Microsoft game 'Tell Me Why' makes history with transgender lead character

Tell Me Why's Tyler is the first playable transgender protagonist in a major studio game, something Microsoft worked with GLAAD to achieve.


Posts getting away from the game-focused aspects of this article will be marked. Stay on point. -coolbeans

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ArchangelMike510d ago ShowReplies(9)
-Foxtrot510d ago

When you make a trans male character...great

When you make a trans male character and exploit the shit out of him to make it some sort of selling point, showing at the same time just HOW progressive your studio is...not great

No one minds LGBT representation, it's just when studios focus on it and use it as some kind of marketing tool.

isarai510d ago

Welcome to 2019, where representation is exploited for profit.

-Foxtrot510d ago

It's sad

Being part of the LGBT community I'm just upset some people see this as a win rather than what studios are really doing.

It's like when it's Pride Month and every company changes logos to the rainbow flag, while coming up with LGBT themed variations of their products. It's not supporting pride, it's profiting off them

PlayableGamez-509d ago

The point of Capitalism is exploitation for profit.
That has always been the case since the transition to Capitalism.
I don't see why complain about it now if you didn't complain about it before.

Godmars290509d ago

Since when, for how long, has capitalism been a thing much less something to option in or out of? Pretty sure many American Indians would have said no to it if they could. Likewise lower class Englishmen, women and children pressed into factory work.

The key issue with capitalism, as an extension of industrialization, is that it is dependent on both exploitation and expansionism if not dehumanization.

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rainslacker509d ago

In 20 years, people may realize this, and then theyll say how these exploitative tropes need to stop. Probably after people grow tired of the outrage, and they need to find something else to profit off of.

Hedstrom508d ago

"The point of Capitalism is exploitation for profit". Actualy it isnt. The point of capitalism is that the profit is to be reinvested to create more jobs. Not to be hoarded and for some to live in luxury. But as with all ideoligies they get twisted and corrupted!

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Obscure_Observer510d ago (Edited 510d ago )


"No one minds LGBT representation, it's just when studios focus on it and use it as some kind of marketing tool."

Yeah, Druckmman has been facing all sorts of accusations from people who thinks exactly like you.

I mean, how exactly people want play as gay or transgender main character in a story driven game with great focus on narrative while expecting some real life dramas and problems faced by those characters to be swept under under the rug?

You could just say: "This game is not for me"

-Foxtrot510d ago

" how exactly people want play as gay or transgender main character in a story driven game with great focus on narrative while expecting some real life dramas and problems faced by those characters to be swept under under the rug?"

I'm not saying you can't do that, my issue is marketing the game in that way to show people what you are doing, like they need you to know how they are tackling these themes so you support the game, pat them on the back and play the game because they are "such a progressive studio".

How about you just release the game, let people play and find out the main character is trans through the game its self rather then letting the marketing PR team tell you all about it.

No one knew Ellie was gay or was going down that road until NaughtyDog released the Left Behind DLC, even then you could have said "well she's just a kid, she could just be discovering herself and who knows where she'll finally land as she gets older". The fact is Neil didn't out her in the Left Behind trailers, he just did it and we found out while playing the game. .

RpgSama509d ago (Edited 509d ago )

"The fact is Neil didn't out her in the Left Behind trailers, he just did it and we found out while playing the game."

1000% this.

MasterCornholio509d ago

I think one of the saddest things that I've seen on this site is people attack the Last of Us 2 due to homophobia.

Members of the LGBT community can have great stories to tell and I don't have an issue with then being a main character in video games. It's just a shame that there are some people out there who don't want to give the game a chance due to Ellie's social status.

Imalwaysright509d ago (Edited 509d ago )


Ellie's sexual orientation didn't define her. She stood out for her character flaws, humane qualities and actions. Those are the things that imo truly define a human being or on this case a character in a video game. She is a beautifully written character and without any doubt one of my favorites in video games history.

RpgSama509d ago


Totally agree, unfortunately in tv, movies and now games they want the defining characteristic to be who they f* or what pronounce they want to be called instead of how they behave as a human being, flaws and all.

rainslacker509d ago

I was actually kind of annoyed that drukkman decided to clarify her sexual identity. I kind of liked that they left it open to interpretation, because it could have been that she was just sharing an intimate moment with a friend about to die, could have meant she was bi or just unsure of her sexuality, could have been because she was a confused kid, or could have been that she was a lesbian.

TLOU was great because it left things open to interpretation, which over the years has led to quite a few good discussions, where more than one persons interpretation could still be right, and it was often respectful and was the way that discussions should be. But, drukkman decided to clarify, get his progressive brownie points, and the discussion went from all those other possibilities to the same old sjw/anti-SJW rhetoric that we have all the time because all those representations are usually shallow and meaningless, and they tend to beat you over the head about what you should feel about it.

Basically, drukkman cheapened the meaning of the scene, for no reason other than to validate his own agenda. It was a beautifully written and acted scene. One of many in the DLC. But since he said something, it's really the only talking point of the DLC anymore.

I'm hoping they go back to something more meaningful with TLOU2, and I'm giving ND the benefit of the doubt, but I'll be severely disappointed if the SJW rhetoric becomes a big focal point for discussion for the game after release. I can understand it now, because people are stupid, but afterwards, it just seems silly to think that's about the only thing worth talking about. If it is, then that means there isnt enough of a story or game worth discussing, and that's where people should look.more than whatever sexual preference ellie has

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Zeref509d ago

It's a story about trans people. Of course it's gonna be marketed as such. The whole story seems to be about him being trans...

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Zeref509d ago

So developers shouldn't make whatever they want?

Elda509d ago

I think it's much more to the game & story than the character being trans,the game is labeled as a adventure game. Seeing these comments here marketing this game about the starring character is the right way to go.Why having folks go into this blind then when they play & find out about the character they get hysterical & feel they were duped for buying a game that has a trans character. Then the lawsuits start to happen because there are folks that are still closed minded especially looking at most of these comments posted here about the game's character.

Chexs1990509d ago

This exactly the type of thing I hate man -_-

I don't care which sexual preference people have, or even if they identify as opposite gender.

But if your whole character is build around that one trait, then you are a de facto uninteresting person

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Xb1ps4509d ago (Edited 509d ago )

Just my opinion Fox... but I think that’s part of the problem with lgbt everything is a problem.. take this for instance, you don’t like ppl marketing and making a profit but when your group gets the donations off that marketing they sure as hell don’t turn down the donations..

And at the end of the day... did you stop to think that maybe they are focusing on it to get YOUR attention to buy the product?! And support it?!

The title of the game gives no clue on what the game is.. so please tell me where is the line on the sand? Should they simply not market the game at all? And just release it? And let ppl figure it out?

monkey602509d ago

DontNod openly admitted they did not start development of this game with a trans character. It was a decision made later in the works.

So yes this could be all just a song and dance to make the game stand out

Veneno509d ago

Ok. So the solution is to assume that they are being exploitative until they can prove to you that they are being genuine?

monkey602509d ago

Or dont do interviews stating you tacked on some controversial issues to have people talk about your game.

cfc83509d ago

Surely to spread a message of equality, you need gather more publicity and sell more games. Gaming is a business where messages can't be spread at a loss. It's tough to have a trans main character without getting a certain ammount of attention.

rainslacker509d ago

The best way to spread the message of equality is to just make people equal. It's not a selling point to have a straight male character, so why is it a selling point to have something other than that?

You cant have equality while singling out anecdotes as special.

Make a LGBT character, but make then human. The best LGBT characters are those where they just are that, but it's not their primary defining characteristic. Straight characters are usually just assumed to be that, and unless their sexuality is part of the story, its rarely a topic that's broached, and even rarer where its explored deeply.

If the story in question here is about the journey of a transgendered person, then fair enough, it makes sense. But, shouldn't announcing that be more important than just saying that it has a transgendered character?

The movie Philadelphia was really good because of the plight of the main character. Despite them being gay, their troubles and conflict were distinctly human in nature, so the viewer.could empathize and relate.

How does a person just relate to a person being transgendered? Are their issues human? I'd say at some base level, yes, there are things they may face that others can understand, even if not the specific things they may face.

Those human elements are what's infinitely more important to a good story, and having people accept these characters regardless of their specific identifications, and a good story or character can be swapped out with any number of other types of identifications or characters and be just as good.

For instance, in TLOU, would Bill have been a better or worse character if he weren't gay? I'd say the answer is no. But if the answer is yes, it means they failed to make a good character, with his own story arc also being good. I think the fact they didnt make it a focus just made his inclusion more meaningful, because it showed him as an equal.

When the focus is on the special, it cheapens the meaning and intent.

Godmars290509d ago

Find myself more and more on the confused side of the argument, given that it seems that the act of transitioning to another gender rather than being whole recognized as the transitioned gender is the focus. That many want to be in a constant state of transition.

Lore509d ago

Hey at least the Victoria Secret CMO gives zero f’s. True to himself and what he believes. One of the bravest and realest comments I’ve read from an executive in a long time.

Veneno509d ago

Once again you are assuming way too much.

509d ago Replies(1)
beastrik509d ago

Welcome to American media.

Bigman4k509d ago

I agree but thats the world we live in now

DarXyde509d ago

But on the other hand, isn't that what any developer does when they make a game with a female lead or person of color, perhaps both? Heck, even a surge in games with white males leads following some backlash about PC culture would seem a bit shoehorned.

I think we can call it exploitation in many contexts, but I also think it depends on what they do with this information: there should either be a very good reason (e.g., it is an important narrative element) or a very dumb reason (e.g., they picked it out of a hat). Anything in between is fair game to be treated as exploitation in my opinion, and that is where I may agree with you.

Now, some may argue that Ellie from The Last of Us being—to our knowledge—exclusively lesbian was something that was forced on us. But I actually think that it shows the hopelessness of that world: one of the few people in the world with immunity to the cordyceps outbreak will not be reproducing. There is an argument to be made there.

But let's pump the brakes on all that for a moment...

At the end of the day, can't it also just give different groups representation in games or serve as an educational tool? We don't have to be so cynical about the reasoning behind the decision. Maybe a developer just wanted to make a game with a trans lead. Maybe that's the point—we're so used to NOT seeing it that when we do see it, we treat it as unapologetic pandering/ exploitation.

I don't really know what the right answer is here, but at the end of the day, if it's a great, memorable game, I'm all for it.

ChronoJoe509d ago

I worked with DONTNOD on a small project doing Life is Strange 2's development, they're good people with good intentions. While it's fair to say that you don't like some aspect of the game, or representation, I think it's unfair to say that their games are diverse, only for the sake of profit.

I don't think that's what the folks working on this game are doing.

DONTNODs development team are very diverse, and they want to tell stories that feature characters who are rarely represented in video games.They have members of the team from all backgrounds, and they enjoy making diverse games which represent realistic degrees of diversity.

Life is Strange 1 features LBGT themes, Life is Strange 2 focuses on racism and prejudice. Watch the trailers and marketing for those games, I don't think that they exploit the identity of their characters for profit, they tell fantastic stories surrounding these characters.

ChristopherJack509d ago

Why is that so bad? Annoying, sure.

But I don't get why promoting such a thing is so evil.

It's common to use sex appeal or violence to sell games but progressive themes? How dare you!

Here comes the usual mountain of downvotes from not jumping into the circlejerk & automatically hating everything that's outside of traditional values with utter bullshit responses pretending otherwise while deflecting the truth that they're just petty & hateful.

rainslacker509d ago

I don't think it's evil. But given the PC culture of today, it's gotten pretty annoying. This causes people to speak out against it more than they would typically.

CorndogBurglar509d ago

I agree with everything you're saying. But......its people complaining about there not being enough representation that leads to this stuff.

There will never be a middle ground that everyone finds and flocks to. The Last of Us 2 is a perfect example of this. From everything we've seen, Ellie just happens to be a gay character. The story doesn't look to center around it. It was revealed she was gay in the first game.

Yet that first trailer we saw had people all in an uproar about a scene of her kissing a female. As if they didn't know she was gay and that's what gay people do. The argument has been made a million times about how they focused on that, when they didn't. I saw it as a way to show that Ellie has found someone to love in this crazy world. And I think k it's safe to assume that person is going to be taken away from Ellie. So how else can they show their level of love for each other and the loss Ellie will feel when she dies, if they don't show something as simple as a kiss.

I know I'm staying a bit, but my point is this. No matter what direction anyone goes in when it comes to people being represented, someone is going to complain that they are offended. It's just the way the world is and it sucks. It doesn't matter if we're talking about sexual orientation or race.

Fox, you've been this site a long time. You've seen it as much as anyone. A game comes out with a gay character, suddenly its pandering. A game comes out with a black main character? Pandering. No matter how well done it is.

Not everyone is like this, mind you. In fact it's probably a minority. But the fact still remains that you can never please anyone, and no matter what you, me, or anyone else thinks the right way to go is, there are always others that disagree and find something to complain about.

Chexs1990509d ago

Well said Fox.
Hollywood has been doing this crap for years, resulting in mundane characters and lackluster character development.

Who cares about sexual preference or if you identify as the opposite gender, honestly.
I care about good characters and solid narrative (or solid gameplay at least).

As in real life, if your only defining character traits is your sexual preference/identification, then you are uninteresting to point of having no real story to tell

DonDon3000509d ago (Edited 509d ago )

-FoxTrot: You say you're cool with Trans persons so long as their not "exploited". Do you have any proof that this character (in this particular instance) is being exploited?

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ShockUltraslash509d ago

Well it's good that the gays are getting their game.
I am not the target audience and am not interested in this by design.

sander9702509d ago

The gays already have the greatest game of all time called "avoid the fires". They all fail at it though.

froy402509d ago

The gays have the best game of all time called, (The last of us).

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Psychotica509d ago ShowReplies(10)