First major video game to feature transgender lead character

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Tell Me Why will be first video game with a transgender protagonist from a major studio

Media and popular culture continue their obsession with the .6 percent of humanity that calls itself transgender, with the first transgender character to lead a story line in a video game being announced by Xbox Games Studios in what is being hailed breathlessly as a breakthrough for the industry.

This year’s Williams Institute (UCLA) report on the U.S.A.’s trans population puts the number of transgender people at slightly over a half a percent. But transgender speakers, characters, story hours, high school classes and athletes continue to be a guarantee of attention from a seemingly trans-obsessed media. 

The game from France-based DONTNOD Entertainment is set in small-town Alaska, and the storyline places the player at the heart of a mystery where identical twins Tyler (a transgender male) and Alyson Ronan reunite after ten years apart – using a “supernatural bond” to unravel memories of a loving but troubled childhood.

‘Over the course of the story, players will explore the identical twins’ different memories of key events and choose which memory to believe.

‘Ultimately, the choices players make determine the strength of the twins’ bond – and the future course of their lives.’ 

DONTNOD say they have worked closely alongside Microsoft and the LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD in shaping Tyler as an authentic representation of the trans experience, as well as a genuine, multidimensional character.

Nick Adams, Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD said: ‘Microsoft and DONTNOD have approached Tyler with a real commitment to authenticity. “Creating a playable lead trans character – and taking such care to get it right – raises the bar for future LGBTQ inclusion in gaming.’

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