strange: True Colors, and will follow recurring character Steph Gingrich and her bandmate-slash-girlfriend Izzie on the tour that will eventually lead them to Haven Springs, the game's setting.
This isn't the first time the Life Is Strange franchise has branched out into another medium besides video games. A series of tie-in comics continuing on from one ending of the first game debuted in 2018 and ran for six volumes, before wrapping up early this year. However, Steph's Story will be the first official prose fiction entry added to the series' canon. It's being published by independent genre fiction specialists Titan Books and written by young adult author Rosiee Thor, whose previous books include Tarnished Are The Stars, Fire Becomes Her, and The Meaning Of Pride.
Steph was introduced as a supporting character in Before The Storm, the prequel to the original game released in 2017. Her popularity led to her eventual return in True Colors in a greatly expanded role, as both a major character and potential love interest for protagonist Alex. She's even playable in the bonus chapter that comes with the game's Deluxe and Ultimate Editions.
There are a few factors that have contributed to Steph becoming unexpectedly well-regarded among the LIS fandom. For one thing, she's much nicer than many of the series' other characters: her worst on-screen crime is selling bootleg DVDs to her high school classmates, and while she has her fair share of flaws, she's unwaveringly supportive and fiercely loyal to her friends. Plus her voice actor, Katy Bentz, is extremely engaged with the LIS fan community, which in turn has fed back into Steph's own warm reception by players.
Izzie, meanwhile, is someone that, as an LIS die-hard, I've been keen to get to know more. She made her brief debut in True Colors as the franchise's first explicitly trans character and only trans woman to date, so I'm pleased that she's becoming less of a throwaway side character, even though her eventual break-up with Steph is a foregone conclusion. Do I hope she has a secret superpower? Maybe a little bit. It'd be weird if there were none on display in a Life Is Strange story, after all.
It'll certainly be interesting to see how the novel deals with the branching storylines from the games which result from choices left up to the player. The True Colors story DLC that made Steph playable has already shown that the fates of Rachel, Chloe, and the residents of Arcadia Bay had an understandably huge impact on her. But of the three, only Rachel's destiny is set in stone; and, unlike a video game, a novel can't ask you what ending you saw in Season One before deciding which version of the ongoing story to show you. Or can it? Honestly, I have no clue at this point.
According to Life Is Strange's official social media, we can expect more details on this book, including a synopsis and pre-order info, very soon. For now, we must be content with the knowledge that Life Is Strange: Steph's Story is due for publication on March 21st 2023.