Life is Strange 2 is nearing its conclusion, and it’s safe to say that the series has made no efforts to avoid serious political and social themes in its depiction of Mexican-American kids in the modern US landscape. While big publishers like Ubisoft mine inherently political settings while avoiding statements, Dontnod has been able to take its own ideas seriously.
“I’m really happy our publisher allows us to talk about tough subjects,” director Michael Koch tells GamesIndustry.biz. “We could be afraid of representation or talking about those heavy subjects and important themes because the choices we make when talking about these subjects can be divisive. It shouldn’t be, but it is.”
Koch says the game’s inclusive themes are about more than race. “We’re living in a world that I think is getting more and more intolerant. With social media, most of the time we talk with only people that think exactly like us.” That’s part of why we see Sean crying in LIS2, “to show that masculinity doesn’t have to be just a big guy who doesn’t show any emotion. You can see that often in video games. We tried to stay away from ideas of what toxic masculinity can be.”
In contrast to games that try to be apolitical, Koch says “Not talking about something is having a position, because you decide to not talk about it.”
Koch says “I hope when players finish Life is Strange 2, they walk away wanting to talk more to other people when they meet someone that’s different from them. Maybe to not look away, but to engage in conversation, talking to people who maybe live on the fringe of society.”