Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is a graphic adventure played from a third-person view. The player assumes control of sixteen-year-old Chloe Price, three years prior to Life Is Strange. Unlike its predecessor, the game does not include time travel. Instead, Before the Storm features the ability “Backtalk”, with which the player can call upon Chloe to get out of certain precarious situations; “Backtalk” may also make a situation worse. A dialogue tree is used when a conversation or commentary is prompted. Occasional decisions will temporarily or permanently change outcomes. The environment can be interacted with and altered, including marking walls with graffiti.
Sixteen-year-old Chloe Price enters an old mill to attend a house concert. Conflict arises with two men inside, whom she evades when schoolmate Rachel Amber causes a distraction. The next day, Chloe and Rachel reunite at school. They decide to stow away on a cargo train, ending up at a lookout point. Using a viewfinder there, Rachel is upset by what she sees and insists on getting drunk. Having stolen some wine, they take a walk to a scrapyard. Chloe confronts Rachel about her change in mood, but is refused an answer. After Rachel leaves, Chloe discovers the wrecked car in which her father was killed. She meets up with Rachel again, who discloses that she witnessed her father cheating on her mother through the viewfinder. Rachel destroys a family photo in a burning trash bin, and in a fit of rage kicks it over, igniting a wildfire.
Publisher Square Enix chose Deck Nine to develop the prequel to Life Is Strange after the developer’s proprietary StoryForge tools had made an impression. Development started in 2016 with the Unity game engine. Rhianna DeVries, who initially did the game’s motion capture for Chloe Price, voices the character, while the original voice actress Ashly Burch serves as writing consultant. Burch did not reprise her role due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. The music was written and performed by the British indie folk band Daughter, and released as an official soundtrack by Glassnote Records on 1 September 2017. Instrumentation was employed to represent different sides of the lead character: piano for isolation, electric guitar for rebelliousness, and layered vocals for friendship. Daughter took the script and concept artwork as inspiration.