In Tyranny, It’s Good To Be Evil

Tyranny - Primary

Evil in Tyranny [official site] is so ordinary. That’s why it’s successful, I think. In a medium prone to cartoonish overexaggeration, where villains are barely more than mustache-twirling caricatures, Tyranny tells a bleaker story. It’s the evil of numbers, the evil of tax collectors and bureaucracies and negligence and “I was just following orders.” A real-world sort of evil. The type that’s much harder to stomach.

The type that, when you’re given the chance to go hands-on with Tyranny’s first few hours, leaves you unsettled.

That was me, this past week. Obsidian invited press to come play the first two-ish hours of Tyranny, including character creation and the “Conquest” prologue. It made for a much quieter demo than the combat-centric bit Adam saw back at Gamescom.

A much darker demo, too. Last time Adam saw Tyranny he said “It’s not necessarily a game about playing the villain.” True enough.

You do work for the villain though, the seemingly all-powerful Overlord. You’re a Fatebinder — part judge, part police officer, part military general, part adventurer-for-hire. One of the highest authorities in the land, you navigate conflicts between various factions and enforce the will of the Overlord in whichever way you see fit.

And that means (at least in the early game) doing some things you regret. Character creation is a rote affair — adjust appearance, dole out some points, give yourself a name — but Tyranny also has you take part in world creation. In the Conquest prologue you help lead the invasion of Tiers, the last free realm in the land.

Tyranny - Conquest

It plays out like a short Choose Your Own Adventure, blocks of text conveying both the day-to-day of camp life and the massive battles you fight in. Your choices here will affect the state of Tiers when the game actually starts, as well as how various factions respond to you.

Do you allow the Overlord’s elite troops, the Disfavored, to assault a city head-on? Or do you let the Scarlet Chorus lock the gates and burn everyone inside alive? Do you enslave the survivors or allow them to enlist in the army?

Of six locations total, you have the possibility to affect three in a single Conquest run, with each location subdivided into a few smaller Choose-This-Or-That events. The ones you don’t go to? “If you don’t go to a place it assumes another Fatebinder did and they did the worst possible thing,” said Obsidian’s Brian Heins. “If you go to a place, you have the chance to be more merciful.”

Make no mistake though: “More merciful” does not mean “Saintly.” Evil is a fact of life regardless, and the Conquest of Tiers an inevitability. Within five minutes of creating my Fatebinder I’d already starved half my army in the name of “fairness,” enslaved one city, and destroyed another with a storm so fierce they stopped calling the area “Stalwart” and started calling it the “Blade Grave.”


In that last instance, my “merciful” action was to give the local populace three days warning before utterly obliterating the city, the land, and its leaders. A model of restraint, I tell you.

What’s even harder to swallow is that these actions are entirely justified by Tyranny’s lore. There’s an interesting disconnect between the game and the player. As outsiders, we might recognize “burning down an entire city with its population inside” as a work of immense evil, but Tyranny doesn’t present it that way. You’re the hero, delivering the Tiers into the hands of Overlord by any means necessary.

“We try to confront the player with situations that have meaningful context,” said Heins. “We didn’t want ‘evil for evil’s sake,’ but rather choices that may seem like extreme solutions to a problem — or be perfectly reasonable, depending on your point of view.”

As I said up top, it’s a much more complex depiction of Evil. One with nuance, with motivations that go beyond the BioWare-esque “You can either save this orphanage or kill them all (and eat them).”


I began classifying Tyranny’s factions by the old Dungeons & Dragons alignments. The Disfavored, a strict and regimented army in the style of Imperial Rome, are Lawful Evil. They’re the evil of bureaucracies, an ordered affair that can stand on honor and tradition even while claiming the massacre of innocents is a tactical necessity.

The Scarlet Chorus is more Chaotic Evil, an army of former slaves and criminals and low-lifes loosely tied together by a hierarchy based on fear. They win by way of sheer numbers, not training, and they’re defined by paradoxes — both more brutal to their enemies and more accepting of turncoats, for instance.

They’re both evil, but the methods are very different. And as the Conquest wraps up, its your relationship with both factions that drives the early parts of the game proper. Two years post-Conquest, the land of Tiers might be conquered but its people are certainly not, and the first act of Tyranny kicks off with a revolt.

The ragtag rebellion should be an easy fight, but the Disfavored and the Scarlet Chorus can’t agree on tactics. As a result, the Overlord’s massive armies sit stagnant while the opposition grows stronger. You’re sent down to the Tiers to — *ahem* —convince the two armies to work together.

Your weapon? An Edict. Basically a magical contract infused with the Overlord’s power. This one’s addressed to the leaders of the Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus, and says “Stop wasting time fighting each other. Take over this city within eight days or everyone in the entire valley will die.”


Yes, it’s an actual time limit a la Fallout. Once you’ve read this edict, a counter pops up at the top of the screen informing you how many days are left until all life is extinguished. Time passes whenever you leave to go to a new area (a.k.a. when traveling), and if you don’t accomplish your goal before the eight days is up?

“The game ends,” said Heins. “If you are really good and know where to go you absolutely can do everything in that eight days, though it starts getting tight.”

“We wanted the replayability and playing different paths though, and having a time limit creates a sense of urgency that maybe you don’t want to do everything. And with Kyros and the Edicts,” he continued, “we wanted to add some visual presence. The time limit felt like a good way to show this is actually urgent.”

As for whether you’ll see other time limits later, Heins said Obsidian’s experimenting with a few but they may or may not make it into the final release —and they might not all be game-ending catastrophes. “Others may just change the overall state, or what the win conditions can be. But we’re still evaluating that.”

The greater ramifications of that eight-day time limit will need to be explored in reviews. I didn’t get near that far in my own demo, and actually used my two hours with Tyranny to play the first hour twice, mainly because I shared Adam’s trepidations — as he said, “In a game that’s so keen to gesture toward the bigger picture, it can be difficult to get a sense of how well the smaller moments work toward that end” during a demo.


That’s still true. An hour with Tyranny is not nearly as useful as ten hours with Tyranny is not nearly as useful as two full-length runs through the game, and et cetera.

You can start to see the shape of Tyranny in just two hours though. My first time through the prologue, for instance, I opted to visit the city of Apex and, with my well-honed diplomatic skills, managed to hash out a peaceful surrender of the armies within. Later, upon encountering the revolutionary troops in the actual game, they called me “Peacebinder” and were willing to negotiate with me.

My second time through I avoided Apex entirely, and all those dialogue options disappeared. No more Peacebinder, no mentions of how honorable I was, and the revolutionaries were enraged at how poorly the city had been treated under one of the Overlord’s other emissaries.

These aren’t the “Entire sections of this city are missing” world-shattering effects teased by the prologue (and by Obsidian in past Tyranny demos). But you can already see the causality, the road that led from your actions to the game’s response — and within mere minutes.


Skill checks are similarly prevalent, be it a boulder I could push onto an enemy to thin out a combat encounter or a wall I could climb for hidden treasure. These environmental interactions are littered all over Tyranny, whereas in Pillars of Eternity they often felt like an afterthought or a late addition.

Between the small dialogue touches and the ever-present skill checks, my impression is a game where character really matters. You will not be able to see everything Tyranny has to offer in one playthrough. It’s simply not possible. There’s a natural parallel between Tyranny and Fallout: New Vegas in that respect, though here the various factions are less “shades of gray” and more “shades of black.” I’m looking forward to delving those depths.

Sponsored links by Taboola

More from the web

From this site


  1. Premium User Badge

    Cooper says:

    The time limit is very worrying.

    Often these cRPG games take many hours to complete. I don’t want to play one knowing that I may not be able to complete it first time. I, frankly, have things I would rather spend my spare time on than re-playing parts of games.

    This kind of thing is great for the diehard fans; people who play through these games more than once. But, frankly, that’s a minority.

    Most people never complete these games once, let alone multiple times. Take Pillars of Eternity: Less than 50% have completed Act I. Only 10% have completed the game. Even if we only take the people who made it past Act I, that’s a small percentage who actually go on to complete the game…

    Having a system in your game that works as a hard fail state requiring re-start (or loading a save game from hours ago to change your mistakes) is simply a recipie for the (large) majority of the people who play the game to not see most of your game.

    Which is a) a shame and b) bloody annoying for the players.

    • aldo_14 says:

      I got the impression it’s more a timed mission that just happens to be tied to an end-game failure state… the context actually seems reasonable, and I hate timed missions.

      • Premium User Badge

        kshriner says:

        Agreed, while I generally dislike timed missions because I enjoy exploration, on a one-off mission basis or used sparingly in a campaign I am ok with just hitting a save file or two, exploring and playing as I’d like, and then blitzkrieging.. (if needed, sometimes timers seem pressured as they countdown but are generous. ~Original Fallout water chip..)

      • Steravel says:

        I wish it were that simple for me. I even see the term “Time limit” in a CRPG, and I start to stress out. I understand the necessity for it in certain situations, but it’s not something I want anywhere near a single player rpg experience that I play for relaxation, experimentation, and exploration.

        Developers, you want me to replay your RPGs? Give me crunchy mechanics and character systems that reward replays with tactical experimentation, and lots of roleplay depth. If I even suspect you’re trying to contrive a replay value by causing players to fail missions because they weren’t fast enough or didn’t do it in an optimal manner, I will write a game off and not look back.

        After being disappointed by Pillars of Eternity, this is about the last feature I wanted to hear about in a new Obsidian rpg. The premise sounds interesting, but I’d much rather hear about how they were improving mechanical systems and writing that didn’t take until late in the game to allegedly ( I don’t know…I’ve never managed to finish PoE despite two attempts), get any good.

        Between the concept of time limits, and statements like:

        Character creation is a rote affair

        Tyranny is already on my “wait for a sale” list.

        • LexW1 says:

          Honestly, I feel like attitudes like yours are very very bad for CRPGs, because they basically lock them in a tiny box, and even seem self-contradictory. I mean, you say you want RPGs to take it slow and so on, but mention that you’ve never even got far enough into Pillars to see the writing get good, which suggests you’ve never got more than about a third of the way into the game. So really, do you want games that take forever? If you want a totally relaxing warm bath of a game, as you seem to suggest, why in god’s holy name would you be playing one called “Tyranny” about being working for an evil empire and making horrible decisions?

          I mean, I don’t hate “warm bath”-type RPGs (like Skyrim), but they cannot and should not be the entire market. We need more CRPGs that take risks, like the brilliant Alpha Protocol (which had plenty of time limits and “no turning back” points).

          As for character creation being a rote affair, that’s fair comment about almost every CRPG barring a few really daring ones or ones that people like to accuse of not being RPGs. It’s certainly true of stuff like D:OS (it could not be more rote except by adding in races – which the sequel is doing), which people praise endlessly.

          • Steravel says:

            Honestly, I feel like attitudes like yours are very very bad for CRPGs, because they basically lock them in a tiny box, and even seem self-contradictory.

            Honestly, I feel like attitudes like yours are very, very bad for CRPGs because some people are always looking to make excuses for developers to avoid giving their systems the polish and roleplaying depth that a great RPG needs for true replayability, instead allowing them to rely on contrived systems like time limits to see how something might vary slightly in a replay, while still having to sit through mostly the same content without interesting tactical differences to make it worth playing again.

            And yet, we’re both CRPG consumers that vote with our wallet. Don’t worry, based on the praise heaped on a mediocre RPG like PoE, your side is probably winning.

            For the record, Steam says I’ve played 40+ hours of PoE. I think 2 attempts and 40+ hours of a game is enough time to find the characters dull, the story plodding, and the systems mushy and counter-intuitive. If it takes longer than that for a game to get good, then it isn’t good. The games which PoE apes were engaging from the start.

            Re: D:OS
            The character systems in Divinity Original Sin were indeed mushy, and it wasn’t until the Enhanced Edition I thought that they even approached something solid, if disappointing. But that game featured outstanding deep tactical combat that made the game worthwhile in itself, something that PoE never came anywhere close to. I found both games deeply disappointing on the writing front compared to something like Witcher 3, or Shadowrun DragonFall Directors Cut from a couple years back.

      • LexW1 says:

        Yeah, it seems pretty reasonable to me.

        The whole point of Tyranny seems to be to break CRPG traditions and not be some ponderous epic where you saunter around digging through every box and visiting every dungeon and so on, but rather to be something a bit more exciting and aggressive.

        In that context, a time limit makes a hell of sense, and probably makes the game a lot more fun. I feel like all the hand-wringing and nonsense about “RPGs are about taking it slow” is very sad and narrow-minded really.

        The first CRPG I really loved, Ultima VI, alleged itself to have a time limit, and boy did that drive me to play through it as nimbly as possible, getting a lot done but not wasting time – it was really exciting as a result. Then disappointing years later when I learned it doesn’t really have a time limit.

        So I’m very much looking forward to NOT having forever, not just wandering around idly going through stuff, but actually feeling like I need to go and do stuff now. It’s a lot more like fantasy fiction and real life the way too, in a good way.

        • poliovaccine says:

          Yeah, I for one am game to try what the developer intended. I actually understand the impulse about the time limit – that’s the singular reason why I can’t enjoy Dead Rising, for instance – but I agree, it is a little narrow to simply hear of a feature like that and proceed to write it off as an excuse to recycle content, especially when I don’t believe that’s the real impulse towards discomfort to begin with. I think it’s much more simply, “ehhh I don’t like being rushed tho..” But of course, the extent of peoples’ outrage has never failed to amaze me before, and gamers in particular are absolutely that cynical about development, so hey, I’d believe it if you pressed the point.

          Besides, I am quite sure that will be the first thing someone mods out – the time limit, that is.

          Otherwise, the game sounds interesting. Frankly, sometimes I wish Joshua Sawyer would just try his hand at a novel. That’s to say nothing critical of his games, hardly – just that I’d like to read it.

    • Zanchito says:

      If I understood correctly, the time limit is only for the first chapter of the game. I quite like it, because it’s obvious and clear-cut. It enforces the theme of the end justifies the means. Better to kill this faction than the entire valley, right?

      The problem with hidden time limits is that you are generally not aware of them and games tend to teach us that when an NPC says “URGENTLY”, what the game means is “do all sidequest and faff around as much as you want”, so when something really is timed, you don’t expect it and ends up feeling unfair. With a visible counter, it adds another layer of depth to the game by instancing time as a valuable resource, along with gold, hit points and whatever else.

      I’ve been playing X-Com 2 lately, which prominently features timers too, and although it’s annoying to feel rushed sometimes, it creates interesting dynamics. I’m sensing a similar thing here.

      • Bluestormzion says:

        Ha! Sounds like you watched me play Mass Effect 2! “Oh, my crew is captured, this mission is URGENT, and it’ll be the final showdown? Yep, time to comb every planet for all the shit I missed!”

        Aaaaand I later find out that this is how to get the worst possible “Your crew were ground up into a paste, why’d you drag your ass?” ending… THANKS, RARE BREAK FROM GAME LOGIC!!!

        • Rizlar says:

          Haha I did exactly the same thing. Terribly signposted.

          • Rainshine says:

            Right? I wasn’t a big fan of the series, or of many of the changes like never being able to go backwards, but that bit… I got the partial failure one, where half of them died or something, and just sat there blinking, then yelled at the screen for a little while.

    • Unsheep says:

      I agree. Much of the fun with RPGs is that you can take your time exploring everything at your own pace, it’s one of the things that sets the whole genre apart from others.

      I also can’t see many gamers willing to restart the whole game if they have failed, instead they will just re-load a previous save … negating the whole point of the time-limit.

      It remains to be seen how they will actually implement the time-limit in the final product, but hearing about it has diminished my interest in the game. I’ve always disliked having time-limits in my games.

    • Hyena Grin says:

      I don’t know. I agree that stamping a time limit on an entire game is disheartening, but in this case it’s the first chapter, ie, a large glorified quest chain.

      I don’t have a problem with timed quests. Sure there’s a possibility you might miss some unknown portion of content that only exists while the quest is active, but assuming you complete the chapter successfully, the timer goes away and the world remains more-or-less intact to explore.

      Let’s not make mountains out of molehills. I think it’s a fun tool for generating a sense of urgency, when used well, and sparingly.

    • cautet says:

      As one of the 90% that didn’t complete PoI I am fine with missing some bits unless I replay them.

      I often end up quitting out a game and restarting once I get a grip on mechanics anyway. Sometimes I start the same game many times to do things different ways.

      Also PoI Endless Dungeon probably sapped the life out of the 90%. Being a competitionist and finally getting to the end made me lose all interest in the main story. I think it was something about souls that made no sense.

      • Cerulean Shaman says:

        That’s disappointing, I rather thought PoE’s greatest strength was its story hands down. It’s nothing like the crazy melodramatic flair you see in other rpgs these days and had a more “real” story feel, more something you’d see in a good fantasy novel.

        It wasn’t perfect and was even sometimes hit and miss, but I really thought the ending was damn satisfying and the ending plot-twist reveal was a good one. It left me thinking.

        • cautet says:

          Ah damm, looks like I will have to restart and complete it then. I was going to eventually. I will blame you if it is an insipid as I think it’s going to be. I think I was only probably right near the end. I was on some big soul stealing machine pulling levers for fun when I got bored.

      • revan says:

        Yeah. Endless Paths really does sap the will out of the player. It’s simply not interesting but very big. I actually had to take a break from the game, after finishing about half of it, because of that dungeon.

        Returned to it a couple of days ago, after almost seven months of not playing. Found that I’m starting to enjoy it again.

    • DEspresso says:


      I did not play PoE so I don’t know how moddable it is.
      Might this time-limit be alleviated in this way?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I agree. For every time limit in a game that actually makes sense and makes it more fun, there are dozens of others that are just frustrating as hell.

      I’d like to give this game a chance because I did enjoy PoE, but between a time limit and what sounds like a depressing premise that might be a challenge to roleplay, I dunno. Maybe it works better than it sounds on the face of it.

    • revan says:

      From the preview it is very clear that this is a time limit on a single quest, not the whole game. I imagine eight days is ample time to finish that one quest.

      I don’t mind time limits in RPGs if they are lenient. Fallout comes to mind. While you had a limited time to find the chip, it was very generous and it could even be extended.

      • Zenicetus says:

        It doesn’t matter that it’s just a single quest with the timer, if failing that quest ends the game.

        It’s about respecting the player’s time. None of us mind re-loading a saved game in an RPG when our party dies in combat. That’s just a short step back and repeat. Failing a quest chain that could require days (in-game) to try again, is something else entirely. It’s like poor save checkpointing in an FPS game, although in this case probably wastes even more of the player’s valuable time.

    • neofit says:

      Same here, with a time limit the game goes from 0-day purchase to no sale. With 100+ games in my steam wishlist I can afford to be picky, thank god. Unless of course a ‘no time limit’ option is added, then we can move on and examine the save game system, then how much of the game is a “choose your adventure” pos a la “Age of Decadence”, and so on. But with a time limit none of the rest matters.

  2. anHorse says:

    Oh joy a time limit to force replayability

    Still mad at Obsidian anyway for rendering my PoE party useless with patch applied balance changes

  3. Someoldguy says:

    Indeed. They’ll need to be careful about how they balance the importance of these timed phases and either/or outcomes. Make it too challenging and it encourages the modern trend of walking through a game with the wiki permanently ready to be tabbed to for solutions. You stop experiencing the game and start following somebody else’s script.

    It’s a long time since I first played the original Fallout but I don’t recall it being hard to find a solution to the water chip timer within the time limit. If I recall correctly there were even a couple of ways to extend the timer if you felt it necessary. It just focussed your mind a bit – you had a critical goal, not just the ojective of hoovering up every single sidequest start in the game before bothering to progress the main quest. Nowadays on a replay beating the timer is a cakewalk but the game is still a pleasure to play. I hope Tyranny will prove the same.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      You recall correctly. The limit in Fallout is quite generous; given the number of locations and the size of the map, it’s very unlikely that you’ll run out of time before finding the chip unless you’re deliberately trying to fail. But it creates urgency all the same, so ultimately I’d say it was a success (though I remember hating it at the time).

    • Rizlar says:

      Yeah, this sounds reasonable. Generous enough that you are not going to fail but will still think twice before taking every detour, helping every person with every minor problem.

      A timer can lend meaning to choices, give you a reason to find shortcuts. Much more interesting decisions than just hoovering everything up on the map for gold and exp.

    • GeoX says:

      I was okay with the water chip time limit, but before it was patched out, there was a SECOND limit, at the end of which supermutants would overrun the vault and game over for you. THAT was the worst.

      • Rizlar says:

        Exile 3 had a great hidden timer, after a certain number of days the Tower of Magi (your link to civilisation via a giant portal, where you would receive advanced training upon earning a promotion) would get overrun by demons, rifts into hell and generally magicians making a bollocks of things, whether you are equipped for it or not.

        • Dicehuge says:

          i loved that quest. Exile 3 was a great example of timers used in an rpg that worked well, with the world changing pretty dramatically if you take too long to clear the various major plot points. From memory, there was no failstate, or even failed quests, but it was cool to see the long-term effects of your tardiness in a way that didn’t ruin the game

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    This sounds fantastic. YES to time limits and difficult choices.

    > One with nuance, with motivations that go beyond the BioWare-esque “You can either save this orphanage or kill them all (and eat them).”

    Or Bioshock-esque.

  5. kud13 says:

    Sounds intriguing. But I still have to find time to replay PoE with the White March expansions first.

  6. mercyRPG says:

    I follow a simple program regards this game:

    While Combat_in_Tyranny = RealTimePauseCrap DO




    • Premium User Badge

      lasikbear says:

      I just make decisions and comments without contrived abstractions

    • Darloth says:

      So, does Avoid_Tyranny block? I mean, you’re not rechecking the condition inside I assume, and I’m guessing you want to play other games in the meantime, but you’re running some sort of logic instead of just setting a variable.

      I’m not really sure I’d recommend this style of thought abstraction, it seems too likely to lead to an unfortunate deadlock where you can’t play anything at all until people you have no influence over change something you just don’t like very much… And implicitly, then you’d still have to play it!

  7. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Hmm not sure if this is grim enough. Could Obsidian please increase the grim another 5%?

    I mean I know it’s hard to top Pillars where in the first 10 minutes everyone you just met gets killed and then you see a tree covered in dead people, but surely there’s still a little more grim we can throw on the pile, right?

    • Emeraude says:

      What did you expect, given the premise of the game?

      I mean, I understand complaining there’s too much grim in your heroic fantasy, but then when the game has been built from the ground up to be about playing a subordinate enforcing the will of an evil empire?

      Might as well complain that the game exists at all.

      • Wulfram says:

        If the game had a sense of humour I think it could help.

        But I don’t think a game’s premise is immune to criticism

        • Emeraude says:

          It’s certainly not, but once you’ve accepted the premise, the rest follows. It could have a sense of humor – and I would enjoy that, dark humor is my favorite – but it would still have to come with a certain amount of grimness attached.

          Conversely, if you can’t accept that, you’re complaining about the very premise, and the existence of the project itself.

  8. Wulfram says:

    Is the time limit a real time clock that counts down all the time, or does it only come into play with travel and similar?

    But it probably doesn’t matter much for me, since the writing continues to sound tediously grimdark.

    I’m not really sure why “Biowaresque” is being used to stand for the sort of simple moral choice that is fairly ubiquitous in games (indeed, the article talks about a bunch in this game, even if they’re grimdark themed) but notably absent in Bioware’s last couple of games.

    • Premium User Badge

      lasikbear says:

      Sounds like it’s travel only, and a fixed “it costs X time to go here” kinda thing. Hoping it’s more of a “you can complete the quest, but maybe not all the sidequests, or get the best result” kinda thing

      • Emeraude says:

        From reading this, I’m really hoping there’s no “best” result.

        Hell, if designing that game, I’d probably make it so doing everything within the limited time-frame could only be achieved by gaming the systems, and would lead to the worse possible outcome in some manner.

        A good thing I’m not a designer I guess.

    • Hayden Dingman says:

      Time only passes if you’re traveling between regions, i.e. as in the Infinity Engine games/Pillars “It will take three hours for you to make this journey.” It doesn’t pass while you’re on the map/chatting with NPCs/etc. Should be pretty obvious when time is passing and when it isn’t.

      And I used Bioware as an example because that sort of ultra-polarized moral choice was popularized by them, even if it’s since been adopted by others.

      • DrMcCoy says:

        Except that time does pass in Pillars of Eternity while exploring an area and talking to NPCs, only slower than moving from area to area.

        I know, because I waited around if there were only a few minutes left to get buildings in my stronghold finished (so that I can immediately start on the next building).

        • Hayden Dingman says:

          Yeah, I only used Baldur’s Gate/Pillars to convey an example of the “X hours to travel to this place” setup. First question I asked Brian Heins was “Is time passing while I’m on this map/talking to people?” Wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case.

          He said they moved away from that format specifically so you wouldn’t feel stressed about talking to everyone/picking up quests/exploring the corners of the maps.

          • DrMcCoy says:

            Ah, okay, nice to know, thanks! :)

            That is indeed better, IMHO. But I still hate time pressure. :P

    • exile2k4 says:

      Yeah, I always think it’s a fine line with writing between “difficult moral dilemma” and kid in the playground who keeps asking “would you rather… (insert two grotesque options)”.

      I worry generally with Obsidian’s games that they do a much better job of making their ideas sound interesting in previews and generally talking about their games than they do of getting their points across in the actual games themselves. I remember lots of the ideas about souls and the gods sounding really intriguing before PoE, but when I played it a lot of it just didn’t really grab me personally.

  9. Zankman says:

    Sounds quite interesting to me, from the way the choices are handled (and what consequences they create) to the general style of the setting.

  10. Fry says:

    Oh noooooes, the “grimdark”! Why oh why won’t somebody write a fantasy RPG about puppies and chocolate cake??

    • CartonofMilk says:

      the first Fable was quite good though (i’d bring up Zelda too IF it was a rpg).

      I don’t care either way but i think there is a place for both grim AND more fairy tale like light-hearted rpgs.

      Some days i want to slice heads in a grim Howardian-like fantasy world, other days i want to boast about how i’m gonna kill some bandits while wearing nothing but my underwear in a bright colorful stylised world.

    • GeoX says:

      Are you familiar at all with the fallacy of the excluded middle?

  11. TomxJ says:

    I used to run an RPG in the ‘Midnight’ Campaign setting. This is all sounding very similar, which is in no way a bad thing.

    Now to find 200 hours from somewhere so I can play the damn game.

  12. Monggerel says:

    I resent games that make you feel bad about winning.
    Winning is good. Winning is the only meaningful thing in a world where nihilism has officially displaced all reliable sources of meaning. You take that away, you might as well go advocate for antinatalism.

    Edit: I want to delete this but it’s just so delightfully psychotic

  13. Freud says:

    I don’t like the sound of a time limit as a completionist with minor OCD tendencies.

  14. sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

    “Peace through Tyranny” as some Robot once said

  15. Emeraude says:

    Loving everything I’m reading so far.

    Can’t wait for this one.

  16. Scraphound says:

    I was getting more and more excited with every word. Finally, a game with a believable world. Choices that aren’t silly and childish, but will actually make me think about the moral ramifications. All good stuff. This was a day one purchase.

    And then I read the time limit. Sorry, no. Didn’t they already learn their lesson with Fallout? I don’t care if the devs want me to replay the game multiple times. That’s not how I play. I suppose someone will fix this with a post-release mod, but I’m voting with my wallet. No thanks.

  17. A Wanderer says:

    The premise looks very interesting, at least.
    I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a thing for RPGs where you play as a part of some kind of law-enforcement organization. I’ve always wanted a game where you are some kind of emissary tasked to enforce the laws of an empire, and it looks like it might be just this.

    • kud13 says:

      Have you tried Avadon by Spiderwebs? because that sounds quite similar to what you are looking for.

      • JFS says:

        I heartily second this! Avadon is one of the few games that actually got me thinking. Outsidenthe game, I mean. And the best thing, there’s three of ’em. Go try them out, but bring a lot of time.

  18. Babymech says:

    Tax collectors aren’t evil. Tax dodgers are evil. This makes me worried that your barometer for evil is seriously askew :(

    • Emeraude says:

      Well tax collectors can be evil, for one if the taxes collected are not properly used for the benefit of the collectivity. And/or when demanding (at gunpoint) much more of tax-payers than they can afford to withstand paying in any humanely, decent manner.

      But yeah, it’s funny that hatred of taxes.

      • Marr says:

        Historically it has overwhelmingly been used for evil. Its main purpose is to fund the ongoing oppression of the taxed, after all.

      • Hayden Dingman says:

        What can I say? I’m American. Our feelings towards taxes are pretty well-known. We uh…we fought a war over them.

        • poliovaccine says:

          That being said, if you can say with a straight face, “Tax dodgers are evil,” I worry about *your* rubric for evil – and what mere humanity would pass for it in your limited view. You don’t seem to register the potential reality of unjust taxation, of taxation which is not for the benefit of the taxpayer. The Boston Tea Party was quite a different tax dodging scenario than Trump having interests stowed away in Havana. Sheesh. If tax dodgers are evil, flat out, no context required, what word do you have reserved for serial murderers and practicing sadists?

          “Evil” is such a mindless word in general. It occurs at the luxury of distance. The more inextricably near to something you are, the more you are forced to understand. And it is very easy for me to understand the idea of a government which, in spite of the best efforts of its founding members, does not today serve the will of its people in the way it was designed. In which taxes are used to shape an oligarchy and an insular/incestuous top-level economy which is made up of the bulk of the national wealth but in the possession of utterly private citizens. A scenario in which people with money can, to a very large extent, purchase things like Congressional outcomes via lobbies and adverts and a thousand other expensive tricks. A scenario in which the law no longer serves the people, so the people no longer serve the law – the law being, not some abstract entity floating around protecting us all in a cape and tights, but rather, being embodied by every individual human being who represents it by either obeying or enforcing it – and being nonexistent as soon as those individuals are incentivized away from loyal faith in the productivity of abiding by that law.

          Context really, really matters. That’s all. Though I don’t believe it’s particularly responsible or farsighted to call *anything* “evil.” At best it is a useless descriptor – one could at least be more arriculate, more specific.

          • Michael Anson says:

            Context really does matter. Tax dodgers are typically the people with the money and influence to do so without getting caught, and as such are typically the ones leading to the corruption of government systems for their own gain (through the aforementioned donations). In such a context, where someone has more money than they could reasonably require, and yet persists in doing as little as possible to contribute to the society as a whole, such actions could be reasonably described as “evil.”

          • Hayden Dingman says:

            Whoa there, hold up. I was agreeing with you! (I wrote the article, and Americans hate taxes. It’s all we moan about, day in and day out.)

  19. Jerkzilla says:

    I like concept of the time limit, or at least I’m cautiously optimistic about it. And it’s only the first act anyway, so no big deal.

    Like others said, it seems to deliberately undermine the usual indifference players manifest to supposedly “urgent” quests in RPGs. Which I like, because I massively dislike the “game logic” school of though many developers seem to have accepted in place of genuinely good, immersive design.

    Also, I can’t imagine the Overlord is a credible tyrant if you can blow him off indefinitely.

    • Marr says:

      Star Control 2 did the time limit thing exactly right a billionty years ago, and no-one picked up on the lesson. *SPOILERS* When the timer ran out, the big bad began moving inexorably around the map, exterminating every species, naughty and nice alike. You could still technically win by rushing to complete the main quest before they reached Earth, but the galaxy was forever reduced by your inefficient heroism.

      Also if you wanted to be a complete sociopath you could let this happen on purpose, and wait for everyone else to die before deploying the macguffin, giving humanity vacant possession over the wealth of a billion worlds. Yay!

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>