Tyranny Second Hour Livestream, Previews

You might remember that Tim Cain (of Fallout, Arcanum, and Temple of Elemental Evil fame) and a few other Obsidian developers streamed the very start of Tyranny a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, that same playthrough was continued (though without Tim Cain) live on Twitch, showing a few sidequests and areas, some of which haven't been shown before. We're talking about less than an hour of footage in total.

Additionally, since we last checked, a few previews for the game popped up. For example, there's a positive piece on IGN:

This is where your choices come in. What you decided to do in the Conquest? That was largely decisions about whether to support the Disfavored or the Scarlet Chorus, and they respond to those choices. This is done not just via the units themselves, but also with your party members who come from those factions. They have their own personal motives as well as factional loyalty, and histories with one another. For example, Verse, the Scarlet Chorus companion, and Berik, the Disfavored party member, know each other – but in order to find out how and what it means, you have to build loyalty with both of them – and doing this affects your character’s special combat skills as well.

Will this complicated set of loyalties, friendships, rivalries, and betrayals work out throughout Tyranny? I only played a few hours at the start, but it seemed incredibly sure-footed in its balance of world-wide factional politics and character relationships.

While a PCGamesN editor argues that the way the game nudged him into being morally corrupt disturbed him:

I manage to convince Fifth-Eye that there's another option. The Scarlet Chorus has a reputation for absorbing the armies they defeat into their own ranks, and I urge him to let this woman decide her own fate by taking on a rite of initiation. For a moment, I feel proud that I managed to solve the problem without bloodshed. But then it's revealed that her initiation means savagely murdering her fellow prisoners with nothing but a rock. After all, she needs to prove she's loyal to her new masters.

It's here that Tyranny's treatment of morality resonates with me in a way that few games ever have. In most RPGs, good and evil are simple choices that have simple consequences. But Tyranny's choices don't fit neatly into my preconceived notions of right and wrong, and I'm left feeling conflicted and bitter. For a person who is supposed to have a great deal of respect and authority, I realize I have none at all.

Reading the grotesque lines of text describing a woman smashing her friends' skulls in with a rock while, all around me, Scarlet Chorus soldiers watch unflinchingly, I realize that I am a stranger in a strange land. I wanted to be good in Tyranny, to defy its expectations of me as the player, but one hour into the demo and I'm already responsible for a tragedy because I didn't have the guts to stand up for what I thought was right. I compromised for "the greater good." But I don't feel great, and I certainly don't feel good.

The same outlet also asked the developers what's the deal with Kyros the Overlord's gender, but came away without a clear answer:

“There is no internet in Terratus so folks can’t Google Kyros, instead most people end up mirroring the superstitions around them – a lot of men think Kyros is a dude, a lot of women think Kyros is a lady, but just as many will think the opposite.” Many prospective players, myself included, were equally guilty of these assumptions. In a similar vein, many assume something stranger is going on.

“Some suppose Kyros is a team, some think it a dynasty, some think Kyros is a giant beast with a dozen heads – there are plenty of fears about what Kyros is but nobody is out there setting the record straight. Only Archons are likely to have actually met Kyros, and they’re usually tight-lipped on the subject.”


On that timeline, Kyros has instituted her own calendar. “Most folks know what year it ‘officially’ is (the game’s prologue opens in 428, the main gameplay is in 431),” say Obsidian, but that doesn’t mean Kyros has been upfront about it. “There’s plenty of confusion as to what the start of the calendar is – some think it’s when Kyros was born, some think it’s when Kyros first wore the title of Overlord. Those in the know could tell you that year zero was Kyros’ first Edict. And yes, Kyros starts the calendar on a zero – the Overlord is aware how largely incurious humans are and, anticipating stupidity over when a millennium begins or ends, planned for the future.” Kyros is pretty forward-thinking for an overlord of all life.