Tyranny Interview

The editors over at Gameranx recently chatted up Obsidian Entertainment's Brian Heins, quizzing the game director about a large variety of topics regarding their next RPG, Tyranny. A sampling:

(Player Choice) seems to be a driving factor in the backstory and main storyline. Experience can be gained equally through battle or dialogue for conflict resolution. To what extent can player go through the campaign without combat? Is there a possibility of a (Pacifist Run)?

You're absolutely right that choice and reactivity are the driving factors of Tyranny. We want each of the player's choices to matter and shape either their character, the world around them, or both!

Players can use their skills in combat to intimidate, trick, or bluff enemies they face. Sometimes this results in a single enemy running away from an encounter, sometimes it results in the entire group laying down their arms. That said, there are some fights you won't be able to avoid depending on previous choices you've made.

It's not possible to complete the entire game as a pacifist, but I think players will really enjoy seeing the changes that come from the choices they make.


Tyranny is set to offer a classless leveling system. How does this contrast to Fallout's or Elder Scrolls' systems? What safeguards are you implementing (if any) to prevent players from accidentally (gimping) themselves?

In Tyranny, your character is defined by a set of skills. As you use those skills either throwing a javelin in combat or bluffing a hostile enemy commander in a conversation those skills gain experience. As your skills improve, your character gains levels. As your character levels up, they can increase their Attributes and acquire new Talents.

I love this type of RPG system as it allows me to make the character I want to play. If you want to be a fighter who tosses fireballs in your enemy's face, those are separate skills you develop in concert to make a battle mage. If you want to be an archer who snipes from the shadows, you can develop your bow and stealth skills.

During character creation we give the player the flexibility to make these types of hybrid characters, or focus on a specific set of skills to make a classic fighter if that's what they want to be.

Players who decide to change their skill focus late in the game will have a harder time than those who remain dedicated to their initial character concept, but they'll still have fun finishing the game.