Twins make for interesting characters in the transgender story of Tell Me Why
Tell Me Why is a new narrative game about family secrets and the difficulty of coming home. It transcends genre by putting a transgender character at the centre of the experience.
Set in Alaska, the three-chapter story features transgender Tyler and his sister Alyson. The twins travel to the remote, rural home where they grew up to get it prepared for sale. It’s been 10 years since they left under traumatic circumstances. The two are therefore understandably unsure what will surface on their return.
While there, they rediscover what it means that they are twins. They realize that what happened in that place is not quite what they remember. As they explore the truth of it all, as the player you decide what their relationship will become depending on how you act.
Respect and sensitivity
Tell Me Why comes from Dontnod. The French studio also created the Life is Strange series, which explored high-school students coming of age. This is similar in how it plays. You control one of the two characters at a time, moving through the environments and choosing what to look at, who to talk to, and how to respond.
In addition to unabashedly including a transgender character, Dontnod’s development process was distinguishable in how people from represented populations were consulted. They included GLAAD and members of the Tlingit Indigenous culture that is also part of the fabric of the game.
The game tells the story with great respect and sensitivity, to the extent that it doesn’t use Tyler’s deadname, or birth name, at any point. And to make sure that everyone can be comfortable playing, the developers have published answers to questions that, while spoiling aspects of the game, may be important to know. Whether Tyler is ever misgendered, for example.
Tell Me Why is a serial for Windows and Xbox One. The first two chapters are available now, with the next chapter coming on September 10.