A game about emotions. Life is Strange: True Colors is an experience that involves the player at 360°, exploiting the immense supernatural powers that characterises Alex Chen - the main protagonist in Deck Nine Games' new episodic game, expected at the end of this summer. On the occasion of a new Square Enix Presents' showcase, Gamereactor was able to know more about it, through a short video which details Alex's powers in the game, psychic powers that exploit empathy and that allow the young woman to establish relationships with Haven Springs' inhabitants, where True Colors is set, and discover their innermost secrets.
We won't go into detail on Life is Strange: True Colors' plot again, since we offered a broad overview of the narrative side in our first preview a few months ago. However, one of the most important features of this new adventure developed by Deck Nine Games lies in the supernatural powers possessed by Alex, the power of empathy: the young woman, in fact, is able to perceive the aura of other people and, through it, feels their emotions and what they feel. Each emotion is characterised by different colours: for example, red corresponds to anger, purple to fear, blue to sadness - and this allows the protagonist to weave different relationships with the other characters.
For years, Alex has been unable to block the intense emotions felt by the people around her - which is why she feels that the powers she possesses are more of a curse than a blessing. After having repudiated this ability for years, Alex understands that exploiting this paranormal power is the only way to discover the truth behind her brother Gabe's death, which took place in mysterious circumstances, especially following the profound silence that exists within Haven Springs after this tragic event.
The interesting aspect is that the player can start using Alex's powers from the very first moments of the game. Each character Alex encounters, in fact, is surrounded by an aura of different colours and, through the A button (on Xbox), Alex can focus on it and find out what feeling is gripping her/his soul. Discovering people's feelings has different values: firstly, Alex can learn information, otherwise kept hidden, from the different NPCs and, consequently, unlock new dialogue options and events that - as happens in any game of the Life is Strange series - lead to different outcomes throughout the story.
In particular, we saw during a preview presentation one of the first sequences of the game. Alex reaches the town pub and runs into Mac, who is sitting thoughtfully on a stool. Sensing his purple aura, the girl unlocks the dialogue with him and learns of a secret that the man does not want to reveal to his girlfriend, Riley, but he also fears that Alex will tell everyone before he talks to her. At that point, while Riley and Mac are engaged in a conversation, Alex has the option of intervening in two ways: to say that Mac is telling lies or to prevent the two characters from arguing. Clearly, whatever the player's decision as Alex is, it will have different effects on her relationship with the characters and with the ramification of events over the course of the different episodes.
In addition to being able to perceive others' auras, Alex is able to grasp the more intense ones with which she can more actively connect to that person's emotions. This generates a sort of nova, an empathic explosion that transforms the surrounding world into that person's psyche. In these sequences in particular Alex can hear thoughts and memories to better understand what causes that particular emotion in that character. However, some emotions are stronger and more overwhelming to handle than others, to the point that they can be really dangerous.
From the footage we've seen, it looks like Alex can draw some of that negative feeling onto herself to keep the person from being overwhelmed - but again, it's all in the player's hands. Alex will often wonder if, on a moral level, this practice is right towards people and how positive her intervention is in that sense. As we were reminded several times during the video presentation, once again the decisions (moral or otherwise) will be in the hands of the player, who will guide Alex's experience, her relationships with the various inhabitants of Haven Springs and the events that will take place throughout the story. It's all in your hands!
Although it was a fleeting glimpse, Alex's powers made us very curious. The ability of perceiving people's most hidden secrets puts us morally in front of a dilemma: how much are we willing to push ourselves to know the darker sides of the characters, to go deep into their soul, in order to know the mystery behind Gabe's death? How right is it to dig into the memories, the past and the privacy of Haven Springs' people, perhaps even touching very personal aspects, in order to satisfy Alex's thirst for knowledge? We're ready to get involved and can't wait to put our skills to the test as soon as Life is Strange: True Colors is available, starting from September 10 on PC, Stadia, Xbox One / Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 4/5.