Tyranny Interview

Obsidian Entertainment's Brian Heins continues to be grilled about all things Tyranny, with this latest interview on GameWatcher tackling such topics as the RPG's faction system, classless character development system, likenesses to Pillars of Eternity, and more. Here's a taste:

GameWatcher: Can you give any specific examples of character abilities?

Brian Heins: We're not going too much into the abilities at this point. One thing we did talk about during our demo at GDC, is that our combat is the same (real-time with pause) tactical combat that Eternity has. On top of that, we wanted to bring the companions into combat as well, so we added abilities you can use between your player character and your companions that we call companion combos.

One that we demonstrated at GDC was called (death from above.) These are very flashy, over the top, powerful abilities that show how powerful your characters and party members become as they level up through the game. So with this ability your player channels energy into their fist and slams it down into the ground, which launches your companion into the air and they fire arrows down on the target from above. You can do a ton of damage and it's a great combat opener or a way to take out a very powerful enemy in the middle of combat. We wanted all these combo moves to really be key moments for the player, things that are memorable and that they'll want to find ways to use multiple times.

GameWatcher: Pillars did a tremendous job of keeping the spirit of games like Baldur's Gate alive while sort of filing away their rough edges. When you come into a game like Tyranny, which isn't a sequel but still follows in similar footprints, how do you strike the balance between maintaining the sorts of things that made those old games great without just rehashing that previous work?

Brian Heins: Yeah, I think definitely when we first started working on this game, we wanted to make sure that we weren't just making a Pillars sequel. We wanted this to be its own thing that stood on its own as its own game experience. So we looked at a lot of the core things we could take from Pillars, because we wanted to build on the same foundation that they had created. We didn't want to throw everything out and start from scratch, because there are a lot of great things there as a foundation to build on. So for us, it was about looking at the different game systems and seeing how they functioned, how we could adjust them to give them a unique flair for our game.

As an example, going from a class-based system to one that's skill-based is one that changes the overall nature of how you play the game and the experiences you can have in it without fundamentally changing the core things that people love about this type of game. We're still a role-playing game, so it's all about choice and reactivity and the consequences of the choices that you make. It's about adventuring through a new environment, new world, new IP, and I think that's what people really love about role-playing games. It's not just a linear experience, it's getting a chance to explore a new world.