Tyranny Emerged From The Game That Nearly Sank Obsidian
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Kotaku's Nathan Grayson has traced the history of the game ideas that eventually led to Tyranny, Obsidian's recently announced isometric RPG in which the eternal struggle between good and evil is over, and "evil won." As many suspected, Tyranny is indeed based on the canceled Project North Carolina, an Xbox One exclusive in development at the company rumored to have been titled Stormlands. As we previously noted, the project also shares many similarities with Defiance, another pitch Obsidian was openly discussing in 2009.
Interestingly, though, Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart notes that the company was already pitching a similar idea as early as 2006:
I reached out to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart himself to fill in some blanks. Turns out, many ideas now present in Tyranny have been brewing for about a decade. Urquhart explained:
(The story of Tyranny's origins go pretty far back. We pitched a project called Fury in 2006 that was based in a world that had been laid waste by a magical apocalypse. From there, we started thinking more about the idea, and started pitching a game called Defiance in 2009. Defiance is where we really embraced the idea of making a game in a world where evil already won.)
(Move ahead a couple of years, and we did take some of the ideas from Defiance along with some new ones and pitched a new game called Stormlands. This pitch became the Xbox One launch game we were working on. However, that game was more like Fury when it came to it being about playing in a world after a magical apocalypse.)
(After that game had been cancelled, we returned to the ideas we had come up with for Defiance. We began building a more in-depth world around the idea along with thinking how could we really let the player understand that evil won the war. That spawned the thought about letting the player take part in the conquering of the world itself as a part of character creation.)
One of the reasons I suspect Fallout: New Vegas was so rich in terms of stories and characters is that Obsidian's employees had plenty of time to refine the ideas that they started putting on paper back when Black Isle was developing its own Fallout 3, project Van Buren. Hopefully, the fact that they have been mulling the ideas for Tyranny for this long means that they've had time to really refine them, which would make the project all the stronger for it.