Why didn't Tyranny Sell? PDXCON Report

Several of the Paradox Interactive's executives have spoken during the recent PDXCON about their collaboration with Obsidian. Thanks to PCGamesN we have an abridged version that fills us in on the details. Tyranny's subpar sales were the main topic. They were blamed on a tough launch window and a wrong direction the marketing team took. Words like 'nostalgia' were also thrown around. Can't really agree with that, but that's what the folks at Paradox think. Here's an excerpt:

“Tyranny did ok,” says Paradox CEO Fred Wester.

“We’re overall ok with it, I think,” echoes Shams Jorjani, Paradox’s vice president of business development. “Everyone was hoping that it would do better.”

In fact, Tyranny’s performance at release came in just under the Swedish publisher’s expectations.

“The game’s really solid, it still has a lot of interest,” Wester expands. “A lot of people are still on the fence to buy it. I think we will see a long tail on that game with people coming in and playing later on as well. But it didn’t really meet the expectations we set for it initially, no.”

Next question, then: why? Wester points to a tough launch window in November - a month in which other great games, including Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2, struggled to punch through the pre-Christmas noise. Jorjani thinks Tyranny’s timing issue goes much broader, arguing that the appetite for ‘90s style RPGs has already been somewhat sated through crowdfunding.

“Obsidian did a great job of capitalising on the timing of Kickstarter and the wave of nostalgia for these type of titles,” goes his hypothesis. “We've seen that most of the titles after Pillars of Eternity, if you look at Wasteland, Torment - they haven't been anywhere near that kind of success. So maybe it's that a lot of nostalgia fed into the initial bubble and that's why. These games have a market, but it's never gonna be that peak [again].”

Jorjani draws a parallel to revivalist point-and-click adventure games and the initial warmth for a fondly remembered genre.

“But once people started playing them, they were like, ‘I kind of know why they aren't prevalent anymore,’” he says. “This form of gameplay isn’t really working in today's environment.”

Additionally, the possibility of a sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was mentioned. While at the moment Paradox isn't committing to anything, the sequel can happen “when the time is right.” Unfortunately, the exact wording sounds eerily close to “when pigs fly” to me, but maybe that's just me. Have a look for yourself:

Paradox Con 2017 just wrapped up in Stockholm, and there have already been lots of exciting announcements about the ambitious strategy publishers' coming plans. Some of these should concern the intellectual property of White Wolf publishing, which includes the 2004 cult hit Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, so we asked Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester about that very subject.

Apart from the fact that they now own VTMB, many of the leads on that game now work at Obsidian, with whom Paradox have collaborated before.

“Yeah, on paper that's a really good match,” says Wester. “Of course, sooner or later, people will want a follow-up to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines… and when the time is right I guess a sequel will find its place in the market. But it's too early to say anything about that right now.”