Update June 19, 2017: Chloe's new voice actress is doing well, according to the lead writer of Life is Strange: Before the Storm.
Rihanna DeVries, the new voice of Life is Strange’s protagonist Chloe, did such a good job that senior members of the original dev team didn't even comment on her performance.
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We first heard a few weeks ago that Life is Strange, the coming-of-age cult hit, was getting a prequel. About ten days later, we heard that Ashly Burch would not reprise her role as Chloe due to the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike (see original story, below).
Lead writer Zak Garris has now discussed the issue. He says it was “heartbreaking, not getting Ash in,” and that the team “contemplated lots of different ways to react, including abandoning the project.” In the end, they shared the script with Ashly, and, intrigued, she volunteered her services as a story consultant.
“She’s a fantastic writer,” says Garris. “Every single line of dialogue from high level story concept to any little VO line, we’ve shared with Ashly… she’s really become a huge voice toward shaping Chloe at this particular time in her life.”
Chloe is now played by Rihanna DeVries, who Garris says has “done a fantastic job.” So much so, in fact, that the original producer, co-directors and writer “didn't even notice that it was Rihanna... they were totally immersed in her voice.”
There's been a bit of Twitter drama over the issue, with actress Felicia Day tweeting the following (and even calling DeVries a "scab" in another tweet):
Wait, so they hired non union actors instead of rehiring you? Am I hearing that right?! Whelp, won't be buying that game. Sad. :/ https://t.co/VUeOwRu38i— Felicia Day (@feliciaday) June 13, 2017
Clearly, Burch doesn't resent new developers Deck Nine Games enough to refuse to work as a story consultant, so perhaps Day is being a bit hasty.
For more, check out the full interview with Garris over at Eurogamer. They were pleasantly surprised when the game was shown at E3 last week, but our own Ben Maxwell was less impressed, describing it as similarly warm and nostalgic, but also suffering from the same forced-feeling youth speak that defined its forebear.
Original story June 13, 2017: Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a story-led prequel to Life is Strange, showing us what life was like in Arcadia Bay three years prior to Max’s return. We take control of Max’s best friend, Chloe, for the adventure.
Chloe’s original voice actress, Ashly Burch, has won awards for her portrayal of the rebellious teen, but she won’t be reprising her role for the prequel. This is because of the SAG-AFTRA voice actor strikes, according to an announcement by Burch on Twitter.
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— Ashly Burch (@ashly_burch) June 12, 2017
While it’s not the best news, Burch is working on the game in a writing consultancy role, helping the new developers keep the character of Chloe consistent, even if her voice isn’t.
For more info on Life is Strange: Before the Storm, hit up that link for the latest trailer.