The world of gaming is getting ever more LGBTQ-inclusive.
As the decades have gone by, gaming has become more and more about the storytelling just as much as it is about the boss battles. And with it, LGBTQ inclusion has started to find its way into these stories. Now, big-name games like The Last Of Us, Elder Scrolls, Cyberpunk and more include some factor of LGBTQ inclusion. But now, we’re seeing a new milestone in LGBTQ representation.
According to Polygon, the recent Microsoft X019 event included the reveal that Tell Me Why for the Xbox One will be the first major video game to have a trans man as the main character.
Tell Me Why is a new project by Dontnod, the company that creates the bisexual mecca game series Life is Strange. The story follows a set of twins form Alaska, Tyler and Alyson Ronan. Both had a troubled upbringing for different reasons. The gamer will then explore the memories of both twins through a three-part episodic series. The player then decides which story to believe.
At the X019 event, it was announced that Dontnod is working with LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD to make sure Tyler is as authentic to the transmale experience as possible.
“We did a lot of research, we reached out to the community, we wanted to understand their journeys; we consulted with the charity GLAAD, which often works with media companies on LGBTQ+ representation. We were very naive at first, and they enlighten us a lot, they helped us review the script and the characters and to reach out to people,” Guillaume admitted.
“Tyler is a fully-realized, endearing character, whose story is not reduced to simplistic trans tropes,” says Nick Adams, director of transgender representation at GLAAD. “Creating a playable lead trans character — and taking such care to get it right — raises the bar for future LGBTQ inclusion in gaming.”
Then according to the Hollywood Reporter, Tyler will be voiced by a trans actor named August Black.
“The vocal cast was a priority from day one and it was important that we cast in a representative and authentic way,” says Xbox senior creative director Joseph Staten. “Not only did we cast a trans actor for the English part, but we’re working hard to find people in the localized languages as well and make sure we have a strong, representative performance no matter where in the world you might play the game.”
For the creatives over at Dontnod, a lot of effort has been made to flesh out the twins as much as possible.
“We wanted these characters who were born identical to have lived very different lives, and it was while exploring this path that we came up with the idea of having a trans character,” said director Florent Guillaume to the Guardian.
With all of this fine-tuning being done with the characters and story, and what we’ve already seen Dontnod do with LGBTQ characters, we’re not worried about the finished product. And it appears we have time till the game’s first episode drops anyway. While no release date has been announced, gaming experts believe that the first episode of Tell Me Why will drop for Xbox One and PC sometime in the spring of 2020.