‘They originally pitched a different game’: how Square Enix discovered Life Is Strange

Developer Dontnod was trying to sell Square Enix a different game before deciding to show them Life Is Strange as an afterthought.

The episodic game has achieved over 1m sales and has picked up multiple critical plaudits, including two prizes at last month’s Develop Awards.

But it almost didn’t happen, even after Dontnod – which was suffering from financial difficulties at the time – approached Square Enix’s London team.

We like to work with external developers, and we hold external development teams in the same regard as internal teams – they really are precious to us,” said Phil Rogers, CEO of Square Enix for Europe and the Americas.

We are careful how we build relationships because we want to make sure we can really add, and the teams work in a way that we like to work, which is very open and honest. We have a team in London that spends a lot of time talking to studios.

Life is Strange came through a meeting set-up by that team. Dontnod visited us to show us a different project. We decided quite quickly that it wasn’t for us, and it was one of those great moments when they said – it was almost like a postscript to the meeting – ‘Ok, we are also working on this.’

"You could instantly see the jaws drop, and the reaction and desire to start playing with it.

It was an almost fortuitous meeting. We love the storytelling element; we feel storytelling is one of our fortes, it is very important to us as a group.

The game came out of that encounter. We love what the team is doing, we feel we can help them and we are really pleased we got to work with Dontnod.

The awards are great for a team who, at one point, didn’t know where they were going to go with Life Is Strange and whether it would ever be launched.”

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