It's time to go public with my most disturbing Life is Strange theory

'Case study.

Stupid as it is, this article still contains genuine spoilers regarding the final two episodes of Life is Strange. You have been warned.

I have waited. I have been patient. I have scanned all the fan theories and I have left the developers plenty of time to come clean about the dark truth that I believe I have uncovered. And yet: nothing. Radio silence. Eerie, really. And so it's up to me to go public and blow the lid off the single most disturbing thing about Life is Strange. Hold onto something, because:

Life is Strange takes place in a parallel universe where IKEA makes a 2x3 Expedit.


Life is Strange? Or Life is ST(+O)RA(-N)GE? Just sayin'.

Let's go back a little ways here. In our universe, IKEA's greatest single product in its long, noble history - greater even than the Strandmon wingback chair which has brought me hours of refined comfort - is the Expedit, the stylish and minimalist shelving solution that most commonly comes in 2x4 or 4x4 versions. Sure, you can get a 2x2, and I have a few, but they look kind of runty. You can get a 5x5, and even a 1x5, and you can stick those together to create a 6x5 (I have!) but it's ostentatious. What you can't get is a 2x3. A 2x3 would look weird. It would be unnatural. Yes! Nature itself would abhor this eldritch bookshelf and no good would come from the homes in which it was placed.

What's that in Max's dorm room, though? Oh boy: a 2x3 Expedit. In a rather unappealing glossy brown, too. What's the deal there?

Actually, what's the deal everywhere? Once you're aware of this 2x3 abomination, you start to see it cropping up throughout Arcadia Bay - all over the school, at least, often coming in pairs, sometimes glued to the wall to create a monstrous sort of display shelf. The sheer nonchalance of this! The insouciance! (I haven't looked up insouciance, but it feels right.) I have pictures of all this Expediting, and let me tell you, the pictures aren't pretty. People have gone mad just looking at them, although, granted, some have merely yawned and changed the subject.


Chloe's house? Riddled with Billys. I know, right?

An aside here: Maybe it's a Kallax? Nice IKEA knowledge bud, but no sale. A while back, for no good reason whatsoever, IKEA killed off the Expedit and replaced it with the nearly identical Kallax. In short, the shelf spaces are the same size, but the overall dimensions are a little bit smaller. That's right: if you're trying to harmoniously combine Kallax and Expedit, you're bang out of luck in 2015. The end result will be a horrible inter-species mess, the mule equivalent of the home-furnishing world. The Expedit's death is a bit of a wound, really - it even made the front page of The Guardian - but it has little relevance here (as does anything, admittedly). Why? Because they don't make a 2x3 Kallax either. Checkmate!

In truth, I just don't get this. Remember Goat Simulator? That's a crazy game, but its craziness works within certain socially acceptable bounds. Go into the right house in Goat Simulator, and although you can cause all kinds of wonky mishaps, you won't be seeing anything other than a 2x4 Expedit, lurking, elegantly - insouciantly? -beneath some anodyne wall art, whispering: "Hey, use me for records as well as books! I'm just the right size!"

So what's the deal with Life is Strange? I emailed a Dontnod developer to find out. He got back to me almost immediately to say that A: he didn't work at Dontnod anymore and B: I sounded crazy and kind of stupid. I emailed another developer, and - silence. An incriminating silence, I hope you'll agree. I was clearly getting too close!


There's probably a sensible article here about the way that small teams have to repurpose assets to fill large worlds, but screw that, eh?

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How close? Here, at last, is my final theory. And, hilarious as this sounds, it contains a genuine major spoiler so look away now if you haven't finished Life is Strange and don't want the series ruined.

Look away! Last warning!

It's Jefferson. It's all about Jefferson, right? He has a couple of these stunted Expedits in his classroom - hiding in plain sight - and he has that handy barn he can retreat to whenever he wants with all those tools lying around. Jefferson isn't just an endlessly monologuing serial killer and inveterate skinny-jeans wearer, in other words. He's also a deranged IKEA Hacker who's gone way off the grid. Maybe Life is Strange does take place in our universe after all. Maybe Arcadia Bay was originally filled with perfectly normal 2x4 Expedits. Maybe - just maybe - Jefferson slipped through a wormhole from another universe where the 2x3 Expedit was king and then, trapped and unable to return to his own dimension, he started making this dimension look more like his, one bookcase at a time.

It's chilling. Monstrous. That thing about using a Besta to create an invisible cat litter box? That's peanuts to this guy.

And this, then, is the true message of Life is Strange - and it's probably the reason that tornado turns up to destroy everything at the end/beginning. If you mess with the Expedit, you are messing with the multiverse - and the multiverse will mess with you in return.

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