September 18, 2020

‘Tell me Why’, a reunion with the past to look to the future | Blog 1 UP


They say that twin brothers maintain a special connection, a bond that unites their experiences and allows them to share feelings and thoughts, almost as if they were the same person. Science, however, has not proven the existence of this nexus, closer to the mystical and legendary than to any proven hypothesis. Even so, Tell me why, he new job by Dontnot Entertainment (Life is Strange, Vampyr), explores this idea and fits it into the narrative. Twins Alyson and Tyler, protagonists of the adventure, use their telepathic abilities to exchange ideas or chat when they do not want to be heard by other people.

Delos Crossing is a small fictional town located in Alaska, a place as icy as an iceberg, cold and intoxicating beauty, yet removed from civilization. Traces of a past are drawn on its snowy surface, symbolically represented by the old wooden house in which the twins lived in their childhood. After years separated by a terrible tragedy, the young men meet again with the intention of selling their old home. They both want to shed their past and take it off as if it were a dirty garment. However, when questions and doubts have not been resolved, yesterday catches them. Almost without realizing it, they feel an urgent need to discover what happened in order to move forward. Thus, throughout this journey, they will find conflict, doubts and guilt, also among themselves.

'Tell me Why', a reunion with the past to look to the future

The antics of the two goblins

There was a time when goblins (Alyson and Tyler) had their way around Delos Crossing. They transformed reality and turned it into their personal fantasy, in a game in which not only the twins participated, but also their mother, Mary-Ann Ronan. As an artist, she wrote an illustrated book for the children, a compilation of stories starring themselves, where they appear as talking animals, princesses, etc. As in any fable, the stories hide a message or a life lesson. But Mary-Ann’s tormented mind leaves room for interpretations that her children must unravel to uncover the most hidden secrets of her soul. After all, the conflict in the narrative stems from the tragic death of the mother, which occurred in the same house in circumstances not fully clarified.

He Book of Goblins it transcends fantasy and applies to reality itself. Dontnod has integrated it as one of the methods to solve the puzzles posed by the game, so that by reading and observing its pages you can find the necessary clues to, for example, open the sealed door of Mary’s room- Ann. All these discoveries provoke reactions in the twins, who face their own fears and doubts differently. The French studio once again demonstrates its ability to tell emotional stories with characters that feel very real, despite the fact that the team always reviews the narration of fantasy or supernatural elements.

'Tell me Why', a reunion with the past to look to the future

A diverse and inclusive video game

The character of Tyler stands out because in the maturity of the study, they have wanted to give voice and space to a trans protagonist. Far from falling into hackneyed clichés, the developer has had the advice of the GLAAD association (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), a decision that has allowed them to outline a solid and nuanced character. In a small town like Delos Crossing, where everyone knows each other and rumors spread at high speed, the traditional model of society is as ingrained as ice. Tessa, Mary-Ann’s best friend, is a person of deep religious devotion, so the inner conflict that underlies her conscience is not surprising. The French developer has treated the subject with sensitivity and delicacy, has shown players sketches of the transition of the character and has avoided at all costs using her dead name (term that refers to calling a trans person by their birth name). Inclusion is also drawn in Mary-Ann herself, who suffers from mental problems, or in the character of Michael Abila, a homosexual boy of indigenous descent, a culture with which she is still in full contact.

The siblings’ trauma is shared and has nothing to do with Tyler’s identity, but rather with the events of the past. These plot threads unfold over three episodes in which we dive introspectively through the personalities of the two protagonists: Alyson, who has lived all her life in Delos Crossing, and her brother, who left town since the death of his mother. . We also explore her relationships with the different people who live in the town, such as the aforementioned Michael, Alyson’s friend, or Eddie, a controversial man because for one she is a father figure and for the other a hostile person.

Memories are the result of experiences, but they depend on many factors. For this reason, twins recall the same event in different ways. One of the mechanics of Tell me why It is to relive sequences from his past through memories. Like other projects of the developer, the decisions modify aspects of the story, which branches out depending on the dialogues chosen. The difference is that in this adventure, the memories of Tyler and Alyson differ in specific points, so you have to choose between one of them. The formula, for the rest, is quite similar to that of other Dontnod video games. Perhaps a little more evolution is missing in that sense, a more interactive touch, so to speak, although I dare to say that this is the study’s most rounded work. And it is because of the characters, because of the topics it deals with and how it does it.

Code provided by Xbox

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