Streamers are enjoying Life is Strange: True Colors, but the dedicated streamer mode is undermining the experience.
As mentioned in our review, music is an integral part of the experience.
The healing and emotive power of music is a key theme, with protagonist Alex Chen regularly singing in the game – voiced by performer mxmtoon.
The soundtrack also includes licensed tracks from the likes of Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Hayley Kiyoko, Foals and more, as well as original music from Australian duo Angus & Julia Stone.
Streamer mode, however, mutes any licensed music tracks. This is to avoid DMCA strikes through Twitch.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act from 1998 criminalises infringements of copyright. Sadly, that includes licensed music – even when included as part of a streamed game.
Yet when key moments of Life is Strange: True Colors are soundtracked by licensed music tracks, it undermines the experience to a laughable extent.
Minor spoilers ahead
For instance, one early moment in the game has Alex and her brother Gabe dancing and playing air guitar to Kings of Leon, but in streamer mode their actions are met with silence.
*Game has a streamer mode that is DMCA friendly*
The game: pic.twitter.com/Wd0uhN7t9h
— Sarah (@thesarahkey) September 11, 2021
Life is Strange: True Colors allows you to mute DMCA music, resulting in 10/10 stream content.
— StarSlay3r (@StarSlay3r) September 11, 2021
THIS LIFE IS STRANGE DMCA FRIENDLY MUSIC IS BUSSIN! pic.twitter.com/2WS3tAK9gs
— GoofyWise (@GoofyWise) September 12, 2021
So with Life is Strange: there is a streamer mode that mutes DMCA songs. So I decided to add my own soundtrack pic.twitter.com/Fs9ycgjqaX
— america firstname.lastname@example.org (@AOLatAOLdotcom) September 13, 2021
I love that there’s a streamer mode for @LifeIsStrange…
You don’t have to worry about DMCA… and it gives you room to be creative pic.twitter.com/7ZdUvr0ifp
— Curiousjoi (@curiousjoi) September 13, 2021
Later, Alex has a moment of melancholy singing Radiohead’s “Creep”, but again there’s just silence.
Oh, cool! Life is Strange: True Colours has a Streamer mode that replaces lisenced music.
Replaces it with…. pic.twitter.com/edNWQJbsMq
— Rachu (@DontRachQuit) September 11, 2021
These moments have quickly become memes across social media. However, while it can be fun to joke about it, it’s sad that these touching and emotional moments from the game are being ridiculed.
Really enjoying Life is Strange True Colors… but fuck, having streamer mode on and missing out on the music is a massive bummer. The music adds so much to these games. Fuck DMCA
— Devon Bumpkin (@DevonBumpkin) September 9, 2021
Perhaps worst of all are the “Moments of Calm”, zen moments where Alex reflects on key points of the game with those original Angus & Julia Stone songs. These are highly emotive and touching moments of the game – a highlight of the whole experience – except in streamer mode the music is once again removed.
While it’s great that Square Enix is considering streamers playing online, the impact is brutal.
DMCA takedowns on Twitch were widespread in 2020 and continue to be a problem.
Twitch recommended streamers remove any clips and VODs of their streams containing licensed music as major record labels began sending thousands of takedown notifications.
Now, many games include a streamer mode that removes any licensed music, but as Life is Strange: True Colors proves, it’s an inelegant solution that undermines the game.
Perhaps most hilarious of all was when Metallica were hired to perform at the end of BlizzConline’s 2021 opening ceremony, as livestreamed on Twitch.
However, Twitch replaced the music with generic royalty-free music to avoid a takedown on their own platform, with amusing results. Check out the report by Eurogamer.
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