Tyranny - All News
Thursday - August 24, 2017
Tyranny: Bastard's Wounds - Release Date
@Gamebanshee Tyranny: Bastard's Wounds release date has been set for September 7th 2017.
Bastard's Wound, the upcoming expansion for Obsidian Entertainment's Tyranny will launch in roughly two weeks, on September 7, 2017, and will cost $14.99. We learn this from the newly released cinematic trailer that sets up the stage for the expansion that fully intends to challenge your convictions and your loyalty to Kyros, your Overlord. Check it out:loading...
Tuesday - August 15, 2017
Tyranny: Bastard's Wounds - Interview @ PC Invasion
The people of PC Invasion have interviewed matt MacLean, Julia Kernan and Mikey Dowling from Obsidian's about Bastard's Wounds an upcoming DLC for Tyranny.
PC Invasion: Whereabouts in the game’s three acts does Bastard’s Wound slot into the story?
Matt McLean: This DLC is designed to be accessible to players who are at almost any point in the game. We put most of the action in the second Act of the game, to make it accessible to players on any of the major branches of the quest.
PCI: Is that so players who may have already finished Tyranny last year will be able to jump in asap?
MM: We have a New Game Plus mode that was released [for free] alongside the last DLC [Tales from the Tiers]. Our goal with this one is to have a DLC that doesn’t require the player to have already beaten the game. If they beat the game already they can go to an old save at Act Two, or just New Game Plus their way to Act Two. Act One isn’t very long, so we figured that’s the sweet spot to get the most players.
PCI: The spell system was one thing I really enjoyed in Tyranny, will the expansion add anything to that system?
MM: With the last DLC we’ve had some modifications to the spell system in terms of balance. We’re not adding any major sigils, mainly out of a problem of multiplicity. Any new sigil has to interact with every other shape and accent. We certainly thought about it, and it’s something we kinda wanted to do, but it’s something that turned out to be more expensive than we initially thought possible.
In some ways we made the magic system so complex that adding to it is a multiplication problem out of the scope of what we were trying to do.
Tuesday - June 13, 2017
Tyranny - DLC Tales from the Tiers released
The new DLC Tales from the Tiers for Tyranny is now available:
Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
Experience a swath of untold stories from the world of Tyranny, in Tales from the Tiers! This new Event Pack for the critically acclaimed role-playing game (RPG) from Obsidian Entertainment showcases new details and aspects of life within Kyros' empire. Rebels, merchants, servants of Kyros, and more -- all live in the hazardous, war-torn Tiers, and one never knows whom one may meet on the road. New random encounter events, new quests, and new interactions with Tyranny's iconic cast of characters all feature in Tales from the Tiers, meaning players can experience more depth, more story, and more evil than ever.
Alongside Tales from the Tiers Paradox is proud to announce a free update for all Tyranny owners, which includes more ways for players to explore the game's many events and outcomes.
Features of Tales from the Tiers:
New Travel Events:Random encounters while traveling may lead to new quests, or new events focused on companions and new NPCs
Expanded Story:Interaction with the denizens of the Tiers let players explore more of the world of Tyranny and its inhabitants
More Replay Options:A free patch adds New-Game-Plus mode and character re-spec options for an easier way to explore other plotlines
Sunday - June 11, 2017
Tyranny - New DLC Coming
PCGamesN points to some teasers and thinks new DLC is coming for Tyranny.
Obsidian have been teasing something Tyranny-flavoured, over on their Twitter account. Our guess is it’s some DLC. What else could it be?
It’s doubtful we’ll ever see a sequel to the RPG that lets you be the bad guy, since it’s struggled to meet sales expectations. Still, it’s good that the game is still being supported despite those lower player numbers.
There have been two tweets: one shows a volcano spewing out molten lava, while the other shows a deep, dark dungeon.
Monday - May 22, 2017
Tyranny - Is being evil in RPGs fun?
Richard Cobbet asks the question "Is being evil in RPGs fun?" on Rock Paper Shotgun:
The RPG Scrollbars: The Fall Of Tyranny
Kickstarter’s been pretty good for RPGs. We may not have seen the next big leap yet – Divinity: Original Sin 2 is looking pretty damn special, mind – but it’s certainly breathed new life into the classics. Wasteland and Pillars of Eternity are both returning. Numenera went down well, despite a little over-promising. Divinity was superb.
Have I left anyone out? (Oh yeah, don’t forget Taz.)
Oh. Yes. Tyranny. If you thought that game kinda landed and faded quickly, you’re not alone. Despite being a very solid half of a game, even Obsidian/Paradox have admitted that when it came to it, “everyone was hoping that it would do better.” I think it deserved to. The thing is, I’m not sure this should have been a huge surprise.
Wednesday - May 17, 2017
Tyranny - Didn't sell well
Alrik Fassbauer and Sir Brennus spotted an article about the struggles of Tyranny to hit the sales target on PCGamesN:
Why didn't Tyranny sell? Paradox on Obsidian's RPG "everyone was hoping would do better"
Obsidian’s Tyranny is destined to be remembered as one of the boldest RPGs of the decade - not that anything so rote as destiny would figure into a world ruled over by an all-powerful but unseen genderless communist. It also felt uniquely timely, releasing as it did right on top of the election of a US president many believed had the potential to become a tyrant.
But even the combination of those factors couldn’t translate into mad sales. Speaking at Paradox Con in Stockholm this weekend, the company’s top figures voiced disappointment over what they know was a brave and brilliant follow-up to Pillars of Eternity.
“Obsidian did a great job of capitalising on the timing of Kickstarter and the wave of nostalgia for these type of titles,” goes his hypothesis. “We've seen that most of the titles after Pillars of Eternity, if you look at Wasteland, Torment - they haven't been anywhere near that kind of success. So maybe it's that a lot of nostalgia fed into the initial bubble and that's why. These games have a market, but it's never gonna be that peak [again].”
Saturday - March 04, 2017
Tyranny - Virtue of the Villain
Farflame spotted this editorial about Tyranny on OnlySP:
Tyranny Examines the Virtue of the Villain
RPGs are synonymous with the hero’s journey. Whether tasked with saving the kingdom or galaxy, or simply defeating a great evil, gamers come into these titles with a certain expectation to do good deeds and hold back the tides of darkness. However, some of the better RPGs, especially in recent years, do not portray morality in such a stark, black-and-white fashion. Instead, such titles allow many of the decisions players make to exist in a grey area. Few ever put the player in direct control of a villain, at least from the onset. In Tyranny, Obsidian subverts this tradition, casting players as a bad guy in the form of a Fatebinder of the Overlord Kyros. Tasked with overseeing the final conquest of the Tiers, the last country holding out from Kyros’s rule, players are the villain, the conqueror coming to crush the last holdouts under the Overlord’s heel. Yet players are not blindly the black on this moral scale, as two main factions exist within this evil, the Disfavored and the Scarlet Chorus, which offer vastly different versions of that morality, and therein allow players to explore evil from the perspective of the bad guys.
Wednesday - January 18, 2017
Tyranny - Matt Maclean discusses Lore
@gameumentary Matt Maclean, lead narrative designer, is interviewed about Tyranny lore.
"We focused on the Edicts as the driving elements for the quests in the areas of our game," says MacLean, "and put a great deal of thought into the factions of the game, how they'd factor into the different solutions, and how we could create a matrix of different interactions (such as this faction would want an Edict broken, another would want it kept in place, another may not care but wants some other thing accomplished).
"We aimed to tell a story that had enough conflict to keep you going forward, enough choice in how it plays out, and enough so that you could see a different experience if you played it from the other side."
Throughout this process, MacLean constantly drew on his previous experiences with Obsidian, as well as inspirations from real-life and a variety of fantasy genres.
"At the risk of being overly self-referential," he explains, "I think Fallout: New Vegas was our single biggest inspiration. We knew we wanted that sort of mixed reputation system, a world more or less already ravaged by human brutality, and quests that feature you making bad situations maybe better, or maybe much worse. The game is real time with pause, not a first person shooter, and it's fantasy, not sci-fi, but at its core, despite these technical differences, the soul of Tyranny draws heavily from our work on New Vegas.
"Most of my inspiration comes primarily from real life - I could mine human history for evil ideas literally forever - more acts of evil and deceit are created in one day than we can put in a game that takes years to make. Games are probably the second most influential source for me. I'm not much of a reader and can usually only tolerate fantasy literature if it's interactive. I have a big place in my heart for the non-digital games in my life and draw a lot of inspiration from them: Warhammer (both the RPG and the game with man-Barbies), Ars Magica (and its successor Mage: The Ascension), Earthdawn, GURPS, and Paranoia all feel forever loaded into my brain's RAM.
Tuesday - January 03, 2017
Tyranny - Review @ GiN
GiN has reviewed Tyranny:
Being Bad is so Good in Tyranny RPG
Most role-playing games either make you the typical good guy, or give you some sort of choice as to how you want to play your character. However, I am sure that we have all found that even in those games where there is a choice, the so-called good paths are often much more scripted and fun to play. Obsidian Entertainment’s Tyranny tosses all of that out the window. You are a bad guy in this game, working for an even more corrupt government and enforcing their laws by any means necessary.
Tyranny is a refreshing twist for the old RPG genre. Beyond just the fact that you can truly play an evil character if you want, is a really solid game that hits all the right buttons. The plot is really well crafted. The character all seem realistic. Combat is fierce but fair. Player choices truly matter. And there is a ton of replay value because one or two choices can totally change the world, making subsequent playthroughs almost feel like completely different games.
Good and evil players alike should find a lot to love in Tyranny, one of the best RPGs we’ve played all year.
Saturday - December 17, 2016
Tyranny - Review @ Game-Over
Game-Over has reviewed Tyranny:
- The Good: Nice spell crafting. Some good voice work. I like the “evil conquers” motif.
- The Bad: Endless, worthless loot to plow through. Combat gets very repetitive.
- The Ugly: For a branching RPG, the branches are actually very few.
I’m of two minds when reviewing Tyranny. One mind likes the idea of a world in which you’re working for the bad guys, so to speak, the conquerors who have defeated all the armies in the realm and taken over. Being on the side of the ruthless overlords should be a bedazzled opportunity to let your inner douche out as you crush what little pockets of resistance to the malevolent overload remain uncrushed. I also liked this idea in the hands of the people who gave us the quite good Pillars of Eternity. The other mind however is disappointed in how limited your opportunities for being an a-hole turn out to be, and how, for a game with so much combat, the combat turns out to be one of the weakest points. Let’s take a deeper dive, shall we?
As I read this over, I find it all seems very negative, and I didn’t intend it to sound like that. Tyranny is no Pillars of Eternity – let me say that straight out – but the story has some compelling moments, even as the branching portions aren’t really among them. Your decisions come to affect the fate of the whole world, even as I’m not sure making those decisions differently would have ultimately made any significant difference in the outcome. Side with the Dishonored, side with the Scarlet Chorus, side with the rebellion – except for some (at least as I see it) minor who lives/who dies outcomes, the overall fate of the world remains unchanged.
Monday - December 05, 2016
Tyranny - Video Interview with Brian Heins
@Gamasutra they interview Brian Heins about Tyranny and the development behind it. Brian also goes on mention the prospects of further Tyranny games.
The underlying premise of Obsidian’s latest RPG Tyranny is that you’re a character willingly serving an evil overlord and working to support their dictatorial goals. Along the way, that means the player is going to participate in some grim stuff. Executions, betrayals, and mass murder may all be on the table for players willing to go along with the will over Overlord Kyros.
So grim in fact, that according to Tyranny game director Brian Heins, the only way Obsidian Entertainment was able to do it was because many of the designers had worked on the extremely vulgar and ill-flavored game South Park: The Stick of Truth. During our stream of Tyranny today, Heins explained that simply being able to talk about such grim ideas in a context that wouldn’t bring HR down on their heads helped them consider how to get players to interact with the concept of true evil.loading...
Sunday - December 04, 2016
Tyranny - Review @ Good Game
Good Game has reviewed Tyranny:
Tyranny is a new PC RPG from Obsidian Entertainment, the same devs who brought us games like Pillars of Eternity and Neverwinter Nights 2- it's hard to find another studio as experienced in role-playing games.
Monday - November 28, 2016
Tyranny - Review @ GameSpew
GameSpew has reviewed Tyranny:
"Sometimes, Evil Wins" is Tyranny's tag line. In a world where the bad guys have already risen up and (almost) taken over the world, what would you do? Would you give in to the order of this new chaos and join one of the Overlord Kyros’ many legions? Try to create a legion of your own? Or would you try and work for good – even if you’ve already lost?
The latest RPG from Obsidian Entertainment gives you this choice. Not just in the usual RPG way either; Tyranny, compared to its contemporaries, is a shorter, more complex and oftentimes more choice-driven experience. At around 25 hours long, you would be forgiven for thinking that Obsidian have created something shorter than usual. But Tyranny’s length is one of its greatest assets; helping elevate its strengths and soften its shortcomings.
- Choices actually matter and affect the world dramatically
- Obsidian's trademark great writing
- Conquest introduces the world without complicationMinus:
- Too much combat with too little variety
- An incredibly sudden ending
- Loot is a little boring
Tuesday - November 22, 2016
Tyranny - Review @ TechRaptor
TechRaptor writer Robert Grosso has reviewed Tyranny:
Being evil is hard, because what makes you evil is simply your approach to a problem. After all, the perspective of what is considered good and evil is often how a story is framed; players tend to focus on the “good side” without much thought, and games that provide a degree of choice to their narratives often go to the extremes of each ideal; saintly good or cartoonish evil being the choices to emphasize a binary morality to them.
Video games often glorify “evil” with rebellious anti-heroes, passionate freedom fighters, or altruistic rule breakers all the time too, but what does it really mean to be truly evil, in the sense that your beliefs, your convictions are shaped by the circumstances you find yourself? What sacrifices do you make to your morality in the face of the greater good being against the law? This is the question Tyranny, the latest RPG from Obsidian, grapples with, and while providing a fair representation of evil beyond evil’s sake, it ultimately misses the mark in reaching its full potential.
Score: 7/10 - Very Good
Monday - November 21, 2016
Tyranny - Review @ Gamepressure
Gamepressure has reviewed Tyranny:
Tyranny Review – an RPG full of contrasts
As we wait for the sequel to Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian Entertainment gives us Tyranny – a game where we play as the Big Bad’s loyal agent. This short-term project features numerous ideas and mechanics, but only some of them pay off.
Tyranny is a project from Obsidian Entertainment that appeared almost out of nowhere. After the success of Pillars of Eternity we expected the devs to be hard at work on a continuation. The veterans of RPG development, however, have picked up a side job – they've returned to an old project, buried deep in their archives for years after it almost sank the company in 2012. For Feargus Urquhart's team it was all about sentiment – settling some scores with the past by digging up the world and the story of a game that could've been an Xbox One launch title but ultimately led only to mass lay-offs and financial instability of the company.
It seems that by releasing Tyranny so suddenly, Obsidian itself has submitted to the tyranny of the new era, with its growing popularity of classic role-playing games and the market which abhors vacuum and demands regularity. It’s clear that the product, which was conceived as an escape from larger, epic RPGs, is a game whose premise was formulated centuries ago and was finished quickly in-between other big titles. Tyranny is a patchwork of all kinds of mechanics and ideas – while some of them may spark some enthusiasm, others will raise nothing but doubt.
After all is said and done Tyranny remains a proposal that will be controversial among fans of the genre. An ambitious, unique plot is being sold in a package with a lot of mediocre ideas. Delight born in the first hour is killed in the following acts, when the game begins to put too much emphasis on combat, which seems to be only a cheap filler in place of some truly interesting content. This lack of consistency is visible on many levels, which may worry when we are talking about a game coming from the veterans of the genre. Now the question remains, what lessons will Obsidian learn from this – we shall see after the release of Pillars of Eternity 2.
Sunday - November 20, 2016
Tyranny - Gameplay @ RPG Site
RPG Site checked out Tyranny - here's the three hour video:
Tyranny Gameplay Footageloading...
Bryan Vitale plays Tyranny, the new cRPG (Computer RPG) from Obsidian - makers of Pillars of Eternity, Fallout: New Vegas, KOTOR 2, etc.
Saturday - November 12, 2016
Tyranny - Combat Guide
PC Invasion have a beginniners guide to combat for Tyranny.
If you've not played Pillars of Eternity, or haven't touched a more traditional isometric-ish RPG before, then Tyranny's combat system may hold some mystery. These are the basics that should help you triumph on Normal difficulty, and give you a solid grounding for stepping up to higher levels of play if desired.
Our full Tyranny review is still in progress (contrary to early reports, this game is quite long), and will be up on the site in the next few days.
Primarily, the early moves Obsidian's more recent real-time-with-pause combat systems are about smart positioning. Tyranny has an ‘engagement' system that means once a couple of parties are in combat, they're basically locked that way until one dies or tries to break away (suffering a ‘disengagement' penalty and some free hits).
Make use of custom formations (the square with dots for corners to the left of your party portraits will lead you there) once you have three or four members in your party. That way, you can mostly make sure that your front line are the tougher, ‘tankier' members of your team (Barik, Kills-in-Shadows, Verse if she's been equipped for it).
Also, consider visiting the menu options and choosing a few auto-pause options. Having the game pause by default whenever you get into combat is a very helpful way to give you time to consider the layout of your opponents. Make frequent use of pausing in combat too, in order to suss out where the most danger and damage is coming from, and how to put a stop to it.
Tyranny - More Reviews
Tyranny review – a rich and entertaining exploration of evil
The latest role-playing fantasy from the Pillars of Eternity creators puts players into a morally ambiguous universe of tyrants and mercenaries
The latest isometric RPG from the creators of Pillars of Eternity casts you in the role of a reluctant or zealous antihero (depending on how you play), serving the Overlord Kyros, a being of immense and undeniable power who beat the forces of good and essentially rules the world. You exist to snuff out the last resistance to this tyrant but that doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.
Whatever legacy players leave on the world of Terratus, Tyranny will leave a lasting legacy on RPGs. This is a game that truly takes on the whole concept of evil and does it justice.
Obsidian returns to the world of old-school RPG gaming with aplomb through Tyranny, a fantasy epic armed to the teeth with a plot of deception and intrigue.
Although Obsidian Entertainment has been grabbing headlines over recent months due to its work on the upcoming South Park: The Fractured But Whole, along with its desire to work on a new Fallout game, the developer has also been returning to its roots in C-RPGs. Last year, the developer released Pillars of Eternity, which had tremendous success as a callback to the days of what many consider to be the height of the power of Western RPGs. Now, Obsidian has again gone back to that game style with the launch of Tyranny.
Of course, the game is not perfect, and some may find the odd all-or-nothing decision regarding forces to recruit jarring, or the locations within the world itself a little too devoid of scope to be a truly immersive experience. However, it’s in the large concepts, and in its gentle manipulation of the player’s trained responses, that Tyranny finds its purpose. A must-have for fans of the genre, and a worthwhile title for those after a truly different experience.
Tyranny Review: Illusions of Grandeur
- Excellent world-building and story
- Evil point of view feels fresh
- Dialogue is clear and concise, helps push the story forward cleanly
- Tiresome combat system
- Choices feel limited in pivotal situations
- Lack of companion quests leave them feeling one-sided
- Abrupt ending with no resolution
Thursday - November 10, 2016
Tyranny - Review @ PC Gamer
Henriquejr spotted this Tyranny release day review from PC Gamer:
The story of Tyranny is of delightfully mythic proportions. Within the first 10 minutes, I ushered forth a volcano in the middle of a library full of forbidden texts, condemning an entire civilization's history and knowledge to the flames. Like that volcano, the power fantasy central to my character's story is earth-shattering. RPGs have commonly dealt with the trope of a hero rising up against adversity to claim their destiny, but Tyranny takes that concept to unprecedented highs as it flips it on its head: I'm no hero.
It's hard not to let an ending like that color my impressions of Tyranny. At the same time, my second playthrough has reminded me what a memorable journey it was before everything deflated in service of setting the stage for a sequel. Tyranny has fantastic ideas and its worldbuilding is unparalleled, but botches the execution, preventing it from all coming together to form a modern classic. When the story isn't pushing you to make specific decisions or bombarding you with repetitive combat, it feels like it could have rivalled the likes of Baldur's Gate 2 or Planescape: Torment. It's still worth playing, but Tyranny falls far short of the excellent standard set by Pillars of Eternity.
Wednesday - November 09, 2016
Tyranny - Obsidian AMA has started
The Obsidian AMA has started on Reddit:
We are Obsidian Entertainment, creators of AAA RPGs for over a decade including our upcoming Tyranny! Ask us Anything!
Ask us anything you want, doesn’t have to be about Tyranny (though we’re pretty excited to talk about it!), but as game developers we’d of course love to keep it within that scope of relevance! We have also charmed some of the lovely people from our publisher Paradox Interactive to assist us in answering/pitching-in on questions where they are able as we've been working together with them for some time now!
With us today are
- Brian Heins /u/brian_obsidian
- Feargus Urquhart /u/FeargusUrquhart
- Tim Cain /u/TimCain
- Mikey Dowling /u/Mikey2x4
It’s gonna be fun hanging with you all! Let’s do this!
Monday - November 07, 2016
Tyranny - Introducing The Tiersmen
Welcome to the anti-Kyros resistance known as The Tiersmen. PCGamesN previews this faction in Tyranny and explains what they are all about.
Meet the Tiersmen
When the armies of Kyros the Overlord invaded the Tiers, they were not met by a unified resistance of men and women banding together to fight against Kyros' armies. Instead, each nation of the Tiers sat back and waited for its neighbor to bear the cost of resistance. Each nation quickly fell before the combined might of the Overlord's forces.
This lack of unity - of trust - was endemic within the Tiers. Each nation spent centuries warring with their neighbors over land, resources, and - worst of all - pride. When faced with a greater threat, they could not put aside past differences long enough to band together and face it. According to the Overlord's historians, this mistrust and constant warfare existed throughout Terratus before Kyros began bringing all peoples under a single set of just laws. It was this very chaos that the Overlord sought to conquer, rather than the people themselves. Or so the Overlord's historians say.
Most resistance within the Tiers was shattered during Kyros' conquest. But not all. In the valley of Vendrien's Well, a new spark of rebellion shines forth. The Overlord has sent armies to stamp it out, to ensure that all of the known world remains in Kyros' control. It is too soon to tell whether these rebels will succeed in their aims. If they do, there are other forces in the Tiers who might join together to fight against Kyros. They will need the right leader to succeed. Someone with the vision to teach them to work together.
Saturday - November 05, 2016
Tyranny - Gameplay & Mechanics Video
Obsidian has released a gameplay and mechanics video for Tyranny.
In this final episode, gamers will see how the many design elements of Tyranny come into play – from the companions to spell creation, reputation, combat, and beyond. The video shows all of these systems in action, and will prepare players to experience the game itself when it launches next week on Thursday, November 10, 2016.
Wednesday - November 02, 2016
Tyranny - Dev Diary: Sirin
In what is the last of the development diaries Obsidian have shared some details about Sirin, Archon of Song, who is a potential companion.
Sirin caused the death of more people before she was seven than most soldiers do in their entire careers. One of the few mages on Terratus who was born with magic, Sirin first displayed her abilities the first time she cried. The midwife assisting with her birth burst out crying and asked what that bright light was and why everything was so cold. Her parents quickly learned anyone who heard Sirin's voice was compelled by the emotion behind it. Fortunately for them, she was a genial and easy-going child, so it wasn't much of a problem. Occasionally they would have to remind her not to use her powers on local children - especially after an episode with a local bully - but there were never any major incidents until she was seven years old.
Thursday - October 27, 2016
Tyranny - About the Morality
PCGamesN has written a long editorial anout the morality in Tyranny:
Tyranny's take on evil isn't just nuanced, it's disturbing
If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of working as a manager for a large company, you're already well-versed with Tyranny's version of evil. At a preview event last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and play through the first few hours of Obsidian Entertainment's ‘evil has won’ RPG. As the type of person who sometimes gets a kick out of being contrarian, I went into that demo with the purpose of poking holes in Tyranny's attempts to seduce me to the dark side. If Tyranny wanted me to be bad, I was going to do everything in my power to do just the opposite. I thought it would be funny, but instead it left me feeling depressed. It's not because Tyranny doesn't accommodate being good, but because I found myself too weak-willed to choose it.
Thursday - October 20, 2016
Tyranny - 1st Hour @ PCGamesN
PCGamesN has checked out the first hour of Tyranny:
Joel and Phil begin their playthrough of Tyranny where Phil manages to create a character that isn't a Caucasian male.
Wednesday - October 19, 2016
Tyranny - The Skill System @ PCGamesN
PCGamesN interviewed the game director of Tyranny about the sill system:
Tyranny's game director on its new skill system and creating "different shades of bastard"
Tyranny is a deceptive kind of game. At first glance, it looks like yet another entrant in the "what's old is new again" revival of classic RPGs that seem to be all the rage these days. But the time I spent with it at a preview event this weekend has proven that, underneath that layer of Infinity Engine nostalgia, Tyranny is a very different type of RPG. With a skill system reminiscent of Skyrim and a story that shrugs off the heavy mantle of fantasy tropes, Tyranny feels like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
During the event, I got to preview Tyranny's unique Conquest mode, which introduces you to the world by letting you conquer it. I also sat down with game director Brian Heins to talk about how Tyranny isn't here to pay tribute to an older generation of RPGs and what it means to be good in a kingdom ruled by bad.
Obviously that's super telling in Tyranny's skill system. Can you run me through how that works?
This is something I wanted to do differently because I love skill-based systems for games, it's my favorite type of game to play. The way it works in Tyranny is you have different weapon, magic, and support skills. As you use those skills you gain experience, the more experience you gain the higher they rank and the more your character levels up. People who've played Oblivion or Skyrim will be familiar with that type of skill system. As you go up in level on your character, you can purchase attribute points that make your character more powerful, learn new talents that give you new abilities, and new passives that make your character more specialized.
So with the old class system so deeply ingrained in this type of RPG, why abandon it in favor of more freeform character progression?
It's my favorite type of RPG system to develop and it's like coming home for me to work on that type of game.
What do you love so much about it?
Class systems are great because you have defined roles that you know—if I'm playing a fighter, I know it's going to play a certain way. But oftentimes I want to make the hybrid, I want to make the fighter-cleric hybrid. I love living in that grey space in between the defined classes which is one of the things that a skill-based system allows you to do. You can create your own character. Whatever concept you have, by just focusing on the right skills, you can really make that character for yourself which allows you to roleplay the character the way you want to.
Monday - October 17, 2016
Tyranny - Some Previews
Here's a list of Tyranny-Previews:
- Polygon: TYRANNY — 100 Minutes of NEW Gameplay!
- PC Gamer: Some of Tyranny's biggest decisions are in its first 10 minutes
- PCGamesN: Tyranny lets you decide the fate of thousands in the first 10 minutes via Conquest mode
- Game Revolution: Becoming the Bad Guy In Obsidian's Next RPG
- ShackNews: Four Things We Learned About Obsidian's Tyranny
- Hardcore Gamer: Obsidian’s Tyranny Reigning Down This November
- Rock, Paper, Shotgun: In Tyranny, It’s Good To Be Evil
Thursday - October 13, 2016
Tyranny - Release Date Confirmed
Paradox and Obsidian have announced that Tyranny will release November 10.
Edit: Fixed broken Steam link. Thanks, Joxer!
You can now pre-order the title on Steam, on GOG or directly from Paradox. The basic version of the game costs €41.99/$44.99/£34.99, a version with a few bonuses - such as a digital map and the game's soundtrack - called the Archon Edition costs €54.99/$59.99/£44.99, while finally, those of you who are willing to share more cash will be able to also get an Artbook and a Collector's Book (similar to the backer reward for Pillars of Eternity, I assume) for a whooping €73.99/$79.99/£60.99. A breakdown of the bonus content can be found at this link.
Finally, it's worth noting, if nothing else then for the sake of completion, that the game will also include a couple of items as pre-order bonuses. I hope they won't offer too much of a bonus, otherwise the balance of the game will be affected for a relatively small minority of players. Here's the description for the items:Fatebinder's Seal
- The seal of a Fatebinder is used to stamp documents with Tunon's sigil. Though modest in appearance, the seal is a representation of Kyros' legal approval. Merely holding it impresses upon the wielder a sense of authority.
- Grants +2 Resolve
- These boots have been passed down the ranks of Northern soldiers who distinguish themselves as promising leaders.
- Leather Boots
- Trigger on Party Kill: Remove a hostile effect from each active party member
(Only usable by Player)
Tuesday - October 11, 2016
Tyranny - Dev Diary #11: Kills-in-Shadow
In the Tyranny dev diary #11 a possible companion is introduced: Kills-in-Shadow
Kills-in-Shadow is a monster. She’s frightening and hairy. She stinks of wet animal and has an insatiable bloodlust for violence and slaughter. She’s also a clever hunter, a brutish, skilled fighter, and is tenaciously loyal (unless, of course, she has sensed a weakness) to whomever she chooses to follow, whether that be her ruthless sister, Creeping-Death, who was the last leader of their savage tribe, or a human Fatebinder stronger than even the toughest of Beastwomen.
As a member of a race of partially-humanoid, feral Beast creatures, Kills-in-Shadow is intelligent but uneducated, hulking but agile, and an unapologetic killer but not evil. She’s a highly evolved predator, forever marked by the magic of Haven’s dark forests–primarily driven by instinct and an insatiable lust for violence. She is also boastful, daring, smart, easily excited, and has a quirky sense of humor. She often snorts, snarls, growls, and chuffs with laughter.
As the last surviving Shadowhunter, she’s on a single-minded hunt for blood and vengeance, and will not be satisfied until each and every Disfavored has been wiped from Terratus. And though her kith were slaughtered mercilessly during Kyros’ conquest, the Shadowhunters had a reputation for being one of the most vicious tribes of the Tiers. If most Beastwomen are hyenas, Kills-in-Shadow is a lone lioness–proud, regal, and wholly deadly. Drawn by a spectacular display of strength and prowess, she is now stalking the Fatebinder’s scent.
And she likes to play with her prey.
Thursday - September 29, 2016
Tyranny - The Tidecaster Eb
A new dev diary and a look at a potential companion called Eb.
Eb is a member of an order of mages that study manipulation of water in all its forms, as well as spells that harness the pull of the moons, or that focus the light of the moon Terratus Grave into searing rays. Though their magic makes them formidable in battle, the School of Tides devoted their efforts to the study of the arts and cornering trade along the coasts. While these efforts gave the school prestige and acceptance, they've also turned the school into a peaceful order, one unready for war.
Kyros' conquest of the Tiers would take several years of war through the mountains, but the School of Tides were defeated with ease. Before the first Disfavored or Scarlet Chorus troops crossed into the Tiers, agents of Kyros sent threats to Occulted Jade, Archon of Tides and the school's founder and guardian. Unwilling to bow and unwilling to fight, Occulted Jade fled, taking nearly all of her disciples across the sea to parts unknown. Only four Tidecasters remained behind to fight, and of them, Eb was the youngest.
Friday - September 23, 2016
Tyranny - Dev Diary #2 - Artistry in the Game
@DSOGaming Obsidian have released part two of a three part series of their developer diaries. This part focuses on the artists and designers behind the world of Tyranny who do the animation, music and character design.
Tuesday - September 06, 2016
Tyranny - Choices and Consequences
PC Gamer interviewed Obsidian at Pax West 2016 about the topic player choice in their games:
Obsidian Entertainment interview - how Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity get player choice rightloading...
We chat with the creators behind some of the best modern ARPGs about choice, morality, and the future of the genre.
Tuesday - August 23, 2016
RPGWatch @ Gamescom - Tyranny
We had this Gamescom news post before, but it went into limbo. The article is back, so we also have a news post for it. Here is the Gamescom article for Tyranny.
Friday - July 15, 2016
Tyranny - Gameplay Video
Gamestation has captured the recent live Obsidian stream of Tyranny.
Tyranny - Gameplay Stream ParadoxInteractive
Tyranny, the brand new RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive where the fight between good and evil is over, and evil won. Coming 2016.
Thursday - July 14, 2016
Tyranny - First Companion and Live Stream
In a new blog for Tyranny the first companion is presented.
Barik is the quintessential Disfavored soldier. He embodies all of the rigid and uncompromising values that Graven Ashe’s iron legion holds dear. He’s polite, respectful of authority, and doggedly intolerant of anyone born outside of the Overlord’s long shadow.
He began his career with the Disfavored in the phalanx – his size and strength made him a perfect addition to the shield wall. His strong nerve and unwavering obedience quickly drew the eye of his superiors. Barik received several battlefield promotions before drawing the eye of Archon Graven Ashe, leader of the Disfavored. Once the Great General knew his name, Barik quickly ascended to the ranks of the Iron Guard – Ashe’s select group of advisors and lieutenants.
In addition today at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time, which is 9:00 pm CEST the game is streamed live on Twitch.
Thursday - June 30, 2016
Tyranny - Dev Diary #5 - Combat System
A new dev diary from Tyranny and this one is focused on combat mechanics.
...Our combat is real-time, with the ability to pause at any time to issue commands to a party of up to 4 characters, including your own. In addition to the spells and abilities each character can use, we've also added companion combos - abilities that allow your character and a companion to work together in concert to create a powerful effect. Abilities use a cooldown system, allowing you to use most of your abilities multiple times per encounter. Combat is based on your character's skills, and the more you use those skills, the more experience you'll gain.
With that overview in mind, let's dive into some specifics!
When you perform an attack in Tyranny - whether it's a basic weapon attack, casting a spell, or using an ability - your Accuracy is compared to the target's Defense to determine how well the attack does. As with Pillars of Eternity, each attack can have one of four possible results: Miss, Graze (attacks deal less damage, status effects are applied for a shorter duration), Hit, or Crit (attacks deal greater damage, and status effects are applied for a longer duration).
Your Accuracy is determined by one or more character skills. A basic attack will use the skill associated with the weapon you're attacking with. A spell will use the magic skill for that type of spell and the character's Lore skill. If more than one skill is used, their values are averaged together to produce the final skill value. Accuracy bonuses from weapons or abilities are added to that base value to determine the final Accuracy for the attack. The skills used to determine Accuracy are also the skills you gain experience in for that attack.
Each attack targets one of five possible Defenses: Parry, Dodge, Endurance, Will, or Magic. Enemies and party members have different strengths and weaknesses in these defenses, making some attacks better options against one type of enemy than another.
Accuracy is compared to Defense, and the resulting difference is used to modify the combat result table. Higher Accuracy results in a greater chance to Crit or Hit, reducing the chance to Graze or Miss. A lower Accuracy has the opposite effect, making you Graze or Miss more often.
Damage in Tyranny works similarly to Pillars. We have multiple damage types based on the armor a character wears: Slash, Pierce, Crush, Burn, Shock, Frost, Corrode, and Arcane. Different enemies have strengths and weaknesses against different types of damage. To maximize the pain you inflict, you'll want to target your enemies with damage types they are weak against.
Armor is still important to mitigate damage, but we also wanted to give more options for different character builds. Heavier armors (bronze or iron) provide Armor, which reduces damage dealt down to a minimum of 1. We've also added a new stat to lighter armors called Deflection. Deflection provides a chance that an attack will be downgraded one level (IE: a Crit becomes a Hit, a Hit becomes a Graze, or a Graze becomes a Miss). Deflection can be increased by the Finesse stat, and by talents and other items you can find in the game.
Tyranny handles hit points differently than Pillars did. Instead of the combination of Health and Endurance, we have a single Health bar to focus on. As attacks deal damage, your character's Health is reduced. When it reaches 0, a character falls unconscious (or dies, depending on game options). Characters can be revived using special abilities or consumables, or they will regain consciousness at the end of combat and begin regenerating Health.
We've also added the Wound system. When your character falls unconscious, they will gain a Wound - more than one on the hardest difficulty settings. On harder difficulties, you'll also gain a Wound when a character reaches low health. When a character is Wounded, their max health is reduced and all of their skills suffer a small penalty. Wounds can stack and will remain on a character until they rest.
Saturday - June 25, 2016
Tyranny - Preview @GamePressure
GamePressure has played Tyranny and shared their impressions.
The premise of this project is very interesting: the events take place in a land called Tiers, the main difference between other typical fantasy worlds being that here, the Evil had already won. The protagonist isn't a good candidate for a saint - the players will control an officer of the army which conquered Tiers, and according to the devs, he's going to be a no-good scoundrel. The players can keep his nasty character in check to some degree, but there's no place for chivalric deeds of a knight in shining armor. Analogically to Pillars of Eternity, the players will create an avatar at the beginning, and the team will be assembled throughout the game.
Enacting a rather villainous hero may not be the most original idea of the decade, but whenever such idea has been utilized, it was approached in a lighthearted manner (see Dungeon Keeper or Overlord). In case of Tyranny, however, we're dealing with a serious and gloomy story, a negative Mass Effect of sorts; no matter whether Shepard was an idealist or a renegade - he (or she) always saved the Galaxy. Meanwhile, the protagonist of Tyranny is a bastard through and through.
Group skills are yet another novelty in the combat system - these are certain skills that the members of the party use together with the main character. For example, one of them can knock down an opponent who is then finished off by the protagonist. Such sequences are, obviously, dependant on the chosen skills, as well as on the opinion that the team members have about the protagonist. That's nothing new, of course, but such dependencies are always a welcomed addition to the classic RPG convention.
The overhauled interface, which is now much more legible, is also an advantage. There are contextual text quests, which are completed solely using dialogues. Usually their point is to test the protagonist's skill and abilities levels. Such trials often appear during dialogues with NPCs - having a sufficiently high level of a given skill will unlock additional dialogue options. I've learned that such occurrences are supposed to be much more frequent than in Pillars of Eternity.
Since we're talking about skills - let's talk character development. This time, the protagonist is classless - using skills often will increase their efficiency, similarly to the solution known from The Elder Scrolls series. Along with the development of certain attributes we unlock skills and spells. There will also be the possibility to create your own spells, but there's not much information on this element so far. The items carried by the team are also going to be important.
Wednesday - June 22, 2016
Tyranny - Preview @ PC Gamer
Tom Senior (PC Gamer) checked out a Tyranny demo version:
Tyranny: crushing rebellions with slick, improved combat
I was working with a party of four—fewer than Pillars' six-person standard—which gives my party greater focus, and makes the roles of each member more important. Realtime-with-pause party combat returns, but this time in a much more readable form. Pillars had a decent tactical combat system, but forced players to go digging to discover important combat mechanics. Tyranny is much clearer. Once you've queued up a warrior's shield bash a circular timer above their head lets you know exactly when the move will be executed. The free disengagement hits adventurers get when an enemy moves out of combat are now clearly signposted and the UI has been revamped to make character skills easier to access.
Once again, different classes' skills and spells interweave with other party members' abilities. Tanks can taunt to refocus nearby enemies on him, allowing for rogue types to land their specialist high-damage flanking attacks. This time characters can act with even greater synergy using co-op attacks. In my party my rogue can activate a skill that trips an enemy, causing my warrior to automatically run over and punch the downed enemy in the chest. The blow is savage enough to cause bleeding damage, but it's also a fine way to interrupt a spellcaster. Interrupts again form an important part of the combat system. Shield-bashing and chest-punching mages is a fun way to take them out of the fight.
Monday - June 20, 2016
Tyranny - E3 Video @ Roleplaying TV
This Tyranny E3 video shows combat, character progression, roles of companions and more:
Monday - June 13, 2016
Tyranny - Gameplay Trailer From the Ashes
In a new trailer for Tyranny, some gameplay is shown for the first time.
This trailer, which debuted at the PC Gaming Show at E3, shows the gameplay of Tyranny in action for the first time, along with a glimpse of what challenges lie in store as a Fatebinder in the game’s dark and cruel world. The world of Tyranny is a realm where the forces of evil have triumphed, and players must find their role within the empire of Kyros the Overlord – imposing their will as arbiter and executioner among the subjugated peoples of the tiers. This merely one of many paths that a Fatebinder might walk.
Saturday - June 04, 2016
Tyranny - Short Story "Commissioned"
On the Tyranny official website Obsidian have released another short story. The new story is titled "Commissioned". Paul Kirsch, narrative designer, offered his thoughts on what readers will gain from the story.
This time around we have a very different military force in the spotlight: the elite Disfavored. I wanted readers to understand both of these armies from the perspective of soldiers (or conscripts) at the front lines. Though Tyranny has no lack of fascinating personalities at the highest levels of leadership, some of the most interesting stories are found in the rank and file.
I also wanted to offer a sense of what it means to serve within the Overlord's organized hierarchy. Even though Terratus is a world where evil won, that doesn't make it a world devoid of hope or ambition. As long as hope and ambition aligns with the will of an all-powerful tyrant, everyone should get along splendidly. Right?
With that firmly in mind, enjoy Commission!
-Paul Kirsch, Narrative Designer
Wednesday - May 25, 2016
Tyranny - Dev Diary #3
Dev Diary #3 for Tyranny focuses on the FateBinder.
The Fatebinders who serve Tunon are skilled in many areas, from swordplay, to spellcraft, to the poisoned knife in the dark.
The Fatebinders serve a key role in Kyros' vast Empire. While the Overlord's rule is absolute, the Empire is too large for Kyros to directly control everyone. Instead, Kyros grants authority over different parts of the Empire to the Archons. Some Archons are governors of provinces or military districts, others control important groups like armies, mage guilds, or specialized agents like the Fatebinders.
Each Archon is granted limited autonomy over their area of control. As long as they serve Kyros' goals and do not break any of the Overlord's laws, Kyros permits the Archons to rule their armies and provinces in a manner of their choosing. Because of this, the Archons and the groups they control will often clash with one another. The Fatebinders were created by Tunon the Adjudicator, Archon of Justice, to solve these problems.
As a Fatebinder and servant of Tunon, it is your duty to resolve disputes that arise between the different armies and mage guilds. You decide whose actions are best in line with Kyros' laws, mediate where you can, and order punishments - and executions - where required. Any citizen in Kyros' Empire can appeal to a Fatebinder for judgment, even if their problem doesn't involve a dispute between factions. Doing so is dangerous, as a Fatebinder's judgments cannot be appealed and some Binders deal harshly with those who bother them for trivial complaints.
Laws of Kyros
Kyros' laws are numerous, and it is the duty of Fatebinders to interpret them in their judgments. Some laws are absolute, some are contradictory, and some are both absolute and contradictory. Fatebinders spend many years learning Kyros' laws, the judgments handed down by previous generations of Binders, and the times when Kyros punished a Fatebinder for overstepping with their judgments.
Monday - May 23, 2016
Tyranny - Interview @ GameWatcher
GameWatcher has interviewed Game Director Brian Heins about Tyranny:
We talk to Brian Heins about Obsidian's new world where the bad guys are in charge
I fell in love with Pillars of Eternity last year despite having no nostalgia for Baldur’s Gate or its Infinity Engine successors. The excellent RPG took the depth and complexity of those old RPGs, sanded off the rough edges, and built a brand new world with compelling history, excellent quests, and exquisite combat.
So when it was announced that Obsidian was working on a new title built on the same ideas, I was more than a little excited. Titled Tyranny, the new game dispenses with the epic quest to stop an evil overlord from enslaving humanity. The bad guy has already won, the emperor is already ruling, and you play as one of his most important lieutenants. I got the chance to sit down with the game’s director, Brian Heins, and ask about the upcoming adventure.
GameWatcher: The basic pitch is that this is a world in which the bad guys have already won. How does the player factor into that?
Brian Heins: Your role is what we call a Fatebinder. It’s a role that exists in Kyros’ empire to help resolve the disputes that can arise from the various factions that make up the groups within the empire. So Kyros, the overlord, has several lieutenants that are called Archons, and each of those is in charge of different aspects of the empire. Some are governors of districts, others are generals of armies, and some are in charge of magical guilds or elements of the bureaucracy that keep the wheels of empire turning. Each of these different Archons have different agendas and personal goals they want to try and fulfill and often those come into conflict.
One of the Archons, the oldest and what some believe is the most powerful of the Archons, is your boss, Tunon, who is responsible for judging all of the other disputes between the Archons. Tunon created the Fatebinders to basically resolve the disputes that arise between the different armies and magic guilds and things that are all controlled by Kyros. So your job is basically to handle these disputes and make sure that they don’t become larger problems, and to enforce Kyros’ law in the world.
GameWatcher: How does the main character’s role in this ostensibly evil faction affect the player’s options for behaving in the way they want?
Brian Heins: So basically, within the rules of Kyros’ law, each of the Archons and then the player themselves have a great deal of autonomy. As long as you are upholding Kyros’ will, you have a lot of leeway in what choices you make. So just because you’re serving in an evil empire doesn’t mean you necessarily have to make evil choices. They’re definitely available and they can be a lot of fun to make, but players who want to try to have more of a moral stance can take it. It’s not always going to be the easiest path to take because you’re surrounded by awful people who want awful things, so they’re definitely going to try and lead you astray and make things easier for you to take the difficult path.
Monday - May 09, 2016
Tyranny - Brian Heins Interview @RedBull
Brian Heins Interview at RedBull where he explains how its good to be bad.
So, the question that Tyranny wants to ask you is this: now that the world is an overtly evil place, what are you going to do about it?
"Saving the world is not really an option," says game director Brian Heins, frankly. "This isn't a hero's journey about saving the world: this is a much more personal story about your character and the world they're in and the consequences of your actions. So it's not about saving the world or destroying it; it's more about your own personal journey and growth in this world."
In essence, Tyranny is like one of those alternate history dramas where the goodies didn't win, but now what's done is done. The people who lived in the old world ‒ particularly the peasants ‒ were under constant threat of violence and exploitation by the corrupt and the ruthless elite. For all the bloodshed, Kyros' ascension put a stop to that. The world of Tyranny is an end born of terrible means, but whatever else it may be, it is at least stable. Your choice is whether to go along with Kyros' rule, or try to subvert it, surreptitiously fighting for freedom.
"If you want to play that good character, there are definitely options and choices you can make... [But] ultimately you are surrounded by some bad people, who want you to work with them do things the way they want them done. So, if you do decide to work against them, there are going to be consequences to that."
Working with or against Tyranny's factions will be at the game's political and moral core. As with Obsidian's previous RPG, Pillars of Eternity, the game is about more than stabbing people with swords or setting them on fire with magic. In Tyranny's hierarchy, the ruling class below Kyros ‒ the Archons ‒ are the biggest source of the game's friction. Essentially a cabal of demonic cabinet ministers, the Archons are constantly struggling to one-up each other, ever conscious that their prosperity ‒ and their lives ‒ depend on how useful they are to Kyros.
A few notches down the pecking order, your advancement in the game will be similarly tied to how useful you can make yourself to them. Siding with one faction will change how others in the world perceive your party, giving with one hand and taking away with the other as you are rewarded with faction-linked abilities while somewhere else in the world another Archon's minions will be tossing darts at paintings of your head for target practice. With all the factions somehow tied into or dependent upon the rule of Kyros, who you choose to side with will depend on how, shall we say, flexible you can be with your view of right and wrong.
Tyranny - Short Story
Obsidian and Paradox Entertainment are planning to release a series of short stories providing background information on the Tyranny game.
Obsidian and Paradox Publish Free Tyranny Short Stories
Discover Obsidian's Tyranny in New Monthly Series from the Game's Writers
IRVINE, Calif. and STOCKHOLM — May 6, 2016 — Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive today released the first installment in a series of short stories about Tyranny, the role-playing game (RPG) coming to Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs later this year. Tyranny, designed and developed by the acclaimed RPG studio behind award-winning titles such as Pillars of Eternity, takes place in an original fantasy world recently conquered by a draconian overlord, where the citizens must learn their place in the new order. In a new series of short stories, the first of which is written by Paul Kirsch, Narrative Designer on Tyranny, fans can discover the people of the Tiers and the brutal challenges of living under Kyros’ rule.
The first installment in the series is available to read now.
“With Tyranny, we are creating a world where evil has won and the player was complicit in that victory,” said Brian Heins, Game Director of Tyranny at Obsidian Entertainment. “In this series of short stories we want to give everyone a glimpse into daily life in Kyros’ Empire. This first story introduces everyone to the Scarlet Chorus, one of the Overlord's armies and a potential ally of the player, during a crisis of leadership.”
In Tyranny, the grand war between good and evil has already finished – and the forces of evil, led by Kyros the Overlord, have won. Players interact with the populace to inspire loyalty, disgust, or fear as they roam the world as an officer in Kyros’ forces, empowered to act as both judge and executioner. A nonlinear story offers players the chance to roam and alter the world as they see fit, and provides a highly replayable experience.
Wednesday - May 04, 2016
Tyranny - Dev Diary #2
The second development blog for Tyranny talks about, skills, attributes and progression, by Game Director Brian Heines.
One of the first decisions I made when I started designing systems for Tyranny was to make it a skill-based game. These are my favorite RPG systems to play, as they give players a lot of freedom and flexibility to make their own character. A lot of my favorite games – both pen and paper RPGs and computer games – are skill-based, and the first game I ever worked on was a skill-based RPG. Making this change felt a bit like coming home.
Skills in Tyranny are grouped into three broad categories: Weapons, Support, and Magic. Weapon skills determine how accurate your character is when wielding weapons of that type. Support skills determine how good you are at avoiding being hit in combat, as well as how nimble, sneaky, or knowledgeable your character is. Magic skills determine how precisely your character can draw various magical sigils and control the forces they evoke.
Skills increase as you use them, but there must be some challenge involved. You can’t fight characters who are far below your level to gain experience, or climb up and down the same wall over and over.
Thursday - April 21, 2016
Tyranny - Dev Diary #1
Game Director Brian Heins started a dev diary for Tyranny:
This is the first of several developer diaries for our new RPG Tyranny! We’ll be releasing information frequently until the game ships. We’re going to try to keep these updates packed with information and give you details on Tyranny’s game systems, lore, and art in future updates. For this first dev diary, I wanted to talk a bit about the vision for Tyranny.
When we started working on Tyranny, there were several things we wanted to accomplish: make a game that builds on the technology being created for Pillars of Eternity, make the player feel important to the world from the beginning of the game, and focus on choice and reactivity in our quests and systems.
We knew going in that we had a solid foundation to build on from the Pillars team. This meant we didn’t have to worry about things like ‘how will we create areas?’ or ‘how does inventory work?’ Instead, we were able to focus our efforts on building the world and updating the RPG rules for the changes we wanted to make. This allowed us to do a lot with a small team early in development.
A lot of RPGs start you out as the weak or inexperienced character who becomes more important and influential over time. This parallels how your character grows in strength and power as they gain levels, so it’s a structure that works well for RPGs. For Tyranny, we wanted to play with that concept. Does the player need to start off weak in order to feel more powerful later in the game? We decided to make the player important from the very beginning of the game, from the very first interaction with an NPC.
We didn’t want you to be the ‘errand girl of Evil’. If you were just a grunt or a lackey, your ability to influence or change the world would be limited, and your responsibility for the fact that evil won would be reduced.
This required us to design our quests and content to reinforce this at every turn. We didn’t want you being approached by random NPCs asking you to rescue their cat from a tree. Your choices shape nations, and the quests had to reflect that.
Many RPGs are great at letting you be the hero, the beacon of strength and hope for a world facing imminent destruction. They’re not always great at the opposite side of that coin. I am disappointed when I play games where the “evil” choice requires me to act like a psychopath, murdering everyone in front of me. Sometimes that’s fun, but it’s very limiting when it’s the only option. Especially when the game punishes me for making those decisions.
With Tyranny we wanted to create a more nuanced evil. One where the choices players make aren’t so obviously black and white. We wanted to make a game where players were free to take the evil path as far as they want to go, and feel powerful and rewarded for it. Ultimately, RPGs are about the choices players make. With Tyranny we wanted to focus our efforts on making the world react to player choices – both in game systems and in dialogue. By now you’ve probably seen interviews where we talked about your ability to shape the world during character creation, and the alliances you can form during gameplay. These all come out of that goal – making Tyranny a highly reactive game that you can play multiple times. Each time seeing how the world changes as you make different choices.
So that’s the vision for Tyranny: a highly reactive world that you helped the evil Overlord conquer. That’s the setup, it’s up to you to decide how the story plays out.
In our next update, I’ll provide some details about some of the basic game systems.
-Brian Heins, Game Director
Saturday - April 16, 2016
Tyranny - Brian Heins Interview @ Gameranx
Gameranx has interviewed Obsidian’s Brian Heins about choices and consequnces in Tyranny:
Making Hard Choices
Ian talks to Obsidian’s Brian Heins about Tyranny, making difficult choices, how the game differs from Pillars of Eternity, and who the enigmatic Overlord Kyros is.
“Player Choice” seems to be a driving factor in the backstory and main storyline. Experience can be gained equally through battle or dialogue for conflict resolution. To what extent can player go through the campaign without combat? Is there a possibility of a “Pacifist Run”?
You’re absolutely right that choice and reactivity are the driving factors of Tyranny. We want each of the player’s choices to matter and shape either their character, the world around them, or both!
Players can use their skills in combat to intimidate, trick, or bluff enemies they face. Sometimes this results in a single enemy running away from an encounter, sometimes it results in the entire group laying down their arms. That said, there are some fights you won’t be able to avoid – depending on previous choices you’ve made.
It’s not possible to complete the entire game as a pacifist, but I think players will really enjoy seeing the changes that come from the choices they make.
One aspect of combat is team relationships or party dynamics. Members of your party can either love or hate you, and the differences can affect combat abilities. Would you mind going into greater detail on how this mechanic works?
We’ll be talking about this in more detail in future updates. For now I’ll say that Tyranny uses a robust faction system that allows you to develop reputations with major groups in the game, your companions, and the Archons of Kyros’ Empire. As you build favor or wrath with these factions, you unlock abilities that shape your player character.
With your Companions, you’ll unlock additional Companion Combo abilities. These are abilities that allow your character and a Companion to work together to deal devastating damage or change the tide of a combat. We’ll go into more specifics about these abilities as we reveal more information about the specific Companions.
Sunday - April 10, 2016
Tyranny - Everyone's the Hero of their own Story
PCGamesN got some information about Tyranny from game director Brian Heins:
Tyranny and the nature of evil:
"Everyone’s the hero of their own story"
With GDC and the announcement of Obsidian’s new RPG, Tyranny, in our rear view mirrors, we’ve had plenty of time to get all hot and bothered over the prospect of a potentially fresh and distinct fantasy romp from the house that built Pillars of Eternity. And that means we have more questions, too; questions about what it means to be evil, and what being the employee of a megalomaniacal overlord is really like.
Will Tyranny end up on our list of the best RPGs on PC?
In our quest for more juicy Tyranny details, we’ve roped game director Brian Heins into giving us the skinny on the titular tyrant, Kyros, the player-controlled Fatebinder, and what it means to be an Iron Age Judge Dredd.
“Kyros’ empire is a large, sprawling one that covers the known world,” Heins explains. “One person can’t directly control and micromanage everyone, so Kyros has lieutenants called Archons, people who are very powerful, and one of those Archons is your boss, who created the Fatebinders to resolve disputes between the different Archons and the groups that report to them: the armies, the mage guilds and the bureaucrats who run the empire.”
So instead of being an aimless adventurer, you’ll be an employee of the ruler of the known world, solving disputes and dishing out justice, more Judge Dredd than Bilbo Baggins. And this important role will be reflected in the quests.
“We want the quests to reflect your status in the world,” Heins says. “You’re not the one being sent to get the cat out of the tree, you’re the one that has to decide whether an entire population has to be relocated.”
Thursday - April 07, 2016
Tyranny - Obsidian reinvents RPGs
Natalie Callazo (Hardcore Gamer) thinks that Obsidian reinvents RPGs with Tyranny:
Obsidian Reinvents RPGs with Newest IP ‘Tyranny’
There’s been a lot of talk about Obsidian’s newest IP Tyranny, a classic RPG game where your choices have much more of an impact on the game than you think. The game has a twist over most modern RPG games; the fact that the battle versus good and evil has already taken place and evil has won. Since evil has ready won, your choices can literally change the game as well as the landscape so that people will either fear you as an oppressor or praise you as a leader. You are under the rule of Kyros the Overlord, and seeing as he is a very busy man, you and your team are tasked with interacting with the population to inspire certain emotions and judgments. The game presents itself as a completely new world with lore and characters completely new to anything that Obsidian has ever created. You have the option to follow many different paths that show off Tyranny’s new combat mechanics as well as the presentation that differs it from your average PC role-playing game.
Tuesday - March 29, 2016
Tyranny - Emerged from the Ashes of Stormland
Joxer spotted this interesting arcticle on Kotaku. Tyranny is actually a very old idea of Obsidian:
“The story of Tyranny’s origins go pretty far back. We pitched a project called Fury in 2006 that was based in a world that had been laid waste by a magical apocalypse. From there, we started thinking more about the idea, and started pitching a game called Defiance in 2009. Defiance is where we really embraced the idea of making a game in a world where evil already won.”
“Move ahead a couple of years, and we did take some of the ideas from Defiance along with some new ones and pitched a new game called Stormlands. This pitch became the Xbox One launch game we were working on. However, that game was more like Fury when it came to it being about playing in a world after a magical apocalypse.”
“After that game had been cancelled, we returned to the ideas we had come up with for Defiance. We began building a more in-depth world around the idea along with thinking how could we really let the player understand that evil won the war. That spawned the thought about letting the player take part in the conquering of the world itself as a part of character creation.”
Tuesday - March 22, 2016
Tyranny - Evil won @ PC Gamer
PC Gamer introduce us to Obsidian's upcoming game - Tyranny:
Obsidian's Tyranny explores what happens after the bad guys win
In some ways, Obsidian's next RPG feels like a sequel to a game we haven't played or a story we've never read. Tyranny, which is built on a modified version of the tech used in Pillars of Eternity, doesn't depict the beginning of an epic struggle between good and evil. Instead, it takes place in the aftermath of such a conflict, in which evil has triumphed and a world that has been shattered by the great war is now slowly trying to recover.
"We started off talking about what are the traditional stories in RPGs," said Matthew Singh, Lead Producer for Obsidian, during our meeting at GDC in San Francisco where I got to watch a brief demo of Tyranny's gameplay. "The epic clash between good versus evil, where the player comes from meager means, works their way up, and eventually helps good triumph over all. We decided that's not the story we wanted to tell here.
"What if we flipped that on its head? In this game, what if the clash between good versus evil has already happened, and evil has actually won. In this game, the armies of the Overlord, Kyros, have already come through the land, conquering all, and not only were you on the side of evil, you're actually one of their leaders," said Singh. [...]
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2016-11-10
· Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment