I wasn’t joking in my last article when I said that, to me, Chloe Price from Life Is Strange is the best video game character I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know. Revan from Knights Of the Old Republic would be another great one, but one of the biggest reasons I love the character of Chloe so much is because of how grounded she is. Allow me to explain.
When we first see Chloe, Max Caulfield doesn’t recognize her, and for understandable reasons. Over the years, she has completely changed her physical appearance, and in a lot of ways, her own personality. Her father died when she was younger and her mother marries someone else that she doesn’t like at all, her best friend Max practically abandoned her and didn’t write back whenever Chloe wrote letters to her, and her newer best friend Rachael one day disappears without a trace. It is at this point that Chloe feels completely and hopelessly alone. She gets mixed up in the wrong crowds, falls into a drug addiction, takes medication for depression, and changes her appearance much to the dismay of her stepfather.
In more ways than one, she has become a different person, and Max notices this when she comes back into her life. She realizes how much of her friend’s life she has missed while she was gone, and she carries the guilt of having not been there for Chloe when she really needed someone. The game effectively shows us exactly how Chloe has changed, and we get to feel that change through Max’s eyes. When we first get to explore Chloe’s room, Max realizes how much Chloe has changed and we “feel” it, even though we as the players personally have never known Chloe up until now. Because of this, it just shows how effective and powerful the writing and the atmosphere are. We sympathize for Chloe, even though so many of her actions are questionable.
In short, Chloe should remind us of someone in our own lives. Most of us have someone in our lives that we’ve known for a long time and have noticed him or her change pretty drastically as we grow up. It’s inevitable that people change, whether we can accept that or not. We can choose to back off or we can choose to stay by that friend’s side, but whatever we do when it comes to our friends, we have to accept that things and people change, as painful as that may be at first.
Spoilers coming up: By the end of the game, Chloe has been as fleshed out as she could quite possibly be (something the prequel Before the Storm will have to try and top). She has reached a point now where even though she acted like she didn’t care about anybody throughout the story, she’s willing to do the selfless, sacrificial thing to save everybody from certain destruction by tornado. If it means that Max would have to travel back in time and allow Chloe to get shot by rich kid Nathan Prescott, then so be it. She is a character that has truly changed, because not only is she willing to save everyone (which would include her stepfather), but she’s also willing to accept her own fate and demise. While she spent the majority of the game only looking out for herself, she is finally willing to be the sacrifice for everyone. On top of that, before Max rewinds back to that fateful day when Chloe gets shot, Chloe gets to know that someone cared about her enough to never leave her. Not again anyway. End Of Spoilers.
To finish off, I’d like to share one of my favorite parts of the whole game involving Chloe. It’s a sequence where she’s not talking or even doing much at all. At one point, Chloe asks you to turn on her stereo and leave her alone for a little bit while she “medicates” (smoking grass). When you turn the stereo on, the song that plays is called “Santa Monica Dream”. In a way, it pretty much exactly captures Chloe’s own grief because of separation. She lost her dear friend Rachael. Together, they planned on ‘ruling the world’ and becoming famous away from their home town of Arcadia Bay. Though you don’t know about all of that yet at this point in the game, the song is a clear hint towards Chloe’s own past and trials. That’s one of the best things about this game. So many of the different components that make up the game are symbolic one way or another.