Obsidian announces new game: Tyranny
“What if evil already won?”
That’s the premise of a new RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive – the team behind Pillars of Eternity. Announced at Paradox’ press conference a few days ago, Tyranny will provide an original setting, an unlikely beginning and a new perspective on making player decisions. You see, the struggle between good and evil is over. You marched alongside the armies of Kyros across the land conquering all opposition. You were a leader. And evil won.
The title of Fatebinder positions you with carrying out the law of Kyros. This includes being the judge and executioner of the populace and ultimately deciding the fates of the Tiers. With that power brings the possibility of appeasing with justice and loyalty, or provoking with fear and cruelty. A reputation system infers how this will be managed, while you juggle the interests of the factions within Kyros’ army, the people and the evil at the top level.
Other things we know:
- Planned for release in 2016. This might just be the beta release as it was only announced in March.
- The art style appears more defined, sharp and in contrast to the more painted, blending and softer appearance of Pillars of Eternity.
- Interestingly, the ‘world’ page lists each Tier (city) with respect to –
- the literacy rate. How will this affect the game? Is it merely a world-building concept for use in illustrating how the Tiers differ? Or will it impact upon the language or choices you make with respect to the populaces education level?
- the population number of both human and beasts. Beasts in the city!? Living with humans? Could “beasts” mean slaves, former enemies prior to the war or agricultural livestock? Or racially different peoples, like Khajiit from Skyrim, or Qunari from Dragon Age? Baffling.
- System requirements are fairly forgiving and meet the minimum if you’ve bought/upgraded your PC within the last 4 years. Check on the Tyranny Steam page.
- Promises replay-ability, choice and consequence. To be fair though, every RPG does, right?
Things we currently don’t know:
- Turn based or real time with pause?
- Types and number of factions
- Number of total companions?
- Maximum number of companions in group?
- Ability to use magic and/or guns?
- Class based system or fluid multi-classes?
3 Things SideQuest is hoping/arguing for:
More leadership and less combat.
The concept of being the judge and executioner in Tyranny is similar to presiding over hearings following the events in Dragon Age: Inquisition. In DA: I these moments featured scenario’s where the Inquisitor sat on his/her throne and deliberated on the guilt of defendants. The player also chose if/how the defendants would be punished. This unique experience was a rare glimpse of role-playing a character with responsibilities to others. Additionally this novelty provided a perspective of someone in charge of an army rather than a group of fighters.
This mechanic is the perfect opportunity to express the political importance of the role, while reducing the fighting-for-leveling experience points. Few leaders place themselves in mortal danger more times than necessary. In turn, this could shift and elevate the role of the game’s reputation system. “I don’t care the locals are scared and need defending from wolves in the forest. Get the militia onto it. I’m busy being important and evil!”
More delegating and less fetch-quests.
Similar to the point above – but related to quests. If the old wizard needs more ingredients for the potion, then they’ll have to find someone else or go without. Certain quests to retrieve this, deliver that, etc, are off the menu! While there may be a certain satisfaction in combat, e.g., acquiring gear, killing a distasteful NPC, etc; fetch-quests are jobs for grunts, mercenaries or low-level characters. In Pillars of Eternity – and even Mount and Blade – you can send companions away to do more of the menial quests. “Remind me why I pay you and fetch that thing for the person for whatever reason I’m forced to care about!”
Suitable companions and smaller group size.
If I’m a serving an evil tyrant, my pool of companions shouldn’t include paladins. More formally, it’s a prerequisite that the companions of Tyranny comfortably fit with an evil setting. Although, they don’t all have to be straight up evil. There’s room for all kinds of non ‘goody two-shoes’. Companions within Baldur’s Gate II feature varying degree’s of evilness. The prominent ones including Sarevok, Viconia, Edwin and Korgan highlight this. Plainly, if the cast of companions aren’t contextually relevant to the setting, then it will lessen the potency of role-playing an evil leader.
A smaller companion group size could reflect the position of a leader compared to the head of a group. At the beginning of Tyranny it is established the war is over. Rather than quelling riots and rebels – which the standing army or militia can – you could employ bodyguards instead of mercenaries. A leader would arguably feel safer with companions from ranks than taverns. With loyalty proven, these companions could be the very best of the army and not mere sell-swords from unfamiliar streets. Moreover a party of 6 (like in Pillars of Eternity) feels like traveling as an independent group. After leading the vanquishing army it’s assumed allied members are still spread out across the lands. With patrolling security, a large traveling group wouldn’t be necessary. In turn, more investment could be given to those sudden and tense events which favour a smaller group. This involves resisting assassination attempts, timing chained attacks or counter-attacking through specific class-based abilities rather than spamming group-based attacks.