Everyone has someone in their life who they would do nearly anything for. In Life is Strange by Square Enix, the user plays as Max Caulfield. She goes to school for photography at Blackwell Academy in Arcadia Bay, Oregon. Max discovers that she can rewind time. She saves her old best friend Chloe Price from being shot by Nathan Prescott. The two reunited friends then go on to figure out what happened to Chloe’s new best friend Rachel Amber. Max had moved away for five years, and Rachel became important to Chloe. Chloe and Max figure out that it was not just Rachel, but a lot of other girls at Blackwell that had gone missing. They found out that it was Max’s photo teacher, Mr. Jefferson, kid-napping the girls. In the end Max has to choose whether to go back in time and let Chloe die to save Arcadia Bay, or let Arcadia Bay die and keep Chloe. While most players may not see this, Max is in an unhealthy friendship with Chloe in Life is Strange.
The signs of an unhealthy relationship begin in episode one. While Max is in Chloe’s room, she has to hide somewhere in the room. This game is decision based, and depending on how you play, Max ends up getting caught and Chloe gets angry if Max does not cover for her. Max just came back into Chloe’s life earlier that day. Yet Chloe expects her to lie for her.
All of the morally bad decisions in the game narrow down to if you want to help Chloe and make her happy. In episode three, Max and Chloe break into the principal’s office and there is five thousand dollars in a drawer for a charity. One of the choices is to give Chloe the money to pay back the drug dealer, Frank. Later on Max tells Chloe that Rachel was dating Frank and she does not believe her. Healthy relationships revolve around trust, and Chloe does not trust Max. She did not trust her about her powers and now she does not trust Max about Rachel ad Frank. Chloe gets angry again when she finds proof that Max is telling the truth then takes her rage out on her. Max did nothing wrong and did not deserve to be yelled at and blamed. The video “Healthy Relationships” had a similar scenario. There was a man and a woman in a relationship, and the Man had a female friend whom the girlfriend did not like. The Man did not realize how his girlfriend was feeling and therefore disregarded everything she said. This is (almost) exactly like Max and Chloe. “…Because [she] is so in tune to one of [her] best friend’s problems, [she] is not taking consideration of what is going on with [her] girlfriend either….” (Healthy Relationships). With the girlfriend being Max and Chloe’s best friend being Rachel, this scenario of a bad relationship matches the relationship between Max and Chloe in Life is Strange.
In episode 5, Max breaks down and her brain goes into this miss concept of reality. She is tied up in Jefferson’s dark room and she sees Chloe talking to Nathan, Chloe says “…plus she’s like my personal puppet…” in reference to Max. Later in the same episode Max talks to a non-playable character (NPC) version of herself. NPC Max is trying to guilt trip Max’s decisions and feelings regarding Chloe. Max says to NPC Max
“Chloe does a better job of guilt-tripping me than you do.” Then NPC Max replies “…because you let her bully you….”
All of the previous conversations (that were in reference to previous decisions and conversations in the game) in the miss concept of reality scene can be inferred by the player to have been thoughts that Max thought of herself or others throughout the game. Therefore, Max talking to NPC Max is the developer and designer’s way of revealing that Max thinks Chloe mistreats her throughout the game.
An unhealthy relationship has the following characteristics according to “Healthy Relationships” and the DDS Safety Net: one person decides everything, one or both people yell, the person only goes places the friend wants to go, the person does not like what their friend does/says, and it can cause the person to do poorly in school. Chloe always convinces Mas that it is a good idea to do things. Like break into a school, then go swimming in said school. Chloe said it was a good idea to steal from frank the drug dealer. It was Chloe’s idea to go shoot bottles with a stolen gun. It took Max forever to get a photo to submit for her class, and there are other references throughout the game that Max is falling beind in school. Max never really used her power for herself either. Saving Chloe from the beginning was Max’s choice and she did not even realize who it was first, but that does not change the fact that everything Max does in the game was for Chloe and her problems.
During the whole game, Max continuously passes out when her powers are drained (from helping Chloe so much) and she keeps seeing Arcadia Bay going through a storm. Later she discovers that using her powers is what had caused Arcadia Bay’s storm. The final choice of the game is to let Chloe die, therefore saving the whole town, or let Chloe live, therefore killing everyone. My choice was purely off of how I saw Max and Chloe’s relationship. Chloe was in so much emotional pain and felt abandoned and even asked Max to kill her. So I made the choice to let her die. Max did so much for Chloe but what did Chloe ever do for max?
In the video “Healthy Relationships” one of the therapists say that “both people have to be healthy to begin with”. Chloe went through a lot, she lost her dad, lost Max when she left, got an awful step-dad, and then lost Rachel. Max was not in that great of a place when they rekindled their friendship either. Max was bullied by Veronica at school and already starting to fall behind with her assignments. Even if it is not just Chloe’s fault the relationship is not healthy, she is still the manipulative and abusive one. Some friendships may seem stable, but if there is no give and take or compromise then it is not very healthy. If a person never stands up for themselves and is always trying to please the other person, it is a sign to move on from that relationship.