Today, Xbox Game Studios and DONTNOD released Chapter 1 of Tell Me Why, a new narrative video game from the creators of Life is Strange. The game’s second chapter will be available September 3, and the final chapter will be available September 10. All chapters are available on Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam. For more background on GLAAD’s involvement with the game’s creation, check out our story from last November when Xbox announced the game at XO19 in London.
The highly anticipated game, set against the backdrop of a small Alaska town, follows twins Alyson and Tyler Ronan as they reunite and return home a decade after their mother’s tragic death. Voiced by trans actor August Black, Tyler is the first playable transgender character in a game from a major studio.
On launch day, Xbox hosted a live stream on Twitch with Tifa Robles, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, and Livvy Hall, Xbox Game Studios Community Manager. You can watch the recording here to see a significant part of Chapter 1, including Tyler and Alyson’s reunion and their first steps toward solving the mystery of their mother’s death.
Given the problematic history of trans representation in gaming, some fans were wary about how Tyler’s story would be portrayed. Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation, worked alongside DONTNOD and Xbox Game Studios for over two years, from early in the game’s development to final finishing touches, to help bring Tyler to life. By collaborating on story, dialogue, character design, and voice casting, GLAAD and the game’s creators have taken care to ensure that Tyler is a compelling, multi-dimensional character, and his story avoids the harmful transgender stereotypes and tropes of the past.
With the release of Chapter 1, and journalists having received all three chapters to review, that work appears to have paid off – the story has received a strong positive reception from the transgender and gaming community, including an early award from Gamescom 2020 for Best Microsoft Xbox Game. You can check out these reviews to learn more about the reaction to today’s launch.
“As the first playable transgender protagonist in a major studio release, Tyler is an important step forward for representation in gaming,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation told CNN, “I hope that the care and thoughtfulness that Dontnod and Xbox put into creating Tyler’s story will show that writing fully realized trans characters is good for both storytelling and culture overall.”
Earlier this week, Xbox released three behind-the-scenes videos, talking to the Dev Team at DONTNOD and Xbox, as well as Nick Adams, August Black, and GLAAD’s Special Consultant for Gaming, Blair Durkee, who discuss why the trans representation in Tell Me Why is groundbreaking for the gaming industry.
Chapter 1 of Tell Me Why is available now on Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam. And with the next two chapters being released over the next two weeks, what are you waiting for?