The first episode of Life is Strange 2, Dontnod Entertainment’s follow-up to the widely beloved episodic game that is the first Life is Strange, is now forever free. It’s always been extremely good, though — even better than the lovely first season. Which means you should really get it.
On Sept. 17, the official Life is Strange Twitter account announced that the first episode is free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. When asked about whether it’s permanently free or free for a limited amount of time in the replies, the account confirmed it’s the former.
#LifeIsStrange2 Episode 1 is NOW FREE on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC/Steam!
— Life is Strange (@LifeIsStrange) September 17, 2020
Life is Strange 2 has often gone on sale, so it’s been an easy financial commitment. By making the first episode free — during the pandemic, no less — it’s even more accessible than ever. And people quickly responded to this move.
A few hours later, Luc Baghadoust, Executive Producer on Life is Strange and Life is Strange 2, tweeted a screenshot of the top games on Steam according to current players. Life is Strange 2 was in third place, above games like Among Us, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Fall Guys, and below only Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As of the writing of this article, 766 people are currently playing the game.
— Luc Baghadoust (@luc_baghadoust) September 17, 2020
It’s wonderful to see considering that Life is Strange 2 initially fell under the radar for some people. On Steam, it has over 16,000 reviews compared to the first Life is Strange, which has over 140,000. It’s not for a discrepancy in quality — it’s received very positively, and some fans (like me) will tell you it’s better than the first. The quality of its writing is excellent and more consistent; it’s bold, brave, and more graceful with the social subjects it tackles; it has an astounding number of endings that make your choices actually feel like they matter, whereas the first had two endings that resonated in mixed ways with players; and the bond between Sean and Daniel is simply unforgettable. But Life is Strange 2′s scattered release schedule certainly impacted its sales.
The episodes of the first Life is Strange were released approximately every two months, with the finale being the exception. (While the fourth episode of Life is Strange was released on July 28, 2015, the fifth and final episode took an extra month and was released on October 20, 2015.) The release schedule allowed it to feel like a TV show that you could anticipate the continuation of without waiting for too long.
Meanwhile, Life is Strange 2′s second episode was released four months after the first. With the exception of the time span between the third and fourth episodes, this was the approximate waiting period between installments. Four months is a long time, making it easy for players to forget to keep up with the releases. Many decided to instead wait until the whole season was done. By the time the whole season ended in December 2019, many other games had come out and game of the year discussions had already been feverishly taking place.
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The release schedule was more than understandable considering how ambitious Life is Strange 2 is compared to the first. Life is Strange 2 centers on Sean and Daniel Diaz, two brothers on the run from the police following a tragedy that upends their lives. It’s ambitious not just in what it discusses — police brutality, racism, immigration, justice, family, identity — but also in its design. Since Life is Strange 2′s structure operates as a road trip, it takes place in an entirely different location in each episode. New assets and characters were constantly made. Considering how difficult game development is, that each episode was released within four months of each other sounds difficult to comprehend.
Now that its first episode is free and we have a bit more time since we’re (hopefully) indoors as much as possible, I hope more people experience Life is Strange 2. When I spoke to co-director Michel Koch after it wrapped up, the level of care that went into this game and its story couldn’t be more clear to me, especially as a Latinx person. It’s a fantastic game in so many ways, which led to it being my favorite game of 2019 and one of my favorites of all-time.
Life is Strange 2 is available on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One.
Tell Me Why, Dontnod Entertainment’s most recent release, is out on Xbox One and PC. You can read our review of it here.