FOMO is alive and well—Life is Strange: Double Exposure has a 2-week early access period if you cough up some dough for its Ultimate Edition

Max, protagonist of Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Double Exposure, stares with trepidation at something off-screen with her friend.
(Image credit: Deck Nine Games / Square Enix)

I was a little hard on Life is Strange earlier this week, but it is still a game I overall liked—which is why it's a shame to see Square Enix shooting itself in the foot with a publishing decision which, on the face of it, doesn't make a lick of sense.

Life is Strange: Double Exposure is a direct sequel to the first game in the series, following Maxine Caulfield as she gains the ability to walk between parallel universes to solve the mystery of yet another dead best friend. The poor gal just can't catch a break.

The game has, naturally, a Deluxe Edition and an Ultimate Edition. We can all probably agree that these are annoying inclusions, especially for a narrative-driven game, but at the very least the absence of a couple of outfits isn't going to have a major impact on the story.

The base edition of the game costs around $50, the Deluxe edition is $60, and the Ultimate edition sits at a whopping $80—curiously enough, the only difference for those of us paying in pounds sterling is a £5 'discount' on the Ultimate edition. The base game still costs £50 and £60 for us, which isn't how conversion rates work, but maybe we live in a parallel universe where the GBP is suffering even more than it is already.

The real kicker—aside from a side quest about rescuing a cat—is that the Ultimate edition will offer early access to the game's first episodes an entire two weeks before release (thanks, Eurogamer), a decision which is, quite frankly, unfathomable.

I don't think paid early access is great under most circumstances, but I get why it exists. If you like something, you might be willing to play it early—supply, meet demand. But that's typically in multiplayer titles, or games where story is an afterthought, and it's usually only a handful of days—not two weeks.

In the case of Life is Strange: Double Exposure, however, the story is the entire point, and big time spoilers will naturally spread across the internet like wildfire shortly after the game goes live. As if to twist the knife further, the game's Steam page reads: "Don't miss your chance to join the conversation around this unforgettable supernatural murder mystery!"—FOMO is alive and well, it seems.

Some fans are, understandably, pissed: "There's pretty much 0 moderation [on YouTube] and people will ruthlessly put the exact spoiler in the title and thumbnail, so you are screwed simply by the algorithm," writes 68ideal in the game's subreddit.

"I don't think there's anybody out there who thinks it's a good move," writes another would-be player: "The problem is there's also people who are willing to cave and buy it anyway which shows companies like Square Enix they can get away with using early access as an upgrade incentive."

Otherwise, negative community sentiment doesn't appear to have grown into a tidal wave ala the Helldivers 2 PSN controversy—over on Twitter, nostalgia, excitement, and demands that Chloe Price be brought out of hiding (alas, I'm getting major bay over bae hints from the trailer) abound. Still, it's early days, and I can't help but wonder if we'll see more frustration once the spoilerific YouTube thumbnails hit. Life is Strange: Double Exposure releases October 29—unless you pay an extra $30 of course, in which case you'll get it October 15.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.