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Name: Julio
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Character Name: Maxine (“Max”) Caulfield
Series: Life is Strange
Timeline: One week after the end of the game (one week after Chloe’s funeral)
Canon Resource Link:
Max’s background and game history
Brief game summary with links to more details
1 2 3 Posts describing major choices made throughout the game

Character History: (I've written out a history here that only takes into account the major events in the game. However, some of Max’ choices are minor, but are very important to determining Max’ personality. I plan to play Max using the choices listed in the last few links of the “Canon Resource Link” section. Please refer to those links for a better understanding of Max’s character.)

(Please note that Life is Strange has several dark themes underlying the story, including suicide, kidnapping, using drugs on victims, and others.)

Max was born on September 21, 1995, and grew up in the quiet fishing town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon. Her closest childhood friend was Chloe Price, and together they had a lot of “adventures,” often imagining themselves as pirates exploring and planning to take over the town. The two children were inseparable, and strongly loyal to one another. From an early age, Max also showed a keen interest in photography.

In 2008, shortly after the tragic death of Chloe’s father in a car accident, Max’s family moved to Seattle. Despite it being a very trying time for Chloe, Max never once contacted her best friend for five years. Max found Seattle endearing and often spoke fondly of it, especially how it seemed like a real hub for artists. Her time in Seattle allowed her to develop her passion for photography more, especially using instant analog film.

In 2013, after learning that one of her photography idols, Mark Jefferson, was teaching at Blackwell Academy (an arts school in Arcadia Bay), Max applied to the school for her senior high school year and was accepted with a scholarship in its photography program. She moved to the school’s dormitory in August and began school in September. Generally, she found the school program exciting and was impressed with Jefferson, but also found most of the students somewhat immature. Despite having arrived in August, Max did not contact Chloe Price.

Episode 1: Chrysalis
On October 7th, Max has a vision about a huge tornado ravaging Arcadia Bay. She then wakes up in Jefferson’s class and afterward goes to the bathroom to calm down. On the way there, she notices several missing persons posters referring to Rachel Amber (a Blackwell student prior to her disappearance). While Max takes a picture of a butterfly in the bathroom, Nathan Prescott bursts into the girl’s bathroom, and does not see Max. He is obviously distressed, and is soon followed in by a blue haired girl. An argument between the girl and Nathan ensues, in which Nathan pulls out a gun and, in a panic, shoots the girl. Max, having witnessed the argument from her hiding place, holds out her hand in shock and suddenly finds herself back in Jefferson’s class, again. Through a series of tests she discovers that she can rewind time for a few minutes- and uses this new power to save the blue haired girl in the bathroom by setting off the fire alarm before she can be shot. There are mild consequences as she is approached by suspicious school officials, and it frustrates her how passive they are toward Nathan just because his family donates money to the school.

Later, while being accosted by Nathan in the parking lot, Max is rescued by the blue haired girl who turns out (to her great surprise) to be Chloe. On the way to Chloe’s house, the two have a very awkward reuniting where Max is obviously apologetic for having ‘abandoned’ her friend for many years. At home, Chloe admits to having put up all of the Rachel Amber posters, as she and Rachel had been best friends. She felt that Rachel was her “angel” and closest friend, since Max had left her. Chloe has an explosive argument with her stepfather, David, who turns out to be the head of security at Blackwell.

The two girls go to the town’s lighthouse, where Max has yet another vision about the tornado and learns that it will strike the town on October 11th. Distressed, she tells Chloe everything and confesses her powers. Chloe is unconvinced until it starts to inexplicably snow in the middle of October, which highlights all of the weird stuff going on.

Episode 2: Out of Time
Max stays up all night in her dormitory trying to learn about time travel. In the morning, she is greeted by texts from Chloe inviting her to breakfast in the Two Whales Diner, run by Chloe’s mother, Joyce. There Chloe convinces Max to prove her powers a real. Indulging her friend, she uses her powers to make several “prophetic” predictions.

Impressed, Chloe brings Max to her secret place, the town junkyard, where she and Rachel used to hang out. Seeing all of the marks of Chloe and Rachel’s friendship in the junkyard makes Max feel even guiltier for having left her friend, as well as a little jealous. Chloe uses a pistol she stole from David to shoot some bottles and other junk, with Max nervously guiding her with her powers. They are accosted by Frank, the local drug dealer, who threatens violence against Chloe if Chloe fails to pay off her debt to him. Max does her best to scare off Frank with the gun, despite her obvious fear.

The two girls then continue bonding while walking down the nearby railroad and just chatting. Max walks away for a few moments to take a picture, and has another vision of the tornado. When she comes to her senses, Chloe is calling for help as her foot had become stuck in the tracks. With a train approaching, Max uses her rewind powers and quick thinking to unlock the railroad switch point and toggle the tracks, allowing Chloe to escape. After an affectionate reaffirmation of their friendship, Chloe drops off Max at Blackwell.

There Max notices that her friend, Kate Marsh, who had been undergoing severe bullying and was depressed, was missing from class. Kate, who is a very religious girl, had recently been videoed at a party making out with several boys, to her great shame. Class is interrupted when Kate attempts to commit suicide by jumping off the dormitory roof- Max attempts to rewind time but finds that she has exhausted her power by overusing it throughout the day. With great desperation she manages to bring time to a stop, and makes her way to the roof, but then finds she can no longer use her power. With zero control over time, she talks Kate down from the roof by proving how much she cares about the other girl, shown throughout their previous interactions. Max blames Nathan for having bullied Kate, especially as Kate previously admitted to Max that Nathan may have drugged her (resulting in her video at the party), and reports him to the principal. The day ends with Max as a hero, but she is further disturbed when an unscheduled eclipse blocks out the sun.

Episode 3: Chaos Theory
After the exhausting day, Max is woken up in her dorm by texts from Chloe. The two decide to sneak into the school offices at night to try and determine what Nathan had done to Kate, and if it was somehow connected to Rachel’s disappearance. They examine various students’ files, and discover that Nathan has been acting strangely, and had once covered a sheet of paper with the words “Rachel in the Dark Room” over and over. Having gathered some clues, Chloe invites Max to take a night time swim in the gym pool, which Max is initially hesitant over but then gives in to her excitement. The two swim together and chat about Rachel, and their reborn friendship.

When school security, led by David, start going through the school due to the intrusion, Max and Chloe escape (with some help from the rewind power). They spend the night in Chloe’s room. In the morning, Max and Chloe continue to bond, talking about Rachel and how the three of them would have been a group. They also discuss how Max is timid, but Chloe encourages her to be more rebellious, like when they swam in the pool. Max continues to secretly feel jealous. Chloe dares Max to kiss her, but Max feels uncomfortable with it for multiple reasons, and declines.

At breakfast, Joyce gives Max an old photograph of Max and Chloe- the last one that William (Chloe’s father) took before he died in the car accident. Chloe distracts Joyce while Max looks around David’s work area at home, finding evidence that he has been stalking Blackwell students. When David comes home, angry that someone had broken into the school, Chloe and Max accuse him, which ends with Joyce kicking him out of the house.

Chloe and Max then go to the Two Whales Diner where Frank is eating, and, through a series of tricks (and time rewinding) manage to sneak into his RV. There Max discovers Frank’s logbook, which has both details of his drug transactions (in code) and pictures of Rachel and Frank proving the two of them to be more than friends. This revelation angers Chloe greatly. On the way back to the school, Chloe accuses everyone of having betrayed her- William (for dying), Max (for leaving her), and Rachel (for disappearing and lying about her relationship with Frank). Max is appalled that Chloe could accuse William and Rachel, and the two of them part on bad terms.

Saddened by this, Max looks longingly at the photograph Joyce gave her, where she and Chloe are still young. She discovers that she can travel into the photograph, her consciousness entering the body of her younger self at the time the photo was taken. So all the way back in 2008, she manages to prevent William from going out in his car, thus saving his life. Her consciousness returns to 2013, where she finds that things have changed quite a bit- she is now a member of the Vortex Club, a group of cool kids that Max originally finds to be pretentious, immature, and bullies. In this alternate timeline, Max and Chloe have not yet met since she returned to Arcadia Bay. She rushes to Chloe’s house, and discovers to her horror that Chloe was in an accident, which paralyzed her from the neck down, confining her to a wheelchair and constant medical care.

Episode 4: The Dark Room
In this alternate timeline where Chloe is handicapped, the two walk down the beachfront and talk about the time they had spent apart. Chloe talks about driving the car William had bought for her 18th birthday, which led to the accident that paralyzed her. They also talk about several beached whales seen on the beach, which disturbs Max.

They go back to the house and reminisce about the time they were children. Max is disappointed in herself because of her lack of contact with Chloe after she moved to Seattle- though in this timeline Max sent a few messages and postcards, she thought that she should have at least visited after the accident. She does her best to make Chloe happy, promising to never leave the other girl again.

In the morning, Max talks to Chloe’s parents and sadly discovers that their financial situation is rapidly deteriorating due to Chloe’s condition, and that Chloe herself is getting worse. Doctors have stated that her respiratory system is failing. Max expresses her worry and her desire to help in any way she can, especially by keeping Chloe happy. As requested by Chloe, who is suffering under a migraine, Max brings her the morphine that her parents keep out of sight. Chloe calmly explains to Max that she is unhappy in her current state, that she feels she is slowly destroying Joyce and William’s lives, and that she wants to have the freedom to choose things for herself. She asks Max to end her life with a morphine overdose- Max protests strongly, crying, saying that she will help but not with an assisted suicide, and that Chloe’s parents love her more than anything else in the world. Chloe, frustrated, accuses Max of betraying her, and asks her to leave. Max uses the picture that William took before to travel back to 2008 and, with great regret and pain, allows William to die- thus preventing Chloe from having been in an accident.

Max travels back to 2013 and finds Chloe is alright, and that they have spent the whole night poring over clues to discover Nathan’s involvement with Kate and Rachel. Max is ecstatic to find her friend is alright, much to the other’s confusion. The two decide on the following steps:
1. Look through David’s files for surveillance information. They discover that David has been tracking cars using coordinates.
2. Go to Nathan’s dorm room to look for any clues. They retrieve a burner phone with text messages from Nathan ordering drugs from Frank, among others things. There is a confrontation between the girls and Nathan, but Warren intervenes, beating up Nathan.
3. Ask Frank for the way to decode his logbook transactions, to see when he sold drugs to Nathan. Frank agrees because they point out they are doing it for Rachel as well.

Using the clues, they determine that Nathan had brought the victims to an abandoned barn owned by the Prescotts. At the barn, Max and Chloe figure out how to open a secret bunker underneath. What they find inside leaves Max on edge and speechless: it is a photography studio full of disturbing images- the “Dark Room”.

Max finds a drawer full of photo albums containing pictures of posed drugged girls, including Kate and Rachel- she is deeply disturbed. Chloe looks at Rachel’s pictures and sees one of Nathan posing with Rachel in the ground- in a panic, she determines that the location is in the junkyard, and rushes out to go there. At this point Max is speechless, and while she had been optimistic about finding Rachel before, she now realizes that the other girl might be dead.

At the junkyard, they dig into the ground seen in the picture, and discover Rachel’s body- horrified, Max comforts Chloe as she cries uncontrollably. They go to a Vortex Club party that night to confront Nathan, Chloe intent on killing him using her gun. Seeing Chloe’s distress, Max agrees to help her. Max is again disturbed when she sees two moons in the sky.

Warren bumps into them and takes a selfie with Max, before walking away, drunk. Max tries to rein in Chloe’s anger but it’s futile. Other people comment on the intensity of Max’ expression. They discover that Nathan is not at the party, but he sends them a text saying that he will destroy all the evidence.

They rush back to Rachel’s body and discover that it is still there. But, before she can rewind, Max is injected with a drug and begins to fall unconscious- in her last moments she sees Chloe get shot in the head, and that their assailant is Mark Jefferson.

Episode 5: Polarized
Max awakens in the Dark Room, tied to chair. Through a series of rewinds and jumps through photographs, she is able to interact with Jefferson, finding out that he is actually obsessed with taking pictures of drugged girls as a form of art. Max finds this disgusting and argues with him fiercely, but can’t do anything else because she is tied to the chair. She also learns that Jefferson had been using Nathan, and that Nathan idolized his “work,” but had accidentally given Rachel an overdose. She also learns that Jefferson has killed Nathan, and plans to pin the crimes on him.

At one point, however, Max has access to a photograph she took during Jefferson’s class, all the way back at the start of the game. She enters it to travel back in time to that moment- and she sends a text message to David telling him about what Jefferson is doing. She angrily accuses Jefferson and, as a form of spite, hands in a picture she took for a photography contest. She then returns to the present.

In this new timeline, Jefferson has been arrested, Chloe is alive, and Max has won the contest. She travels to San Francisco with the school principal to join the other winners at a photo gallery, where she slowly comes to realize that she has made it as an artist, a far cry from how timid and shy she usually is about her photography. She believes everything will be alright- but that’s cut short when she calls Chloe to discover that the gigantic tornado has arrived at Arcadia Bay- and that the whole town is in danger. The line is cut and she believes that Chloe may have been seriously injured- or worse.

She enters the photo she used for the contest and destroys it on the day it was taken, so that she won’t be able to enter the contest and leave Chloe in Arcadia Bay. But this has disastrous consequences- Jefferson, upset that she destroyed such a good picture, destroys all of her other pictures as well. This leaves her with no pictures to use in the Dark Room, no way to travel back into past to text David, and no way to escape from captivity. She returns to the present, where, in this timeline, she is still tied to the chair in the Dark Room. Jefferson tells her that he plans to kill her- with no way to escape, Max begins to panic. But David, who has figured out that something is wrong, discovers the bunker and fights Jefferson. Max is able to help by rewinding and doing various things that affect the fight, even from the chair.

After Jefferson is knocked out, Max and David reconcile. Max rushes to find Warren, so she can use the selfie he took at the party to go back in time, warn Chloe about Jefferson, and get her safely away from the tornado. On the way to the diner, where Warren is hiding, Max is able to help several students and strangers in the shadow of the tornado. She talks to Joyce, Warren, and Frank who are all hiding in the diner. Then she goes back in time using the selfie, trying to convince Chloe to stay away from the party and not hunt down Nathan. This succeeds when Max is brutally honest with Chloe, tearily admitting things that Chloe did not know- such as the alternate timeline with Chloe in the wheelchair and the future where Chloe is shot and Max is kidnapped.

They manage to stay away from Jefferson, and tell David about the Dark Room so that Jefferson is arrested. But when Max returns to the present, she finds that the tornado is still approaching the town. The two girls make their way to the town lighthouse, where they will be safe- but Max falls unconscious, and enters a nightmare.

There she struggles with various subconscious worries, such as:
1. Her being the cause of the tornado because she messed with time, leading to the destruction of the entire town
2. How Chloe feels about her, and her jealousy
3. How she is perceived by other people
4. Having allowed William to die

When she wakes up, she and Chloe are at the lighthouse. Max is distressed about the tornado, trying to think of a way to stop it- and Chloe offers that, if Max had never messed with time, none of it would have happened. Therefore, Max should enter the picture she took of the butterfly in the bathroom, at the start of the game, and allow Chloe to die in the bathroom after getting shot by Nathan. This would correct all of the time issues.

Obviously Max finds this to be a completely unacceptable decision, but Chloe points out that it is the morally correct thing to do. Chloe states that she wants to do the right thing for once, and that she wants to save the town. Max, crying, promises that she will never forget Chloe- the two share a teary hug. Max enters the photo, and allows Chloe to die.

This results in Nathan and (eventually) Jefferson being arrested, and no tornado coming to Arcadia Bay.

In the following days, Max deals with the loss of Chloe and the experiences she had in the alternate timeline, and during Chloe’s funeral, seems to smile.

Abilities/Special Powers: Max can rewind time for a few minutes per rewind, but she herself (and anything she is carrying) is not affected. This means that she will remain in the same position and place, and anything she's carrying will stay with her. If she uses this rewind too often, or tries to go too far back, she gets migraines and eventually falls unconscious. If she uses the power too often, it also becomes inconsistent and may stop working for a while. Also, under extreme duress, she may even stop time altogether.

Max can also go far into the past using pictures, as long as these include an image (even a reflection) of her. If she does this, she cannot leave certain boundaries (for example, she cannot leave the room the picture was taken in). She can rewind time while in the past. Additionally, when she returns to the present, circumstances may have changed greatly due to what she did in the past. She does not know these changes innately and has to discover them for herself.

Third-Person Sample:
What were the things that made her happy?

Maybe happiness is a muscle. You have to practice it, work on it, keep it healthy and limber. You find the things that make you smile and practice those passions, before you forget why it is they cheered you up and buoyed you throughout the day.

Max Caulfield stared out of her room's window at the vista of Wonderland's beach, watching the sun set slowly into the sea. One hand lay on her lap, while the elbow of the other rested on the window sill, the arm curved so her cheek rested against her palm. Orange light flooded the walls around her.

She picked this room because of the spectacular view. Because it made for good photos. To help her exercise that photography muscle.

That was one passion down. One that was taken from her.

The dimming light of the sun washed over the instant photos stuck to her walls. Pictures of Oregon and of Wonderland: gentle forests, crashing waves, clouds that strode slowly across the sky. A blue haired girl, and a brown haired one, smiling or dancing or laying side by side.

Another passion taken from her.

She stared out the window, trying to remember what else made her happy. Trying to remember what else there was to do. Taking those thoughts about atrophied muscles and stuffing them down somewhere with all the memories of home.

It was time to be happy again. It had been time for that for weeks, months. If only it wasn't so hard.

First-Person Sample:
I think I actually went home for a day.

It's all kind of muddled up in my head. Sorta like a reverse-vacation.

A noitacav!


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Max Caulfield

August 2017

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