The director behind DONTNOD and Microsoft’s recently announced Tell Me Why has opened up about the decision to feature a transgender lead character.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, game director Florent Guillaume explained how protagonist Tyler Ronan has evolved during development. Guillaume said that the studio planned first to have for twin female characters:
“We didn’t start the project setting expectations or having an agenda to push for inclusivity. We started this great collaboration with Microsoft to tell a story about twins, and as we developed the characters and the story, because we’re talking about twins, two identical people, we wanted to make the characters unique […] we came up with this idea of having Tyler be a transgender man.”
Additionally, Guillaume said that the team wanted to explore the idea despite the challenges because it made sense for the narrative design.
“When we started with this idea, we thought it was great, it was [a story] we wanted to tell, it made sense for the story and the characters. We didn’t want to shy away from that and the difficulty of doing it,” said Guillaume.
Furthermore, he explained DONTNOD built a specific focus on each character based on their different childhood experiences. Guillaume went on to say he believed the studio has recognised the importance of representing both characters’ individual personalities.
“[Both twins] have lived different things, they’ve had a journey in their lives that’s made them who they are now. We want to represent both our characters for who they are as people, not as archetypes, and I think we’ve done a good job with that.”
The game’s narrative focuses on the supernatural bond between twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan who together will try to unveil answers to questions about their childhood.
Tell Me Why is currently set for release in 2020 for PC and Xbox One.