Tyranny Previews

A couple more previews for Tyranny coming from the press hands-on sessions at Gamescom have been released, offering us a slightly better idea of what the title has to offer when we are not solving disputes between various conquered factions.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

Tyranny’s pitch is easy to misunderstand; it’s not necessarily a game about playing the villain, rather it’s a game where the bad guys won. A sequel to a game you’ve never played, in which the heroic band of adventurers failed and evil triumphed. In your position of privilege in the new world order, you have an enormous amount of responsibility – you’re carrying out big tasks for The Man and The Man is a Bad Man – but you’re not being used as a tool to terrorise the factions and individuals you meet along the way. You’re part of the post-conflict plan, switching between warrior, peacekeeper and diplomat as the situation dictates. The great promise of Tyranny’s story is that it’ll tell the high fantasy version of post-occupation blues, and in what I’ve seen there are some tricky decisions to be made about asserting control of populations and cultures in a power vacuum or the aftermath of brutality.

Quite how that sits alongside the much more traditional dungeon crawling of this most recent demo, I’m not entirely sure. Down in the ruins of the world, in this case part of an enormous wall that has fallen into neglect and nightmare, it appears to be RPG business as usual.

That’s no bad thing, and the addition of a spellcrafting system and flavoursome legendary weapons is very attractive indeed. The spellcrafting works around collecting sigils (either from characters or in the world) and combining them to create new abilities, utilising a base element, form of expression (cone, AOE strike, bolt, beam, touch) and additional, optional modifiers. Based on what I’ve seen, which is very little, the spells you can create aren’t as weird or exciting as those on Divinity Original Sin 2’s vast cocktail menu, but even if they’re all iterations or variations on the usual D&D arsenal, the ability to modify and name them makes them feel more personal to the characters they’re attached to.


In the demo, we chase after another character, leading us into a dungeon beyond the Old Walls, which are large structures believed to have been built by an ancient civilization.

Before diving into combat, I saw the new spell creation system. Around Tyranny's world, you come across magic sigils, and these give you basic formulas for spells. These consist of core elements such as fire, ice, healing, or lightning. By mixing and matching different components, you then add accents, where you can change the area of effect or range. Each spell can be given its own custom name and has a runic symbol that changes shape depending on its accents and customizations. Finally, you assign a spell to a corresponding party member who has a high enough lore level to conjure it.