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Dontnod don't want to tell a transgender story "rooted in pain or trauma"

Dontnod Entertainment have popped a spoiler-filled FAQ up for their new narrative-driven game, Tell Me Why, detailing how trans character Tyler’s story is going to be handled. They’ve made the FAQs as sort of content warnings so fans can get an idea of what Tyler’s experience is going to be like before playing.

“So many mainstream narratives about trans people are rooted in pain or trauma, it was important to our team to tell a different, more multi-dimensional story with Tyler,” they say.

“The idea that being transgender is caused by trauma is a stereotype that has no basis in fact, and it plays no role in Tyler’s story.”

In case you missed it, Tell Me Why is the story of twins Alyson and Tyler, who have a special bond that allows them to see visions as they uncover their childhood memories. It looks like the story will explore the twins’ lives, with some points focusing on Tyler’s experiences as a trans man.

If you take a look at the FAQ on Tell Me Why’s website, you’ll notice a few of the questions have big spoiler warnings on them. Now, they don’t reveal too much (though this is still spoilerific, if you’d rather not read on), but the answers tell us that Tyler’s story will always end with an “optimistic” outlook.

It’s refreshing to see this reassurance from Dontnod, considering Life Is Strange’s disastrous queer relationships.

The devs also note that, while Tyler will experience some “ignorant comments” and “microaggressions” in the first chapter, he is never referred to by his dead name. We’re also reassured that there’s no homophobia directed towards Michael, a queer Tlingit character who’s Alyson’s co-worker.

There’s also a paragraph in the FAQ dedicated to explaining how they worked with the Huna Heritage Foundation to make sure they properly represented the Alaskan indigenious population where the game is set. They’ve included Tlingit characters, and even hired Tlingit artists to create the art and objects we’ll see in-game, too.

The first chapter of Tell Me Why releases August 27th, with the other two chapters to follow weekly after. You’ll be able to grab it on Steam and the Microsoft Store, and it’ll cost you £24/$30/€30.

Whatever you call it, hit our E3 2020 tag for more from this summer's blast of gaming announcements, trailers, and miscellaneous marketing. Check out the PC games at the PlayStation 5 show, everything at the PC Gaming Show, and all the trailers from the Xbox showcase, for starters.

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Imogen Beckhelling

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Imogen is a lore enthusiast and lover of all the fun shenanigans game communities get up to. She spends too much time playing Overwatch, and not enough time having interests that aren't to do with video games.

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