Dontnod has now found his latest hobby. These are the narrative adventures like Life is Strange, although I also enjoy their cyberpunk action adventure Remember Me. If I recently attested to Twin Mirror that it was an adult Life is Strange, that is worth also for Tell Me Why. Teenage life doesn’t matter here, it’s about two young adults and the studio raises some important questions.

This time the focus is on the twins, who reunite years after a traumatic childhood experience and come to terms with their past or that of their family, as this shocking event is tied to their mother. With his sister Alyson, Tyler Ronan, a trans man, explores, among other things, the house in which they lived together as a child.

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Tyler et Alyson.

He’s a sensitive subject and the first major transgender character in a major title. A subject that Dontnod addresses well here. The development studio doesn’t put it in your eyes every chance you get or in any way want to rock the moral club, the game or its story doesn’t fall into any cliché. Every once in a while there is a theme in the story whose central hook is the mystery of the past. They treat it like the normal activity it should be – doing their part to normalize it. Either one could learn something.

Sensitive subjects and memories

The fact that Tyler is a trans man isn’t the only thing that should make him interesting or special. Like I said, it matters, yes, but he has his own issues, like everyone else, and like Alyson, is eager to learn more about the past. An important element is the memory of the two, which is also the special twist that always there is in Dontnod’s adventures. Here the twins are basically connected to each other with a kind of telepathy. At specific times, they experience memories together and talk to each other in their thoughts.

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An interesting aspect, because: your memories are not always the same. Every now and then it differs and this is where you come in as a decision maker. It is up to you to determine which memory is the real one. Ultimately it comes down to a simple choice between two options, the question is: how do you come to that conclusion? You determine this, for example, based on conversations or information you track in the environment. If one memory sequence seems more plausible than the other, you choose the corresponding page. True or false? Well it’s not that clear here, just go with your gut. They are different sides of the same coin, as is often the case in real life when you hear stories from two angles and you don’t know how it turned out in the end.

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Your decision affects the bond between the two and their view of different people, as well as the end of the game, of course. In the moments when you’re not dealing with the supernatural aspect of Tell Me Why, here you have the typical gameplay you know from Life is Strange and Co. You move around different locations, examine the surroundings, talk to the characters and learn more about everything and everyone – and in between, you collect a few collectibles. For Dontnod, it’s a proven formula that also works in Tell Me Why.

Tell me why – A first conclusion

Dontnod definitely has a knack for telling difficult topics in a sensitive way that doesn’t sound stereotypical. And this in an industry which generally deviates from it. The first episode is a successful start and the other two episodes follow each other at short intervals, so you don’t have to wait long. Definitely a great way to experience an episode game. And if you liked Dontnod’s previous work, be sure to check it out.

  • Developer / Publisher: Dontnod Entertainment / Xbox Game Studios
  • Plateformes: PC, Xbox One
  • Release date: August 27, 2020 (episode 1), September 3, 2020 (episode 2), September 10, 2020 (episode 3)
  • Language: German (text), English and others
  • Price: 29.99 euros
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