Tyranny Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Paradox Interactive
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date:2016-11-10
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

GB: Tyranny is set in the transitional era between the bronze and the iron age of its fictional setting. How much will the setting be influenced by that period of our own planet's history, and how much will the presence of powerful magical forces and fantastical creatures make it diverge? How will that influence the plotlines and mechanics of the game?

Brian: Tyranny is a fantasy RPG rather than an historical RPG, so it’s influenced by this period in our history but doesn’t try to emulate it. I decided to set the game at this transition point for a couple of reasons.

First, it creates a plausible reason to explain why Kyros was able to conquer. Creating bronze weapons and armor was expensive. Often you had to trade with neighbors to get the metals needed to alloy bronze. It took skilled smiths to reliably mix the metals in the proper ratio to create bronze hard enough to serve as weapons and armor. Both of these meant that most nations could only afford to outfit a small number of soldiers with bronze weapons or armor.

Iron weapons had the advantage of only needing a single source of metal to create. Once people figured out how to smelt iron ore, it became much cheaper to outfit a larger number of soldiers. Early iron weapons weren’t better than bronze – they were often heavy and brittle. A bronze sword might bend or grow dull in combat, but it wouldn’t shatter. However, when you can outfit ten soldiers in iron for the cost of one soldier in bronze, you’re able to bring a much larger force to the field.

This was one of the things that allowed Kyros to conquer. The Overlord controls the secret of smelting iron ore, so has access to a cheaper source of weapons and armor, and can outfit a much larger army than any other nation that tried to resist.

Secondly, Bronze Age warfare was more up-close and brutal. There weren’t guns or firearms that allowed you to kill enemies from a distance. You fought at sword or spear-length, or hurled javelins from a shorter distance. For a world where evil won, I wanted to capture some of that feel in our combat.

GB: While you have talked about the setting and the protagonist's role in more than one interview and developer diary, you have been very tight-lipped about the premise of the game. Can you give us a vague idea of the sort of story arc Tyranny will offer to players?

Brian: We don’t want to reveal the game’s story prior to release, since we want players to experience it fresh while they’re playing the game. So far we’ve revealed that the game takes place in the last conquered section of the world – known as the Tiers. You begin the game as a Fatebinder, an agent of one of Kyros’ Archons, sent to bring Kyros’ laws to conquered lands. You start the game as part of the conquering evil army. What happens from there will depend on your decisions.

GB: In Pillars of Eternity, companions were optional and didn't have a direct effect on most of the game's questlines or its central plot. Can you give us an idea of the role that companions will play in Tyranny and how they’re integrated into the game? Can we expect them to chime in during a quest or a plot point, either to lend aid or perhaps even stand in our way?

Brian: Players will definitely want to bring Companions with them as they travel through Tyranny. Companions have skills the player may not possess, and all of their abilities are unique to them. They’re able to perform actions in combat that aren’t available to the player. In addition, we’ve added our Companion Combo abilities, combat abilities that allow the player and a Companion to work together in concert to perform powerful effects that can change how combat plays out.

When it comes to quests and conversations, there are definitely times when Companions will interject their opinions into the dialogue. Sometimes they’ll even offer to resolve a problem for you. How you handle these interjections will shape your Companion’s reputation, which will in turn unlock additional Companion Combo abilities.

Each of our Companions is a distinct personality, with their own strong opinions on what you decide to do. From my own playthroughs of the game I can say that bringing different Companions with you will definitely change your experience of quests and combat.

Ultimately, if a player wants to travel through Tyranny solo, they are able to do that. They’ll have a more complete experience of the game if they travel with a full party.