More than three years after the release of its time-rewinding, episodic adventure Life Is Strange, French video game developer Dontnod Entertainment is in the midst of developing a sequel. While we don’t know much about it, except that it focuses on new characters in the same universe, we’ll learn more on June 26th when Dontnod releases a free, one-off game called The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit.
Set in another fictional Oregon town called Beaver Creek three years after the original Life is Strange, Captain Spirit will take place over the course of a single Saturday morning. It follows Chris, 10-year-old boy who imagines he has superpowers. Co-creative director Raoul Barbet says that Chris was a character Dontnod came up with while working on Life is Strange 2, but they wanted to do something more in-depth with him. “As a 10-year-old boy, you’ve got this powerful imagination we all have as a boy, as a lonely boy,” he tells The Verge. “We wanted to talk about that, the fact that sometimes it’s interesting to be able to escape the difficult reality with your imagination.”
Underneath the cute conceit of Captain Spirit — that the powers he uses in-game are just a product of his imagination — lurks a more serious story. Chris’ mother is out of the picture, and his dad struggles with alcohol abuse. “This is something we really wanted to talk about, what is it to be a child on your own,” Barbet says. “I think it’s interesting also to remember when you’re a boy like him, you’re quite young, but you start to understand some stuff of the adult world.”
Although the first Life is Strange included a supernatural hook (a teenage girl with the power to rewind time), Barbet says that for Dontnod, the goal is to keep its stories grounded in reality — specifically, the one it’s created already with Life is Strange.
“We knew that we wanted to keep the same universe for the game, even if it’s other characters,” Barbet says. “So it was interesting for us to go, ‘Okay, how are we going to connect everything?’” The demo has already offered a few small connections to Life is Strange, like a letter from Blackwell Academy. Still, Barbet says it’s about keeping it believable. “It’s not about creating a multiverse,” he says. “It’s more how you connect in a realistic way, the story.”