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Tyranny - Taking the Side of Evil

Garrett Fuller Posted:
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In the realm of most RPGs you are the hero. You pick up a rusty sword to save your family in the small village and then go on too greater things. You battle the evil forces and return balance to the world of good. Well, that is all fun, but it has nothing to do with Tyranny. Building on the success of Pillars of Eternity the team at Obsidian is now ready to show their next RPG. In a fantastic decision of storytelling the team chose to take the side of evil and put the dark decisions in the hands of the player. Evil has won, the world is split into factions, and you are evil’s herald delivering justice how you see fit. 

Kyros is an evil overlord who has destroyed the kingdoms and brought the world under one reign. The world of Tyranny is still classic fantasy but it is set more in a bronze and iron age era. Weapons have a more ancient feel to them and armor goes back further than medieval history. There are still lots of factions who are now under his rule and you must adventure through the lands making sure his law his law and will are done. It is not that simple though, the decision making and options that exist for players in the game are fantastic. Maybe you don’t agree with Kyros, maybe you want to pit one faction against another, maybe you are the law and everyone must bow down to you? As the Fate Binder you can do anything. All of these choices are yours in a complex plot and political system that you can bend to your will.

Gameplay is built on the classic RPG style, you can pause and give commands or fight it out in real time. Tyranny offers the player a classless system to build a character however you like.  Want to wield magic and still use a giant sword, well you can. Two new elements added to the combat style from Pillars are the ability to craft your own magic styles using runes and symbols which can combine into deadly effects. Also, you can set up combinations using your companions so that the party feels much more cohesive. The companion combos were a fun part of the demo, watching the tank throw the archer into the air as they rained down arrows.

Not only will you build combat skills in the game, but there are a series of political and social skills that you can build up as well. These play a big part in how you handle encounters and deal with the factions. They can give you benefits to solving problems or just let you intimidate the pants off of your foes. Your reputation in the game is a major factor on how events play out.

Right from the beginning you get choices in how the world was conquered. The game starts out with a sort of choose your own adventure story that impacts how the world appears when you arrive.  The demo we were shown had the villagers capture a beastman who was part of a race that distrusts humans. There are some high stakes here because the Scarlet Chorus (a force who works for Kyros) has shown up to distribute justice. You come in to decide how things are going to go. Do you free the beastman in hopes to gain favor with his tribes and thus bring them under Kyros’s law? That choice will upset the villagers and later have consequences? Do you go against the Scarlet Chorus’ wishes and try to find out more of the mystery as to what is going on in the region? Or do you just come in and slaughter everyone? That is the beauty of Tyranny, it is entirely up to you. 

At first glance Tyranny really has impressed us. Not just because it follows some great RPG models, but because of the storytelling and tone of the game. We have all played the hero and for Obsidian to give us this change in pace is a refreshing and exciting look into how an RPG can follow any plot line. If you are excited to play, you won’t have to wait too long, the game is set for launch in 2016. We will be bringing you much more coverage on things as the development progresses especially in depth looks at their magic and political systems. Thanks again to the team at Obsidian for taking a new step in story and giving us something different to look forward to.


Garrett Fuller

Garrett Fuller / Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997 and writing about them since 2005. He joined MMORPG.com has a volunteer writer and now handles Industry Relations for the website. He has been gaming since 1979 when his cousin showed him a copy of Dungeons and Dragons. When not spending time with his family, Garrett also Larps and plays Airsoft in his spare time.