UPDATE 6.30pm: Life is Strange developer Dontnod has provided a statement on the save issue and ways to solve the problem. Pleasingly, the studio has confirmed there are multiple save file options to pick from to reflect different choices through the second season so far. Here's the update in full:
"The PlayStation 4 save game issue was one of our top priorities in the post Episode 2 patch phase, even though it was difficult to ascertain exactly how many players it ultimately affected," a Dontnod spokesperson said. "We subsequently managed to resolve the issue causing the bug and have since then explained the situation to players in our blog posted a week before the launch of Episode 3. You can read more about this here. We also continued to alert PlayStation players to this situation in the days ahead of launch.
"The above link explains how the resolution system works as well as some alternative steps that players can take to remedy the situation. To quote the blog, this is how the system is set up:
"Should the game detect that your PS Profile has unlocked the episode completed Trophies 'A Long Road Ahead' and 'Free Spirits' but is unable to detect a save game file for Life is Strange 2, you will be offered the choice to continue Episode 3 using one of 4 pre-generated save files. Each of the save files have followed their own set path through Episode 1 and 2. While you will not be able to edit any of the choices made previously, you will be able to choose the path which most broadly aligns with your own previous playthrough.
"Additionally, please note that cinematics can now be skipped when replaying Episode 1 and 2, which should help speed up any fresh playthroughs if players choose to manually recreate their save files.
"For the launch of Episode 3 we have continued to monitor the situation very carefully to ascertain and understand the extent of the problem. So far, it would appear that only a small number of players were actually affected by this bug and we have experienced no surge of fresh reports regarding corrupted save files. We will continue to track the situation to understand the extent of those involved, but the solutions provided should be enough to help everyone get off to a good start in Episode 3."
ORIGINAL STORY 3.40pm Life is Strange 2's second episode launched back in January and, almost immediately, was found to contain a serious bug which deleted PlayStation 4 save files at the episode's end.
Many fans did not realise the bug existed, however, as it silently removed save files only after you had finished playing. And there's little reason to replay each episode again unless you're hunting for collectibles.
Many more fans are only finding out about the bug now, four months later, as they return to Life is Strange 2 for this season's long-awaited third episode, released last night.
Those affected by the issue are seeing this screen, which offers up two options for you to proceed:
Putting aside the irony of a choice-based game offering you a choice of ways to combat the problem, this is a huge issue for a narrative-based series like Life is Strange, and its second season in particular.
The current narrative, which sees you play as 16-year-old Sean Diaz, has been built to subtly adapt based on how you interact with your younger brother Daniel. The ending of episode two, for example, featured a range of outcomes based upon dozens of factors in the two episodes so far.
I've not yet seen a detailed explanation for how Dontnod's default save handles the first two episode's choices. Logically, it would place your relationship with Sean in a fairly neutral state, but there's no easy way to get around the fact the second episode's conclusion will have played out very differently for some. I've asked publisher Square Enix if it has any more information.