- "I have a family here, Max. And I think Blackwell is the best place for me, since only I know what's happening."
- —David to Max
Prior to his service in the military, David Madsen moonlighted as a hunter. He won an award in 2001 for killing a deer. At some point he began his service in the military. His tour of duty lasted presumably until 2007.[note 1]
Following his return from the military, David experienced difficulties adjusting to civilian life and read books on how to readjust to his environment. November 27, 2008[note 2], David visited the Two Whales Diner and met Joyce Price. Joyce left a message on David's receipt that said she was glad to have met him and the two later became romantically involved. Chloe Price, Joyce's daughter, did not agree with their relationship and often clashed with David.
Eventually, Joyce and David were married and David moved in with the Price's.[note 3] David attempted to make his relationship with Chloe work. He bought her a birthday card for her eighteenth birthday, but presumably never gave it to her. During her birthday, Joyce took a picture of Chloe and David in the middle of an argument.
David often attempted to monitor Chloe's activities in the house and with her friends. She was not allowed to play her music at high volumes and he believed that her friend, Rachel Amber was bad influence on her. When Chloe was expelled from Blackwell Academy, he belittled her, calling her a "loser" because of it. Despite his terse relationship with Chloe, he attempted to prevent her from associating with individuals like Frank Bowers, a local drug dealer she presumably mingled with in the junkyard.
Prior to the disappearance of Rachel Amber, David began to investigate her movements after Nathan Prescott reported her for carrying drugs into the school. He discovered that she was involved with Frank Bowers and stopped attending Blackwell and never returned to her dorm room. Following her disappearance, David began an investigation into Kate Marsh after she attended a Vortex Club party and was video tapped while intoxicated.
As the head of security of Blackwell, David wanted to place security cameras all over the campus as a means of surveying the area at all times to prevent any more students from disappearing. However, teachers like Michelle Grant didn't believe David's idea of omniscient security was the best course of action, despite the benefits that could come with it.
After Max Caulfield sets off the school alarm to save Chloe Price from being shot by Nathan Prescott, she was confronted by David immediately after she stepped out of the girls bathroom. David accused her of wrongdoing, declaring that guilt was written across her face. He questioned her further, demanding to know if she was hiding something. Principal Wells, however, stepped in and dismissed David, asking him to turn off the alarm since that was part of his job.
Later, David Madsen confronted Kate Marsh. He tells her that he "sees everything" on Blackwell Academy campus grounds and that she should understand that. Kate desperate to get away, tells him to leave her alone.
Max chooses to take a photograph of the moment. David continues to tell Kate that he watches every part of the school, especially the waterfront, and that she should decide what side she’s on. His message delivered, David leaves Kate alone and departs.
Remembering her confrontation with David from earlier, Max steps in and tells David to leave Kate alone. When David tried to pass his behavior off as “official business”, Max persists, telling him he shouldn’t be bullying students. Doubling back, David states he wasn’t bullying Kate, something neither Max nor Kate believe. David calls Max a symptom of the “problem”, vowing to remember their conversation before walking off.
A little while after the incident with Max and Kate, David breaks up a fight between Nathan Prescott and Warren Graham, who attacked Warren after he tackled him to the ground to allow Max and Chloe to escape the school unharmed. He appeared unaware his stepdaughter and Max were the root of the altercation.
While Max was the Price Household with Chloe, she investigated the house. Entering the bedroom of Joyce and David, Max discovers a pair of dog tags inside the left beside table. On the same table, she found a survival guide that David had been reading. On the desk across from their bed, she found a picture of Joyce, David and Chloe. Downstairs, she listened to a message from David, warning Chloe to stay away from the junkyard and the people who hang out there.
In garage, searching for tools to fix her Polaroid camera, she spots artifacts that belonged to David, including a glass case of guns. Searching the cabinets, Max discovered an elaborate security system set up around the Price household and a map of the Blackwell campus markered in red where security cameras would likely be placed.
Prying further in the garage, Max discovered photographs of Madsen during his time in the military and accidentally knocked down a file from the top of the cabinet. Investigating the folder, she discovered photographs taken by David of Kate around Blackwell Academy campus. He also maintained several files of other students on Blackwell, which troubled Max.
When David returned to the Price household, he overheard Chloe playing her music loudly upstairs. He warned Chloe to turn her "punk shit" down and tells her he's coming upstairs. Chloe braces her bedroom and door and locks it, trying to give Max time to hide. David demands to know what Chloe is doing, Chloe stalls and David is aware that she is biding time. Eventually, David counts down from three before Chloe obliges her stepfather and opens the door.
David stepped into the room and asked what Chloe was doing. Covering for Max, Chloe told him she was "trying on clothes" and that he was paranoid. David states frankly that "combat" is responsible for his paranoia. David asks about the whereabouts of his missing gun, Chloe denies she took anything, stating she believed in gun control laws. David discovers her drugs on the table and demands to know where they came from. Chloe mocks him, telling him she was "smoking weed", playing with guns and that he was "tripping balls". Irritated by her behavior, David orders that she tell him the truth. Chloe demands that David stop treating her and Joyce like "his family platoon". David tells her to leave Joyce out of their argument.
Chloe wishes that David would leave her mother instead and David backhands her. Though David apologies for his actions, Chloe tells him that would be the last time he ever touches her, threatening to call the police. David, believing she's bluffing, merely tells her that she'll grow up one day and leaves the room.
If Max chooses come out of hiding, she'll take the blame, saying the pot was hers and apologize. Chloe will defend her against David's intimidation tactics: Threatening to call the police --- implying she was responsible for the fire alarm, and witnessing his harassment of Kate Marsh--- to tarnish her Blackwell Academy record. Though Chloe fends him off, David warns Max not to return to the house again.
If Max doesn't hide, David will question why Max is at their house. Chloe dismisses David, telling him Max is one of her friends. David asks Chloe if she took a gun from his cabinet, as one is missing. Chloe lies and attempts to remind him she's for gun control, but her statement is interrupted when he notices the drugs she was using siting in an ashtray. David demanded to know if she was using again, Chloe instead mocks him. When he continues to push for the truth, Chloe lies and tells him that Max brought the drugs to the house.
If Max decides not to take the blame, David mocks Chloe's ability to obtain drugs, suggesting that she gives the people she knows "friend rates". Chloe tells David to take his rage out on someone else besides high school girls and calls him a pig, an action that gets her slapped.
David defended his actions, saying Chloe knew what she was doing when she insulted him. David warns Max away from Chloe, calling her a loser that will simply drag Max down with her.
Reluctantly, Max chooses to take the blame for the drugs. David, none the wiser, threatens to call the police on Max to ruin her record at Blackwell and accuses her of dragging Chloe down. Chloe stepped in and defended Max, demanding David stop harassing her friends.
David claims she has no friends, but Chloe is quick to dismiss him as nothing more than a security guard who knew nothing and not a cop. David threatens Max one more time before leaving.
As snows falls over Arcadia Bay, David is outside, likely tending to the outside of the house. He appeared unaware that Chloe and Max have left the house.
The following morning, David confronts Nathan Prescott at the front of Blackwell Academy. Max, heading to the Two Whales Diner, is unable to hear the conversation, but believed it had something to Kate Marsh or Rachel Amber.
When she arrives at the Two Whales Diner, a homeless woman will speak to Max about the Price family and David Madsen. The homeless woman expresses distrust of David, who told her to "get a job". The homeless woman didn't know what Joyce Price saw in David Madsen but warned that he had better treat her right while they were together.
Later, while observing the halls of Blackwell, David stops Max as she is walking by and apologizes to her for what happened in Chloe's room the day before.
Max is upfront about knowing David hitting Chloe. While David explained that he hit her because she called him a pig, he realized he was in the wrong and apologized with the intention of making it up to Chloe. Max presses the issue, stating that his status as a combat veteran should remind him why Chloe is "not a threat".
David asks Max if the drugs he found in Chloe's room were hers. If Max maintains the lie that the drugs were hers, she makes a point of stating that marijuana is "almost legal" in the state of Oregon and that she could get it on Blackwell Academy grounds. When she asks if Madsen is going to "bust her", David claims he's "not that much of an asshole".
He apologies for his behavior and admits that he was wrong. While drugs weren't "a big deal" for Max, they were for Chloe. Max believes that David should not feel threatened by Chloe because of his status as a combat veteran.
David insists that he if didn't care about her, stating he wouldn't care at all. He compares Chloe's behavior to his own when he was young, quick to clarify that he caused far more problems than she did as a teenager. He tells Max that Chloe and the students of Blackwell are better than he was and includes Kate among that list as well. Defensive, Max reminds him that he was bothering Kate as well.
While David believed that Max stepped in between himself and Kate at a bad time, Max believes Kate didn't do anything wrong to warrant his behavior. He clarifies that his concern is for the safety of Blackwell's students, but Max is firm in the position that it will take more than surveillance cameras to protect the students.
David, however, doesn't believe Ms. Grant's petition will help the Academy locate the missing students. Max admonishes David, reminding him that the protection of the students is his job as head of security at the school. When she questions whether or not he knows something about Rachel Amber that no one else does, David backs down and tells her that he doesn't want to fight with her or with anyone anymore and ends their conversation.
Following Kate Marsh's argument with Mark Jefferson, Madsen follows her outside. Hiding behind a tree, he takes photographs of her. He is present when Kate Marsh attempts to commit suicide at the girls dormitory. When Kate jumps, David tries to reach the rooftop. Max freezes time with her rewind ability, Madsen is halfway to the door again when she passes him.
Following Kate's attempted to successful suicide, David will be called into Principal Wells's office with Mark Jefferson to discuss the matter of Kate with Max and Nathan. Principal Wells admonishes David for not maintaining the security of the school by keeping the rooftop doors locked. Wells then asks what Max was doing up on the roof with Kate.
Max reiterates her account of David harassing Kate to Principal Wells. David, furious at the accusation, defends his position, saying that Kate Marsh was involved with a bad crowd of people and that he was trying to find out who those people were. Nathan supports Madsen's claim, however, he states that Kate was leading a double life and that he was shocked when he learned of it.
Max, however, accuses him and states that he was "a part of the crowd" Madsen claimed Kate was involved with and continues to say that she witnessed Kate being harassed by Madsen personally. David begins to call her liar but Wells demands silence from him. Frustrated, David asks if Principal Wells intents on taking the word of a troublemaker over the word of his security officer. Max questions why Principal Wells should take the word of a man who harasses students before Wells silences them both. He reasserts that neither of their claims can be proven without a thorough investigation.
Max reiterates that she saw David bullying Kate yesterday. Annoyed, David tells her to "grow up", but Max presses forward, stating that she was there and saw him harassing Kate. David defends his position, claiming that Max had no idea what she saw. He explains that he believed Kate was running with a bad crowd and tried to figure out who those people were.
Nathan supports Madsen's claims, stating that he was shocked when he found out about Kate's double life. Max, however, is quick to point that that Nathan was a part of the crowd that recorded the video of Kate. Max repeats that she saw David harassing Kate Marsh. Angry, David questions whether or not Wells is going to take the word of a "junkie".
He goes on to say that he knows that Max smokes and deals marijuana. Max tries to dismiss David's accusation, saying that it had nothing to do with Kate. If Max takes a photograph of Kate and David, Principal Wells will suspend David on the stipulation that the matter will be looked into. However, if Max chose to intervene to gain the favor of Kate, Principal Wells will suspend Max and state that the matter between Kate and Madsen will be investigated.
Mr. Jefferson intervenes, believing that Max and Nathan needed a break from Principal Wells questions in light of the situation. Agreeing, Principal Wells asks Max to sign a paper confirming her statements made in the office.
At the end of the day, David returns home to Joyce. Joyce and David are standing outside in the backyard of their home. Joyce comforts David in the aftermath of Kate Marsh's attempted or successful suicide at the top of the rooftop on the girls dormitory.
During Max and Chloe's investigation into Principal Wells's office, Chloe and Max assume David has formed an alliance with Nathan Prescott. Reading the files on Wells's computer, they find a cryptic letter from Nathan that suggests David was attempting to get information from him, always asking him what he was thinking and helped him "follow" who he followed. Chloe becomes angry at David when she learns that he went along with Nathan's accusations that Rachel was bringing drugs onto the campus and thought she was a bad influence on her.
While Max and Chloe break into the school to find more information regarding the mysteries of Blackwell, David and other members of security team investigates after receiving reports of the trespassers. Max and Chloe are forced to evade the security team either by hiding or using Max's power and leave the campus to go to Chloe's house.
The next morning while Joyce prepares breakfast, Chloe causes a distraction that allows Max to sneak into the garage and discover the password to David's laptop. Investigating the garage, Max learns more about David's life during his service military; video tapes sent to him in 2007 by his family, a knife with an engraved message that likened him to an angel, a photograph of David and Joyce's wedding and the birthday he presumably never Chloe for her eighteenth birthday. Once Max gained access to the laptop it is revealed that David keeps profiles on Rachel Amber, Kate Marsh, and Max as well.
David returns home and tells Joyce that he has to take a nap after staying at the school to write out vandalism reports the night before. David then continues to insult the school and it's students. When Joyce questions David's certainty that the trespassers were indeed Blackwell students, he asks who else would do it and says that he is going to "bust" whoever is responsible.
David becomes upset at the sight of Max in his home and proceeds to ask about Max's "Rachel Amber costume". Max responds to David saying that he knows more about Rachel Amber than she does possibly referring to Rachel's profile and police report she found on David's laptop. David quickly responds to Max stating that Max is wrong and that she and Chloe thinks they "know more than anybody". Joyce steps in to stop David from "threatening" Max.
Chloe argues to Joyce that David threatens students with surveillance cameras and also spies on them. David tries to stop Chloe's line of argument, but she presses on. Chloe bought up fact that he spied on his family and called her a loser for getting expelled from Blackwell. She asked what good David had done besides get into trouble during his investigations into Rachel and Kate.
Max tears into David, calling him a bully because he harassed Kate when she was "going through hell" and that he could've helped her. According to Max, everyone to David except Nathan Prescott was a suspect, which was why the faculty and students didn't like him. While she respected the fact that he served in the military, he failed to show everyone else the same respect. David may bring up the fact that Chloe was using drugs illegally. Max counters that spying on his was family was also illegal and questioned why he had pictures of Rachel Amber and Kate Marsh in his files.
Joyce, disturbed by these revelations, asked if Max was telling the truth. When she turns the question David, he refused to let himself be scrutinized by Max and Chloe. Joyce tells him to calm down and David assumes that Joyce has "turned on him", predictably, as "women stick together". Offended, Joyce tells David to sleep at a hotel until they figure things out.
David protested that she couldn't kick him out of his home, but she reminds him that the house is in her name. David backs down, feeling he's been outflanked and retreats to the sliding door. Chloe, delighted by her mother's actions, bids David to have a "nice day". Joyce tells her to shut up. When Max tries to speak to David, he tells her that he never wants to see or hear from her again. She's hurt him and his family more than enough. Joyce, however, believed David brought this consequence on himself and Max was not to blame. Max heads over to Chloe at the front door. Chloe declared she got chills from their argument and warned her not to undo her actions.
Max argues to Chloe that they don't have enough proof to say David has done anything wrong. Feeling he is not the primary threat to them at the moment, she tries to remind Chloe of how dangerous Nathan Prescott was in their situation, and that they should cut David slack in this instance. Angry, Chloe questions Max's wisdom by bringing up the number of times Max has told her how creepy her stepfather was, and the files that David kept on her classmates. Joyce interjects and chides Chloe for starting an argument.
Feeling that there was too much finger pointing going on in her house, she declares that no one was getting blamed for anything. Relieved, David agreed with Joyce. He excused himself from the argument to eat the breakfast Joyce prepared. Angry, Chloe excuses herself to "take a dump" and walks off without Max. Speaking with Max, David thanked Max for defending him afterwards, but told her that this was his family now. Joyce thanks Max for sticking for her husband and her family, despite Chloe's disagreement with her choice. When Max heads over to Chloe near the front door, Chloe will ask Max to rewind so she doesn't have to see Max defending her stepdad.
When Max prevents the death of William Price, she creates a new timeline. In the new reality, David is longer married to Joyce and does not live in the Price household. When decides to head for Chloe's house, she discovers that the bus driver for Blackwell Academy is David, who does not appear to recognize her.
When Max goes downstairs to search the garage for more clues, David is seen taking one last look inside the house with sadness on his face before leaving with a suitcase in hand Max tries to make things up to him but he rejects her as he feels she has destroyed more then him and his family.
When Max goes to the garage to search for clues, David will be inside working on his tools. Max has the option of speaking to him and he will be more friendlier to her for siding with him during the previous episode.
When Max rewinds back to her first day in class using her selfie, she is focused on contacting David and warning him about Jefferson. She texts him using a number she finds in the Blackwell pamphlet. In the photo montage of the time alterations, David is seen raiding the dark room and arresting Jefferson.
Later, when Max is once again in the Dark Room, David will break in and attempt to rescue her. Max must help him fight Mr. Jefferson. If her choices play out exactly right, he will knock Jefferson out without being scarred. If she warns him about Jefferson, he will be scarred. During the second segment of the fight, David will be shot, forcing Max to rewind and then pull the cord of a light with her foot in order to distract Jefferson.
After the fight, when Max has been freed, David will speak to her. He will ask where Chloe is, and Max, knowing Chloe has been shot in the junkyard, will be given the choice to tell him the truth or lie to him.
Overcome with grief, David will shoot Jefferson, killing him. He will then speak to himself about how he has failed Joyce and Chloe until Max leaves the Dark Room.
David will be joyful at the prospect of Chloe surviving due to her stoner ways. Though disturbed by the contents of the room, he does not kill Jefferson.
David appears throughout Max's nightmare after saving Chloe's life. During the locker stealth segment of the nightmare, Max will be forced to evade being caught by David. David will shout things at Max while searching for her.
Later in the nightmare, David appears in the diner with all other speaking characters. When Max is near him, he will seem to accept the possibility that she will let him die in the storm.
David will be seen attending Chloe's funeral along with Joyce, Kate, Victoria, Warren, Dana, Justin, and Trevor.
David is presumed dead after the storm destroys Arcadia Bay.
David is a man with a short temper. From his interactions as the security guard of Blackwell, he doesn’t trust any of the student body he encounters. He shows little remorse or thought to their feelings and will frequently accuse them of wrongdoing. In addition, he maintains files on several Blackwell students (including Rachel Amber) in a fashion that borders on the paranoid. He’ll attempt to intimidate anyone he suspects is guilty unless someone is willing to stop and confront him.
Regarding Chloe, despite him seemingly to treat her with little affection and demands to know what she is doing at all times and believes her to be a mere troublemaker who likes to push buttons, deep down he holds a deep affection for both her and Joyce, especially the latter whom he describes as his light who helped him cope with the traumas of post-war, although he admits (to Max) that this side of him was difficult to show to his stepdaughter.
- In "Chrysalis", David's dog tags list his middle name begins with "N".[note 4] However, in "Chaos Theory", a file on Nathan Prescott states that he refers to David as "David M. Madsen", instead of "David N. Madsen".[note 5]
- If the player does not cover their tracks in the basement after reading David's files, David will accuse Chloe of going through his things.
- Chloe will threaten to expose David for spying for Kate Marsh (if the player chooses to take a picture of Kate and David instead of intervening), a threat David doesn't take seriously.
- David's blood type is O Positive.
- David's religious affiliation is Baptist.
- David's service or social security number is "541-39-3926".
- ↑ Inside the garage is a tape dated back to July 2007 from his family
- ↑ Date of their meeting is listed on the receipt
- ↑ Max refers to David as “her dickhead husband” when she finds a shrine to William in Joyce’s beside table drawer
- ↑ David Madsen's Dog Tags
- ↑ Max: "Whoa, listen to this, "David M. always asks's what's going on in my head... David M. always helps me follow those he follows..." Pretty cryptic."
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Life Is Strange: "Episode 1: Chrysalis"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Max's Journal: David Madsen
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Life Is Strange (Soundtrack): "Episode 2: Out of Time"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Life Is Strange: "Episode 3: Chaos Theory"
- ↑ Life Is Strange: "Episode 4: Dark Room"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 As seen on David's Dog Tags