(The Tell Me Why Team thinks so!)
This summer, players will get to explore the secrets and mysteries of the Ronan twins’ childhood in Tell Me Why. Tell Me Why’s story will unfold over the course of three chapters, with all chapters releasing just a few weeks apart.
But what exactly does that mean – and what kind of an experience can fans expect from a short wait in between each chapter?
We reached out to game director Florent Guillaume and executive producer Arnaud de Pischof to get their perspective on the release plan for Tell Me Why.
Tell Me Why: DONTNOD Entertainment is known for creating emotional, compelling stories across a variety of genres. Have the studio’s experiences in making past titles changed the way you’re approaching Tell Me Why?
Florent Guillaume: Absolutely! There are so many things we learn with each new game, from how to create multifaceted characters and intriguing stories to how to design accessible but rich game mechanics – or even how to organize a development team to produce several episodes in parallel. Every new game and story require us to reinvent ourselves, and each time we become wiser and stronger from the learnings of the previous one. This is especially true with episodic games because they are still so new in the industry, and there’s so much uncharted territory to explore there. We’re just at the beginning!
Tell Me Why: What inspired the short timeline for Tell Me Why’s chapter releases?
Florent Guillaume: Fan feedback was our primary source of motivation. We could hear how important it is for fans to be able to enjoy our games without having to wait for long periods of time in between each episode or chapter. Having shorter waits and predictable release dates brings more challenges for us in terms of production, but we hope these changes will be great improvements to the overall player experience.
Tell Me Why: What are some of those newfound production challenges from shorter gaps between releases?
Arnaud de Pischof: There are a lot! We actually need several months to create a full chapter, and having only a few weeks between each release means we have to complete most of each chapter by the time the first comes out. This requires solid processes and lots of organization. It is quite challenging, but the team is doing great, and we are really happy with the result so far.
Tell Me Why: So why not just release all the chapters at once?
Florent Guillaume: As fans of episodic TV shows, we understand that having to wait for that next episode can be an exciting thing but also very frustrating. We’re hoping to find the right balance for players: giving them enough time to share their experiences with Tell Me Why with their friends and the community, while also ensuring that that wait does not become frustrating. We definitely want the community to have enough time to discuss, speculate, and build on their experiences – in just enough time to enjoy the wait between episodes! Because of this, we hope fans’ adventures will be greatly improved with a short wait in between each part of Tell Me Why’s story.
Arnaud de Pischof: We also want to make sure fans have time to finish each chapter before the next one releases. In playtests, we’re seeing that some people complete a chapter within two or three hours – but some players who really want to dig deep into the experience take much longer, which is great! We don’t want fans to feel rushed by the release schedule.
Tell Me Why: What else would you like fans to know about Tell Me Why’s episodic structure, or about how the game is being made?
Florent Guillaume: We’re currently deep into production and are pleased to see the game coming together more and more every day. We’re very excited about how it’s going so far, and we hope our players will enjoy the story of Tyler and Alyson when it comes out this summer!
Arnaud de Pischof: We know that DONTNOD has fans on lots of different platforms, and we’re excited that players will be able to experience all three chapters of Tell Me Why on Xbox and on PC via the Windows Store and Steam. We also think Tell Me Why is a great match for xCloud, and we’re looking forward to talking more about our streaming plans in the near future!