The next entry in the Life is Strange franchise, subtitles True Colors, is coming and unlike the previous powers such as time travel and telekinesis, the new protagonist Alex has the more abstract power of Empathy. While trailers for the game have given players a look at this ability, Deck Nine has given more information so that future players know what they can expect.
In a PlayStation Blog post, Narrative Director Johnathan Zimmerman outlined the ability, stating:
As a dev team, we wrestled with the question of how to capture something as abstract as emotions. We found ourselves pushing the conventions of traditional Life is Strange storytelling, employing the tangible audio-visual representation of emotive sensations to drive the same response in the player that Alex herself feels each time. We also wanted to challenge the boundary between Alex and other characters, using elements like internal monologue and world exploration to blend perspectives and introduce questions about the strength of Alex’s own thoughts.
This ultimately leads to the development team narrowing the experience down to four core emotions that Alex will encounter. These four emotions boil down to sadness, anger, fear, and joy with each offering a different experience.
Sadness will be depicted as a blue aura around characters. As the blog puts it these novas “the world takes on a gray-blue pallor. It may seem as if a rain cloud has blocked out the sun.” And that everything “looks and sounds heavier, darker, duller.” An early example of this listed was the character of Steph mourning the death of another character.
Fear is depicted as a purple aura that “jumps and spikes, like an EKG monitor.” Like the name might imply, fear novas take on a more horror-like style. This includes “jump scares around every corner” as well as the fact she “may even see monsters staring back at her,” as she explores the abyss of fear.
Anger is depicted with a flame-like red aura. Inside these novas “is intense and hot.” On the opposite of the spectrum from sadness, “Lights and sounds are amped up, movements are sharp and staggered.” This emotion is meant to feel like an injection of adrenaline.
Finally, Joy is that last emotion, and in a game about solving the murder of your brother, I would expect to see the least. Joy is depicted with a golden glow, similar to sunshine. As the blog states “Colors pop, sounds are rich and full. Memories are tinted with a gloss of fondness and the present is seemingly limitless.”
Life is Strange: True Colors is a game about confronting these emotions and trying to find catharsis in the face of tragedy. The game will be available on September 10th.