Tyranny: When Evil Wins

Tyranny: When Evil Wins

Last updated on January 12th, 2017

In 2015’s Pillars of Eternity, renowned developer Obsidian Entertainment brought to PC players a spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate games of old. It’s classic isometric questing showed players a fantasy world of intrigue, danger and heroic feats. But for its successor, Tyranny, the conventions are turned on their heads and we enter a world where evil has won. We visited with publisher Paradox Interactive during E3 to get a closer look at the world’s dark fate.

Genre: Adventure RPG
Developed by: Obsidian Entertainment
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Release date: 2016
Age rating: Pending
Platforms: PC

Tyranny Features

  • A branching narrative with a unique story in an original setting: The Battle between good and evil has already taken place, and evil stands victorious.
  • Choices matter – a different player experience every time you play it: As an Officer in the Overlord’s army you wield a vast amount of power in the occupied lands of the Tiers. Will you use that power to inspire stability and loyalty, or will you be a feared oppressor?
  • Challenging, classic RPG combat: Characteristical RPG combat with modern mechanics and presentation.
  • A rich original setting: A completely new and original fantasy world with rich lore and many paths to follow.

Tyranny Gameplay Demo

In Tyranny, the grand war between good and evil is over and the forces of evil, led by Kyros the Overlord, have won. The Overlord’s merciless armies dominate the face of the world, and its denizens must find their new roles within the war-torn realm. 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. As a fatebinder serving under the evil lord you have the power to shape the land around you. Will you be merciful and inspire justice? Or will you be an extension of cruelty and malice? The choice is always yours and the game will react accordingly.

tyranny screen 5

The world is dynamic, with branching paths that all react to the decisions you make. A house of evil is certainly not a house united, and there are competing forces both within and without of the new world order. In the demo we were tasked with taking control of a city and subsequently deciding its fate and future. Along the way, through sophisticated dialogue options, we were able to make nuanced choices that allowed us to complete the objectives in vastly different ways. We could defeat, subdue, control and turn on former allies. All in the name of choice.

tyranny screen 4

Improvements and Refinements

Tyranny is running on the same in engine that Pillars of Eternity runs on but with some noticeable differences and improvements. First, the UI has been given an upgrade and now provides much more information about units on the screen than it did before, providing their stats and information upon mouse-over. You can now also lock this mouse-over to the screen so that it remains there when you mouse-over anything, sort of like a quick reference while in combat.

tyranny screen 3

The UI seems much more user friendly in general and looks suspiciously designed for compatability with consoles. This is very interesting and leads me to believe that there may be a console port of the game some time next year. When we asked about a possible console port, Tyranny Producer Matthew Singh gave a slight smile and said that they had looked into it, but couldn’t talk about it. It will be very interesting to see if there are any developments along this front as this is the type of game t hat could find a following on consoles, similar to Divinity Original Sin.

tyranny screen 2

Abilities now no longer have a fixed number of uses per encounter, but instead have cooldowns. This really is a great change for the players. As those familiar with Pillars of Eternity will tell you, it was difficult to manage your abilities and frustrating when you ran out of ones you really needed. This will also keep the combat interesting in longer fights. Previously, in longer battles of attrition, you would likely blow most or all your abilities before the encounter was complete, making the last portions of battle more about auto attacking and less about using your interesting and carefully planned abilities. Now you can enter an encounter with a full arsenal and can plan your attack from start to finish in a gratifying fashion.

tyranny screen 1

The biggest change to Tyranny is that there are no longer classes or races, and these have been replaced by a classless system where each character is human. We were not able to see character creation during the demonstration, but we were told that players would have a number of points that they would be able to spend in various skills, similar to Fallout. As players level up they will gain skill points that they can distribute across the different skills with no restrictions, allowing for hybridization of characters and complete control of abilities. This will add an ample amount of replayability to the game, as the possible combinations are nearly limitless.

As the demo concluded we found ourselves impressed with level of design and detail implemented into the game. This is not simply a sequel, but rather, a total evolution upon the concepts introduced in Pillars of Eternity. With its expanded options for impactful choices and character design along with its brilliant refinement of the UI, Tyranny is shaping up to be a game that will occupy an obsessive quality in the minds of dedicated RPG players. We can’t wait to get our hooks in.

Visit the Tyranny Wiki

More from E3 2016


Senior Editor at Fextralife. I enjoy gaming, playing and watching sports, cooking yummy food, watching a good movie and hanging out with Fex.

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7 comments on “Tyranny: When Evil Wins”

  1. Avatar Fexelea says:

    Please don’t get this thread offtopic.

  2. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    Oh, I wasn’t really asking. I was just being polite about disagreeing. Shocking that I can be polite, I know.

    I wonder how the story will play out. The traditional, obvious story arc is already over.

  3. Avatar EldritchImagination says:

    Don’t question it. Just let em have his little fun. There is a game focused on trans sexual characters, except it apparently sucks and is insulting at the same time.

  4. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:


  5. ckmishn says:

    If you removed the first ‘y’ from ‘Tyranny’ that would be the most hilarious game title of all time.

  6. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    I disagree that the limited per battle moves left you spent and auto attacking in longer fights in PoE. If I tried that I’d fail and die, in fact I did try that and it worked exactly as I described. I might not die in that fight, but the next one or the one after that when I ran out of camping supplies mid dungeon because I kept burning through all my abilities.

    I also don’t agree that changing it is necesarily a good thing. It added a lot of tactical choices. If, for whatever reason, (like, say, you had managed to stun a boss or even just a tougher enemy) you could unleash all hell by burning all your major abilities in the span of about 2 seconds, but if you do that and they don’t die or they do spawn adds or if an enemy cleric cleanses the stun and half your abilities miss you’re suddenly up the creek without a paddle and the fight is likely to be impossible. Also the whole, leave you drained for further fights and so require you to rest and burn resources or push ahead and risk getting in over your head thing.

    In short it made battles about more than just winning the current battle, they are also about having the resources to win the *next* battle (and so on) and requires a lot of planning in terms of not only how you win each fight, but who you bring to the fights based on how often they regain access to their abilities.

    I don’t think the changes are necessarily bad (they could be, but any system *can* be) but I definitely and strongly disagree with your assessment of PoEs systems in this area. It’s the first time I’ve played with such a system that doesn’t have the cheap exploits or counter intuitive rules of old D&D systems and I enjoy it far more than the common rotation based combat of something like Dragon Age Orgins. Because while it could be about tactical use of abilities, it’s never about tactical use of abilites unless they have extremely long cooldowns or casting times, (in which case you only get 1 or 2 per fight anyways,) it’s about knowing your rotation and knowing which enemies to cc/interrupt/nuke with your few non-rotation abilities. Following a rotation is boring, and it will be doubly boring if I have to do it for several party members at once. It’s way more interesting to have to make choices about when and how to use each ability, even while juggling things like positioning and target priority on top of it.

    Other than that very long tangent, I’m excited. Obsidian has not made a bad game yet, neither have Troika or Black Isle and between them they’ve only made 1 mediocre game (many of the same creative people were at all 3) so I have every confidence it will be excellent like virtually everything else they do. And possibly quite broken, but both their most recent games were actually fully functional from day 1 so here’s hoping they have real coders and QA this time too.

    Still not preordering it though. *Cough*

  7. Avatar dn1nd says:

    Looking forward to getting this. I hope it does come to consoles.

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