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: You've recently outlined a series of changes to Tyranny’s combat, including the removal of friendly fire, which we’ve become accustomed to in the Infinity Engine RPGs and Pillars of Eternity. Can you elaborate on why you decided to remove friendly fire in Tyranny? How will this affect positioning as a tactical consideration during combat?

Brian: It was a pretty simple decision. At the end of the day, I wanted players to spend their time focusing on using their abilities to the greatest effect in combat, and not worrying about potentially affecting allies or enemies adversely. While that level of tactical planning can be fun, it wasn’t part of my goal for combat in Tyranny.

GB: Will Tyranny feature random encounters with enemies, or will most combat encounters be deliberately placed within the game? Random or not, will enemies be static in regard to their level/power or have you incorporated level scaling into the game?

Brian: Combat will occur with placed enemies, as with Pillars of Eternity. Some combats can be avoided or modified through dialogue options, but we don’t have any random encounter systems in place. We had ideas for systems along those lines during development, but ended up cutting them when we didn’t have the time to bring them to an acceptable level of polish.

There is level scaling in the game. Tyranny has a more open, branching structure than Pillars of Eternity did, which means that there are many different ways for players to travel through the world. The same area needs to support players arriving at level 5 or level 10, and provide them with interesting and engaging combat when they do so.

Enemies will scale within a level range, and their level becomes fixed when they are revealed by fog of war. So if you see an enemy and they are level 5, then leave the area, gain several levels and come back, they won’t suddenly increase in level. They’ll still be at level 5. On a different playthrough, if you went to that same area for the first time at level 8, the enemies would be a higher level.

The goal with this scaling is to keep combat interesting and not something you can just ignore on difficulty settings beyond Story mode. So far from our playtests its working out very well.

GB: You've often talked about the combat of Tyranny, but can you give us an idea of what we'll be doing outside of combat and how extensive the exploratory and non-combat aspects of Tyranny will be? Could you provide us with a brief example or two of the non-combat interactions we should expect from the game?

Brian: Outside of combat, Tyranny has a lot of the core RPG experiences our fans will look for: deep conversations with NPCs and their Companions, the ability to explore the world and solve puzzles, disarm traps, and interact with the environment, magic sigils to discover and learn, as well as a host of powerful items to create at the base you can upgrade.

As for how much of that – Tyranny aims to be 20-25 hours on a single playthrough. Those who try to do all of the side quests and extra content will have more time spent in the game, and any one playthrough won’t get you access to every area in the world.

GB: Can you elaborate on what we can expect from the equipment system in Tyranny? Will item statistics be entirely randomized, semi-randomized, fixed/hand created, or some type of hybrid combination? Additionally, will items be statically or randomly placed in the world?

Brian: Items are hand created rather than randomly generated. Most of the key/named items are hand placed, with some available as random loot drops.

Weapons and armor in Tyranny have a quality level that determines how good their respective stats are. These quality levels are Common, Fine, Superior, Exquisite, and Masterwork. One of the benefits of the player base is the ability to upgrade weapons and armor to better quality levels.

GB: What are the benefits and drawbacks of the various weapons and armor classes in the game? Will the balance be comparable to Pillars of Eternity, or will the game feature more powerful and unique items that are comparable to The White March's soulbound weapons?

Brian: There are lots of different weapon types and armor types in the game. I don’t want to go into detail about all of them just yet, as we’ll be going into more detail about these in an upcoming developer diary. Beyond the basic weapons and armor, we also have several powerful Artifact items which we’ll be talking about a bit more at Gamescom in a couple weeks.

GB: In the event that you develop any DLC or expansions for Tyranny, what areas of the game would you like to expand upon? If the game is a big success, would your publishing arrangements with Paradox Interactive put you in a good position to develop a sequel?

Brian: I’ve been living in the world of Tyranny for over two years now, and there’s a ton that I would want to explore further. More than we could do for any single DLC or expansion. The game is set in one corner of Kyros’ Empire. If it’s successful, I would love the opportunity to explore deeper into the Empire, showing how the world is shaped by Kyros’ laws, the Archons, and the Fatebinders.

GB: Thanks for your time, Brian!