Life is Strange: Before the Storm has been out about a month, but it’s already confirmed a few suspicions, created more bittersweet bits of nostalgia, and left the Chloe-Max (Chlax? Maloe? Pricefield. It’s Pricefield, according to rabid sources) OTP fandom winking and finger-gunning. With a few fond friends in mind, let’s launch into Life is Strange bonus theory overtime!
Do the characters in LiS have spirit animals?
A popular theory, based on a conversation between Max and groundskeeper Samuel, suggests that some (if not all) characters in Life is Strange have spirit animals. While connecting an animal to every character in the game seems like a little more homework than developers are likely to put in, certain animals do seem to crop up frequently around the main cast. The primary culprits are the doe (a deer… a female deer), butterfly, and bird. Max is frequently equated with the doe while theories waffle between birds and butterflies for Chloe and Rachel Amber.
As of the release of Before the Storm, developers have not confirmed any spirit animals, to include Samuel’s own speculation of the squirrel. Considering certain allusions in BtS though, there might be some unspoken consensus between Dontnod and Deck Nine—for instance, Chloe’s wardrobe consists of bird, butterfly, and bonus “Punk Doe” options. However, any theory, guess, or statement (including those from SoL) is currently not fact. In fact, we urge you to make your own guesses and let us know what you think! Reblog, comment, or like to pitch in! With that said, bonus theory ahead:
Chloe is the bird; Rachel Amber is the doe; and, Max is the butterfly. This configuration actually resolves some of the concerns raised in the previous LiS article. Some arguments have suggested that Chloe is the butterfly as Max encounters the butterfly when Chloe first appears in the game; it lands on her coffin in the Arcadia Bay ending; and, it appears to be the same color as her hair. However, there’s far more bird imagery associated with Chloe, including the bird trapped in her house, the nest in the Price’s garage, the dead birds in the yard, and the loading icon in BTS. Deck Nine seems to take this association a step further in their prequel with the prolific presence of a raven and Chloe’s persistent correlation of birds with freedom.
Max’s “Jane Doe” shirt seems to poke fun at the meta with her identity and personality being influenced by the anonymous player. But, the overall game emphasizes Max’s personality and often railroads player opportunities for choice, thus resulting in LiS feeling more like a visual novel than an adventure game; so, “Jane Doe” as a blank slate or unknown character doesn’t seem to fit. However, “Jane Doe” as a unidentified female victim foreshadows Rachel’s fate instead.
While the deer bust in Before the Storm might be a subtle nod to Max, it could be another element of foreshadowing as it’s watching over Frank and Chloe shortly before they encounter Rachel Amber. Chloe’s later commentary to a doe in a snow globe seems to match her kindred feelings with Rachel as well. As for the original ghost deer, its appearance coincides with places important to reestablishing Max and Chloe’s friendship and providing Chloe with closure. Although the doe disappears after the discovery of Rachel Amber’s grave, its presence at the very beginning of the game bookends Max and Chloe’s confrontation at the end.
Before BtS, the butterfly had a more tenuous connection with the characters. Dontnod used the insect more as a heavy-handed metaphor and indicator than a spirit animal. Yet, Deck Nine ties the butterfly more directly to Max in Chloe’s dream sequence. The butterfly as a symbol of transformation seems even more appropriate for Max in the course of her developing relationship with Rachel Amber by proxy.
Deck Nine concludes the first episode of Before the Storm with a provocative demonstration of some freaky wind powers on Rachel’s part. So, what if the storm belongs to the doe and not the butterfly? What if the butterfly is actually a catalyst to changing the the storm’s course?