DONTNOD Entertainment, the development studio responsible for the award-winning narrative series Life is Strange and the action-RPG Vampyr, have announced their newest project Tell Me Why during Thursday’s Xbox X019 event in London. Tell Me Why will be a narrative-centric “intimate thriller” that focuses on a pair of twins named Tyler and Alyson Ronan and their special bond as they explore their complicated childhood memories and navigate adulthood.
The relationship of the twins Tyler and Alyson is the main focus of Tell Me Why, and will see the pair make their way through their lives in an Alaskan small town called Delos Crossing. Players will explore both Alyson’s and Tyler’s memories as they take turns looking backwards to make sense of the most important moments in their lives, helping them to come to terms with and construct meaning out of their pasts that ultimately affect their lives in the present.
The game will also put its focus on Tyler’s experiences with being transgender–Tyler is a trans man. The development team at DONTNOD take representation seriously, and are working together with GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy group, to make sure that their portrayal of Tyler’s transgender experiences felt authentic and compelling for players. They’ve also partnered with the Huna Heritage Foundation and CheckPoint on representing cultural and mental health issues.
“We love them both,” game director Florent Guillaume said in a press release provided to Kotaku, “And we are especially grateful to Microsoft for its full support, openness and help regarding Tyler’s identity and character, as a transgender man.”
“Tyler is a fully-realized, endearing character, whose story is not reduced to simplistic trans tropes,” Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD Nick Adams stated. “Creating a playable lead trans character–and taking such care to get it right–raises the bar for future LGBTQ inclusion in gaming.”
Tell Me Why’s story will unfold over the course of three separate chapters, all of which are slated for release simultaneously in Summer 2020. “We listened closely to fans of narrative adventure games, and we heard loud and clear how painful unpredictable gaps between episodes can be,” said Peter Wyse, General Manager of Publishing for Xbox Game Studios.
Tell Me Why will be published by Microsoft Game Studios Publishing and is coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, and Steam as well as be available through the Xbox Game Pass.