Dontnod Entertainment's next entry into the Life is Strange franchise is The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, and it's meant to place adults into the unfiltered mind of a 10 year-old boy. The studio made a name for themselves when they released their cyberpunk game Remember Me in 2013, which gave them the clout they needed to develop the first installment in the Life is Strange series for publisher Square Enix.
Life is Strange released in 2015 and became an immediate success, earning industry awards for its storytelling and immersive gameplay. That's something that developer Deck Nine tried to emulate with their 2017 prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and something that Dontnod Entertainment will continue to do with their upcoming sequel, Life is Strange 2. But before Dontnod dives straight into a sequel, they have created a standalone spinoff that will give their fans a glimpse into the world of Life is Strange 2.
Square Enix and Dontnod Entertainment brought an extended, hands-off gameplay presentation for The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit to E3 2018, and Screen Rant got a chance to check out the free-to-play title before it releases later this month. Here's everything we learned about the game:
- It’s a free-to-play, standalone story set within the Life is Strange universe, and it’s the "first introduction" into Life is Strange 2.
- Playing the first Life if Strange isn’t necessary to understand this game.
- The main character is a 10 year-old boy named Chris, who lives in a small town. The game is set during winter. The game is also all about his imagination - he becomes Captain Spirit.
- Captain Spirit’s look is customizable, which happens narratively: Chris draws Captain Spirit and the player chooses if he gets a mask, a cape, what color, etc.
- Not much later, players search the house for items to make Captain Spirit’s costume based on how he was designed earlier.
- The game is approximately 2 hours long but has lots of replayability due to choices affecting gameplay and the story.
- It's built on Unreal Engine 4; Life is Strange was designed on Unreal 3.
- Chris loves to pretend he’s a superhero, which is why he becomes Captain Spirit. He also has friends and allies, such as the Sky Pirate.
- The game’s main villain appears to be the Snowmancer.
- One of the quests we saw was Chris/Captain Spirit taming the Water Eater, which was really just him resetting the Water Heater in the garage. But in the game, players see a dark, fantastical enemy with powers, which Captain Spirit defeats with superpowers of his own - again, his imagination alters the world around him.
- Players can make whatever choices they want and it will affect the overall gameplay and story. "Every choice can lead to a new superhero adventure," according to producer Luc Baghadoust.
- For instance, when Chris’ father calls him down for breakfast, he can go right away or stay in his room and explore a little more. If he stays, his father might get angry, which could lead to an altercation or argument.
- There are plenty of Life is Strange easter eggs in this game, such as names mentioned in hidden letters.
- Chris’ mom is gone, though it wasn’t revealed if she was dead or not.
- This game is non-linear. Players can explore inside or outside the house and interact with all kinds of objects. It’s essentially gameplay through dialogue and interaction. Players choose what to do from the very beginning; it’s their story.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a triple-A game, but it's designed to be an immersive adventure that tides fans over until Life is Strange 2 eventually releases. But the fact that it subtly ties into the first game through easter eggs and provides a first look into the forthcoming sequel is a good thing. Plus, it's standalone, which means that anyone can enjoy its story and gameplay and then go back and play Life is Strange without having played the original game first.
What's more, the update to the graphics by using Unreal Engine 4 also shows what Life is Strange 2 might look like. It's a noticeable difference, and Dontnod Entertainment has also added additional time into making the dialogue feel more natural than they were in Life is Strange. As long as all of that continues in Life is Strange 2, then fans should be pleased. But for now, they can play The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit when it hits consoles and PC on June 26.