Life Is Strange's Mouths Are Freaking Me Out

Life Is Strange's Mouths Are Freaking Me Out

As Keza's already mentioned, you'll want to play Life Is Strange. It's a clever and heartfelt ode to being an awkward teenager, albeit one who can rewind time by holding out their hand. But I can't help but get distracted by one of my modern gaming pet peeves: horrible lip-syncing.

It's not terribly apparent in the GIF above, but I've captured a few early conversations to help illustrate my point. The back-and-forth with the creepy janitor is probably the best example.

Those characters aren't saying the words shown at the bottom of the screen, my friends! In some cases, the mouths don't moving at all, yet the dialogue rolls on, as if everything's fine.

I understand Life Is Strange is, compared to most games, a low-budget affair. But you're coming to Life Is Strange because of the story, and watching lips flap up and down without any connection to the words being spoken draws me out of the world. The characters are a big part of legitimising the drama being sold here, and I'm often having trouble taking it seriously.

Lots of games have poor lip-syncing. Life Is Strange, however, is just plain bad. One reason we're inclined to better notice this is because other games have gotten so damn good at it:

I've considered flipping the game to a foreign language. Life Is Strange was developed in France, so perhaps playing the game in French would be more appropriate? At the very least, it would mean I'd stop worrying about someone's jaw moving around in a highly irregular way.

Life Is Strange developer DONTNOD is hardly alone either. Even Telltale Games, current lord of the adventure game genre, hasn't been able to make their dialogue sync up very realistically.

There's something about Telltale's approach that bothers me less, though. Maybe it's the additional detail in the face, especially when it comes to expressing the dialogue's emotional nuance. This allows the characters react in a way that makes up for the slightly off lip-syncing. In The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, I've noted the lip syncing is off but move on. In Life is Strange, I'm fixated on it because the mouth is the only part of the face doing anything.

Life Is Strange's Mouths Are Freaking Me Out

It's a quirk I'll get past, as there's so much to like about Life Is Strange, but it's a quirk I wish games would get over too. Then again, maybe I'm just waiting for someone to do this for games:


    That's awful. It doesn't take much effort to do better lipsyncing than that, really disappointing.

    The only thing which bugged me with the game...apart from that it's truly amazing.

    I'd chuck the game in a different language, put on subtitles and BAM! Problem solved. AC:U was great like this.

      OMG, thankyou for suggesting this option!
      When I get around to playing Life is Strange I'll totally do this. :D

    I loved my time with the first episode of Life is Strange but the lip sync is terrible. I got past it when I started to think of it a PS1 game where the lip movements were there to show someone was talking but had no bearing on what was being said ;)

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