Katy Bentz: Life Is Strange Experience ‘has Been One for the Books’

While Steph doesn’t necessarily feature as often as some characters in Episode 1: Awake, she was in one of the most talked about scenes of the episode. Were you surprised at how overwhelmingly positive the reception was towards the tabletop segment?

Yes! I was. I am STILL amazed at the responses I am receiving through social media. It’s honestly been such a wonderful surprise. I had this interaction with a LIS fan through a DM on Twitter. She was apologizing for being so emotional and crying — I watched her stream Before the Storm on Twitch — and said that she would stop tweeting me so much, etc. And I told her that her response of crying and being so in love with Steph is the most valuable thing I can receive as an actor. Our job, as actors, is to evoke emotions from our audience. This was the first time since I have been down in L.A. actively pursuing my career that I have felt like my talent, my skills and my career are being justified thus far.

I NEVER expected this to come from this experience. It has been the best thing to happen to me as an actor. I can’t explain what it’s like to have the support and love from this fandom. It’s amazing. And going back to the tabletop game, I kind of had a feeling it was going to be a hit because… it’s a tabletop game within an RPG game, so everyone’s bound to have fun with that! And as for Steph, she is such a versatile character that everyone can find some relation to. She’s a lesbian dungeon master, movie fanatic who stage-manages the drama shows. I mean, c’mon! How can you not love her? Then again, I may be biased.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

The tabletop scene from Before the Storm Episode 1: Awake. Characters from left to right: Mikey North (Dillon Winfrey), Chloe Price (Rhianna DeVries) and Steph Gingrich (Katy Bentz).

Life Is Strange has explored several diverse themes in the past, from social media and depression to suicide and sexual assault. Steph, as Chloe notes in her journal, is a lesbian. What were your thoughts on how Deck Nine handled LGBTQ themes in the game and did it also have an impact on how you portrayed the character?

As far as Episode 1: Awake, it’s very subtle. The player must actively read Chloe’s journal to know for a fact she is a lesbian. We also get a hint when she asks about Rachel during the tabletop game. I think the subtlety is good because it keeps everyone guessing and creating stories about Steph and the other characters. This game is so dynamic and has a multitude of layers and I think subtlety adding in a lesbian character in Before the Storm was a great move. As for my portrayal of Steph knowing she is a lesbian, I just depicted her as this bada** chick. Her being a lesbian is just one of her layers.

What was your favorite moment from Episode 1: Awake?

There are honestly so many moments running through my head right now. I really enjoyed the train scene. I thought it played out so well. It made me think back to those first times of having the opportunity to be alone with someone I had a crush on and that feeling of complete blankness, uncertainty and anxiety. This whole game is so relatable and I love it.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

Chloe Price and Rachel Amber on the train in Before the Storm Episode 1: Awake.

Can we expect to see more of Steph in the two remaining episodes? Is there any chance we’ll experience more tabletop fun with her and Mikey North?

I can’t really say. But do you think that Deck Nine would introduce such a bada** character and just retire her after one episode?

Dontnod is currently in the process of developing a sequel to Life Is Strange. While Steph wasn’t in Dontnod’s game, would you return to voice her if they chose to add her into the sequel?

YES! YES! A thousand times YES! Where do I sign up?

Finally, would you like to continue working in the gaming industry as a voice actor after your experience in Before the Storm?

Definitely. This experience has been one for the books. I will continue pursuing my voice-acting career for sure, and I would love to voice another video game character. It’s so rewarding. The fans are amazing and it makes me feel like I’m on top of the world as an actor!

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is available for download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. For more on Life Is Strange, check out Hardcore Gamer’s review for Episode 1: Awake and our interview with Before the Storm writer Zak Garriss and director Chris Floyd.

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