The last few years especially have seen a notable increase in the number of western-developed narrative-driven video games. Notable entries include Telltale Games’ The Walking DeadThe Wolf Among Us, and of course Game of Thrones, which deliver their respective stories in downloadable chunks once every few months, leaving players itching to play the next episode and find out what happens.

Telltale pretty much cornered the market on this genre until French development studio DONTNOD Entertainment released the absolutely captivating five-part supernatural high school story game Life Is Strange. The game has been a surprise hit, selling over a million copies to date, with players falling in love with the endearingly complex characters, time-travelling mechanics, mellow game atmosphere, and killer soundtrack. In fact, the game has done so well for itself that publishers Square Enix have decided it’s time Japan got a piece of the photo-snapping, heavy decision-making, time-rewinding fun for themselves. Yep, Life is Strange is being released in Japan, and it’s getting an entirely new Japanese voice cast, too!

Check out the reveal trailer to hear Max, Chloe and the rest of the characters speaking Nihongo!

The news that Life Is Strange is coming to Japanese consoles and PCs was announced with a trailer on Square Enix’s official YouTube account. The game is being released for Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and PC in (seemingly) the same episodic format that western players have been able to “enjoy” (the wait for new episodes has been excruciating…). Opting not to localise the game’s title, Square Enix have made a bold move here in bringing “Raifu Izu Sutorenji” to the Japanese market, as localised western games don’t tend to do as well in Japan as homegrown efforts.

Still, since the series is currently making fans wait for the fifth and final installment to be released, we think this is the perfect time for Japanese players to jump in!

Check out the brand-new Japanese dub in the trailer below!

And here’s the original English trailer for comparison:

Rather than opting for an overly cutesy, “anime-style” voice performance for lead character Max, we’re pleased to hear that the voice actress seems to be hitting the right tone between adorably goofy and slightly sarcastic. Similarly, blue-haired Chloe’s new Japanese voice actress is hitting the nail on the head with her feisty delivery—Chloe is a total badass, after all.

The game is also getting a publicity push with the launch of a new Japanese website, and the creation of an official Japanese Twitter account, @LIS_JPN.

▲ “Life Is Strange, an adventure game featuring a high school girl who lives in a rural Oregon town, is coming to PS3/PS4 and PC in Japan.”

Both of the two new female voice leads took to Twitter to announce their involvement and express their excitement over the game.

The part of Chloe will be performed by voice actress Lynn:

▲ “I’ll be playing Chloe! She’s a somewhat boyish young woman. I hope you’re looking forward to the release!”

And Max will be voiced by Kumi Tanaka:

▲ “It’s a somewhat unusual game with plenty of twists and turns like a TV drama. I’ll be playing the clumsy yet earnest main character Max. Yoroshiku!”

It’s interesting that this game in particular is seeing localisation into Japanese, as the game itself is already a pretty international effort. Developed by French studio DONTNOD, the story was originally written in French and adapted to English to make sure the game was accessible to as many players as possible. American voice talent has been instrumental in the success of Life Is Strange, with strong performances by the two female leads Hannah Telle (Max) and Ashly Burch (Chloe) helping to lend a sense of realism to the proceedings. The American Pacific Northwest backdrop is also masterfully crafted, and the town of Arcadia Bay feels like a real place, which has helped to create an experience that feels like more than just a video game.

Additionally, unlike previous “choose your own adventure”-style video games which allow players to choose certain paths only to wind up in the same place, Life Is Strange allows for a much more individualised playthrough. Fail to care enough about a certain character, for example, and they can wind up dead for the remainder of the game.

▼ Oh boy, we can’t wait to see what the Japanese cosplayers come up with!

One aspect of the game that has attracted criticism, however, is the dialogue. While many find the pseudo-American slang charming, certain lines fall awkwardly flat, with characters often coming out with howlers which no native English-speaking person would ever say. (Chloe’s misuse of the term ‘hella’ is hella awkward, for example.) Perhaps there was something lost in translation between the original French script and the English dub, but overall the English voice acting and dialogue has been of a very high standard, and the characters feel endearingly real. We’re excited to see how the Japanese localisation turns out!

Source: YouTube/Square Enix, Twitter/@LIS_JPN
Images: Screenshot via YouTube/Square Enix