It is with great pride that I can announce today we have reached 1000 registered Members on Life Is Strange Fans! This is something I didn’t really imagine was possible. Only a few months ago, just before I launched the site, I told myself I would be perfectly happy with around 500 Members and I expected that to come in maybe 6 months, if not longer.
We’ve reached 1000 Members in less than 2.
My expectations have been exceeded, as they constantly are by this community. I built this place for all fans of Life Is Strange to come together, and I’ve received so many amazing comments about the site, but it is the community itself that makes Life Is Strange Fans what it is. It is the fans who continue to impress, surprise and humble me.
So thank you to all the current Members who have helped to prove that the Life Is Strange community is the most welcoming gaming community ever. And thank you to all the Staff who have so far helped me to maintain and grow the site with your knowledge, feedback and support: Fire, Zoli, Chloe, Max, Kirk, Garretta, Nate, Roy, Jamie, Joey and Jess.
There have been so many great moments already in the past 2 months: the introduction of Roleplaying features; the Pricefield VS Grahamfield Campaign; the Golden Hour Photo Contest; launching our Tumblr; breaking 1K Members on the Facebook page; the share from the official Life Is Strange social channels that crashed the site(!) and of course, the Blackwell Podcast guys joining us and allowing us to take part in both the creation of Hanna Telle’s fan journal and the emotional live stream in which it was revealed to her. This is only a taste of what is to come, of what this site can be and should aspire to be, and everyone – staff or otherwise – can help to get us there.
I cannot overstate how lucky we are to have the support of Square Enix and in particular the Community Manager Toby Palm. Not all publishers are as supportive or inclusive as they have been and will hopefully continue to be. We have some great collaborative events coming up so keep a look out for them.
I knew Life Is Strange was a special game within 10 minutes of playing it. Some would argue that even the menu screen, with its serene, calming image of Arcadia Bay, bathed in the game’s trademark golden hour aesthetic, coupled with Jonathan Morali’s memorable and poignant score, was enough to convince them that this was something different. Something unexpected and groundbreaking. It was as if the developers Dontnod Entertainment were gently grabbing us by the hand, easing us into the game and whispering ‘Are you ready for this?’ So many of us were not in fact ready for the emotional roller coaster that would follow, whether we played it as each episode was released over 9 months – devouring every insane mind-bending theory along the way – or in one single overwhelming playthrough.
I’ve received and read countless stories from fans of the game who have claimed Life Is Strange changed their lives. I can believe it. Most of the Users of this site are not the ones who played the game, thought ‘Hey, that was cool,’ and moved onto the next game. These are people for whom Life Is Strange consumed their lives in the best possible way. We stayed up late, lost in Max and Chloe’s world and even as we slipped off to bed our sleep was troubled by questions yet unanswered. We went to work, distracted and excited to share its existence with others. We brewed theories in our heads on our lunch breaks, even as we stared into our own coffee brewing before us. We picked up our pencils, brushed the dust off our WACOM tablets and gleefully browsed thrift shops, trying to piece together the best cosplay costumes. We discovered or rediscovered a love of photography. Some of us even began to keep journals, our thoughts inspired by Max Caulfield, wallflower and everyday hero.
Many of us cried. And it was not just because we became attached to the characters – it was because we were them, or recognised them. The Kate Marsh’s of the world, driven to the edge of sanity – bullied by the Victoria Chase’s of the world; insecure and quick to judge. The Chloe Price’s of the world; rebelling against a crushingly unfair spiral of grief.
When the game was over and as we each allowed our chosen ending to sink in, we sought out closure. We needed more, and we found it in the astonishing fan-created content that is out there and continues to be created and shared every single day. I recognised, even as the game was still only partly-finished, that this content, whether in its creation or consumption, was a kind of therapy – a coping mechanism to provide our own answers to questions Life Is Strange prompted us to ask. “Why did my father do that to our family?” “Why did my mother say that?” “Who are my friends really?” “Why is that girl always sitting on her own in class?” “How far would I go for the people I love?” And the biggest question of all: “Am I the only one thinking these thoughts?”
The sheer volume of art created in this game’s name and the passion surrounding it – the way in which each of us has been inspired to help improve the lives of others while sharing our stories and our passions with likeminded, goodhearted people – clearly and unequivocally answers that question. So bold and perfect is the answer that we are beginning to shout it aloud in one single voice…
No. We are not alone. We are Life Is Strange Fans.
Chris Anderson is the creator of Life Is Strange Fans. He is interested in all things creative, be that Film Making, Digital Art, 3D Art, Graphic Design and Video Game Development.
He is also an aspiring Writer and has been developing a fantasy series for over 10 years.