Max doesn’t Exist? (Not entirely)
I always had the thought that at the very beginning of the game, Max actually dies - shes crushed by the light house and her consciousness shifts from one reality to another.
This is because when she “awakens” she says she never fell asleep and that it was almost as if she just regained consciousness (in this case i’m referring to the awareness of her thoughts and actions), she doesn’t recall anything and seems shocked other than being in class - which could easily have been theorized just by looking around the room and it not actually being her recalling what she had been doing previously.
Now think back to when this happened later on in the game - Yeah, its when Max enters the alt reality and regains “consciousness” whilst hanging out on the school grounds with Nathan and Victoria.
During these alt realities i’m suggesting that Max is not “present”, her bodies live entirely different lives, ones she’s not fully aware of and subconsciously exist. Until she harbors them.
I also theorized that Max may not exist entirely, but a metaphor of time and “reminiscence” A theme commonly quoted by DONTNOD, in which Max is simply the manifestation of Arcadia Bay’s memories, desires and regrets - i only say this because Max only returns to Arcadia Bay when Chloe seems to need her desperately because of Rachel and William leaving her, throughout the game they only are shown remembering their childhood and revisiting old and new places together, Max is her coping mechanism = Memories
she appears in Warren’s life whom throughout the game is shown alone, introverted and secluded with little to no real friends, whom she instantly befriends when she arrives, throughout the game he mentions he feels out of the loop, and that nobody notices him, except Max does “not to me Warren” = Desires
She returns to Arcadia bay with the only motive of her going for a “purpose” (this purpose can be subjectively seen as either Mr.Jefferson or a unmentioned force), other than that she Regrets she left, with minimal memory of where she lived previously nor wanting to recall them.
She appears within Nathan’s life as he’s on the brink of desperation and anger, she first encounters him within the bathroom - the first thing he does in this moment which can be simply interpreted as a plea for guidance, help and resolution = Regrets & Desires
She appears in Victoria’s life as a sense of direction, a striving force to prove herself and a goal to maximize her own potential, Max is her muse, Victoria quotes that she is envious of Max and that she wishes she could be as carefree and individualized as Max fronts = Desires
She enters Kate’s life as she’s clinging for hope, she’s shown to have been swallowed by a darkness she cannot escape and is surrounded by pressures that exceed her, Max is only able to “save” Kate from her torment by reliving events in her life which prove to reveal how loved Kate is = Memories
Max conveniently enters Arcadia Bay and is shown as a “light” amidst the dark from the beginning, Joyce mentions repeatedly “you’ll be a good influence” and is even praised by Blackwell students such as Alyssa and Kate for being a “personal angel” and an “everyday Hero” much like the main themes of the game.
Throughout the game Max refers to herself as an entity that is merely just “looking into a perfect world” a viewfinder,a camera - she doesn’t entirely exist in a form other than a foreseer and as a guidance.
Max is also capable of rendering spirits (the doe) and is able to communicate when there is little to no connection between time travel and spiritual entities other than, Max herself is seemingly “dead” in a sense. She does not bound herself to a physical sense and only ever “lives” within these Memories, Desires and Regrets present within the residents of Arcadia Bay.