The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a short prelude to Life is Strange’s sequel, follows the same strategy of centralizing pensive, acoustic indie tracks to aid in our processing of complex character emotions and to create spaces for characters to reflect themselves. In particular, the game takes Sufjan Stevens’s “Death with Dignity” as its primary musical accompaniment, opening the game and recurring as a somber leitmotif. The song originates from the 2015 album Carrie & Lowell, a deeply autobiographical work about Stevens grappling with the death of his mother and the fraught relationship they had. Its lyrics are tender and candid, and Stevens’s performance is tinged with resentment, confusion, shame, and ultimately forgiveness. Likewise, Captain Spirit addresses how children process complex emotions like grief following the loss of a parent. Both Carrie & Lowell and Captain Spirit take place in Oregon, with the former attempting to recapture the hazy memories of warm summers when Stevens’s mother was still a presence during his early childhood, and the latter quietly unwinding over the course of a wintry morning as the young boy Chris, alongside his sullen father Charles, grapples with the death of his mother Emily.
Read the full column at Haywire Magazine.