This game told one of my favourite stories from last year's roster of very strong releases, and it helps that Tell Me Why is a feast for the eyes, too, treading water between realism and artistic representations of this corner of the world. When they were very young, the twins Alyson and Tyler Ronan witnessed a terrible and tragic event that led to their separation. Alyson is adopted into the family of the police officer who was in charge of investigating the event whereas Tyler was sent to a juvenile detention centre. After ten years, the two reunite in their hometown of Delos Crossing in rural Alaska in order to sell the house where they grew up.
However, as they explore their old rooms, they're able to tap into the telepathy that they used to share when they were children. They even recall the memories they formed here and these come to life in sparkling silhouettes. The player, who is controlling either Alyson or Tyler in that moment, then has the option of agreeing or disagreeing with a memory, which then changes the path of the story and how the twins uncover the truth of what happened a decade ago. "Tell Me Why taps into very relatable themes: misremembering events of years gone by, and hanging onto half-truths and outright lies long enough for them to have taken root as exactly what happened, in your memory," said Mike Diver in our review. "Its twin protagonists are both loving to each other and able to flare up and argue, qualities that I'm sure any player with siblings will recognise."
Developer Dontnod Entertainment has announced that the game is now free to download on Xbox and PC to celebrate Pride Month. Tyler is a trans man (voiced by a trans actor) and his experiences in Delos Crossing are very different to those of his sister's. In order to represent these events accurately and respectfully, the developer brought on cultural, mental health and transgender consultants. Furthermore, the team has been careful to ensure that players are given warning where instances like misgendering or violence occur in the story in an FAQ. As a result, the game won the Authentic Representation Award and Best LGBTQ Character at the Gayming Awards as well as the Game For Impact award at The Game Awards 2020.
"Our intention in making Tell Me Why free for June 2021 is both to allow even more people to access the game and to encourage our players to spend their money in places that will directly affect trans and queer communities," explained Dontnod Entertainment, supplying a list of links to games from trans and queer developers and encouraging readers to donate to charities. All three Chapters of Tell Me Why are free to grab on the Microsoft Store for Xbox and PC and are available on Steam for PC too.
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