Life is Strange: Double Exposure – Preview

Here's everything new we just learned about Life is Strange: Double Exposure.
life is strange double exposure

A fresh look at Life is Strange: Double Exposure has been revealed in a new Square Enix / Deck Nine livestreamed showcase focussed on the mystery and adventure of the upcoming sequel. As confirmed earlier in Xbox Games Showcase, Double Exposure features the return of Max Caulfield, the protagonist of the original Life is Strange.

In this sequel, she’ll investigate the death of her friend Safi – an investigation which is complicated by the fact that Max can still hear Safi’s voice, and visit her through alternate dimensions. This strange power will guide her quest, as she works her way to the heart of a new mystery.

Here’s everything else we learned during the Double Exposure reveal livestream.

Life is Strange: Double Exposure – Plot

An extended look at gameplay in the Life is Strange: Double Exposure showcase revealed the plot of this sequel will kick off with the death of Safi, one of Max’s close friends. In the opening moments of the footage, Max, Safi, and their friend Moses are sitting together on a rooftop, gazing at shooting stars.

Max converses with her friends, making light-hearted banter, and they discuss the nature of art, and whether it needs to be perceived to mean something. Along the way, the player can make choices that will define who Max is – in dialogue, and otherwise. One of these choices is which mug Max will take to put her drink in, and while this seems inconsequential, a pop-up warns players that their actions will have consequences down the track.

Image: Square Enix / Deck Nine

On the roof, the three friends continue to chat, with dialogue being light and bouncy – but we do learn a few significant things in this scene. For one thing, we know Max is secretive with her new friends, and she rarely reveals anything about her past. Safi makes fun of this fact, but Max won’t be pressed on sharing anything more.

Safi has her own secrets, as well. While spending time with her friends, she takes a mysterious phone call, and walks away to deal with it. In the meantime, Max takes a photo of the stars – and immediately suffers a major headache, seemingly of the magical variety.

Read: Xbox Games Showcase 2024 – Every major game announcement

When she feels better, Safi is gone – and so, Max chooses to pack it in, and head home. Walking through the snow, she spots an owl, and takes a photo. Max again gets a magical headache, and appears to faint. When she wakes, Moses is by her side. He helps her up, and they walk off together – but then, Max hears a gunshot.

Worried, they run through the snow… and find Safi alone on a park bench, dead. With a bang, this kicks off the events of Life is Strange: Double Exposure.

What is Max Caulfield’s ability in Double Exposure?

As detailed by developers in the Life is Strange: Double Exposure livestream, Max Caulfield now has the ability to shift between two parallel timelines – which is slightly different from her powerset in the original Life is Strange. Harnessing this ability, Max will be able to visualise the events of a parallel reality, and enter this timeline.

Based on early details, it appears the “alt Safi” of the double world is also under threat of being killed, and it will be up to Max to investigate these circumstances, to determine how to save her, and stop the killer for good.

Image: Square Enix / Deck Nine Games

Max’s new abilities allow her to explore two different versions of the game’s setting, both of which have their own quirks. Using a “pulse” of a sort, she’ll be able to detect where the veil between the worlds is weakest, and around these locations, she’ll get deeper glimpses into key suspects and clues.

Notably, Felice Kuan, Narrative Director, confirmed during the livestream that Max will no longer be able to rewind time, as in Life is Strange. This was described as a trauma response to seeing Safi killed – but the deeper reasons for this block will be explored throughout Double Exposure.

Do you need to have played other Life is Strange games?

In discussing this new chapter of Life is Strange, Kuan described each of the Life is Strange games as being standalone, and said players are not required to play any of them to enjoy Double Exposure. Players new to Max’s story in this chapter will get all the context they need for the original Life is Strange, and new characters will act as an avatar (of sorts) for newbies – asking questions of Max, and her past.

As an added note – Double Exposure will respect both endings of Life is Strange, with no “canon” ending confirmed in this story. Max’s thoughts and journal will reflect that in the game. We’ll learn more about these events, and what Max has been up to since we saw her last, when Double Exposure releases later this year.

Life is Strange: Double Exposure is set to launch on 29 October 2024.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.