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It also has a new release date of September 7th, and is supposedly available for pre-release somewhere.


Also, only quests for Barik, Verse, and Lantry? Not sure why Ebb, Stalks-In-Shadow, and Sirin wouldn't have quests, though I guess the non-human companion would be more challenging to get a quest for.

Edited by smjjames
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Obsidian on Tyranny’s expansion & writing believable evil
Most games that put you into the shoes of the bad guys are about reveling in evil, gleefully causing havoc and destruction like a toddler who’s got into the stationary box. Obsidian’s RPG Tyranny [official site] is different.
“I find a lot of fiction that centers around good versus evil tends to be unsatisfying, as evil always exists as a strawman for the ill-prepared underdogs to beat up with the power of naïve violence and good intentions,” says Matt MacLean, narrative designer for Tyranny. “I think video games often try too hard to make sure you don’t relate to your victims, and so villains are made unrelentingly villainous, and allies are made into some combination of saccharine hangers-on or tear-jerker red-shirts waiting to be killed in order to shock you into thinking death means serious storytelling.”
But how did it all work out, and what new cruelties will the upcoming expansion expose us to?
In many ways Tyranny begins after the chaos and fire that most evil-centric games depict has died down, and you’re left to explore the bent and broken husk of the world lingering in its wake. Tyranny’s world is one where everyone has been touched or corrupted by evil, a fantasy dystopia where you play not as one of the downtrodden, but as one of the Overlord’s minions wearing boots of +1 oppression.
The goal of the game, as MacLean describes it, was “to make sure whatever giant society of evil we created made some sense.” Obsidian wanted to show evil not just in its most gurning and maniacal form, but as a factor of everyday life. Indeed, perhaps the most unique aspect of Tyranny’s depiction of evil is how ordinary it often seems.
“Our Overlord needed to have some sort of empire that wasn’t comically sadistic to the point of imploding, so Kyros needed to be equal parts ruthless warlord and stable civilization builder,” MacLean says. “Our regular folk needed to be universally afraid of Kyros and that meant they should be chronically ignorant, as understanding tends to counter fear. Most importantly, the agents of evil that the players meets in the game needed to be a proper mix of revolting and relatable.”
As narrative designer, it was MacLean’s job to build the game’s story, and to flesh out the world and the characters within it. With such a specific focus, you may think it would be difficult to make the realm of the Tiers and its inhabitants seem varied, but MacLean expalins that writing the characters was one of the easier parts of the job. “Like our own world, everyone in Tyranny needed to be the heroes of their own story, because every ‘evil’ person is a good person going about their righteous day doing their righteous thing, happily preying on something to live,” he says. “Evil isn’t a thing most of us set out to do, it’s more the unintended consequences of learned mistakes.”
Of course, Tyranny’s world includes the more extreme personalities who would prosper in such a society. “It’s easy to write empathetic sociopaths, as the really good sociopaths are charismatic, engaging folk,” MacLean says. Where the project became tougher was in writing the ‘good’ people who had managed to survive the war, and how the necessities of that survival had altered them. “The game takes place three years into a war, so you don’t meet the weak, the eager, the depressive, or the overly-courageous – they’re all dead. What’s left is a people who, by necessity, had to grow a sense of humor, humility, and streetwise to live to the present day.”
The biggest challenge stemmed not from creating the characters who populated the world, but from combining the typical mechanics of an RPG, particularly the branching narrative, with the world that Obsidian wanted to build. “It’s hard to make a world that is convincingly ‘locked down’ by the rule of some allegedly awesome super-evil, that provides you with lots of choice and yet never has you instantly executed for treason/heresy/breaking some sort of law,” MacLean says.
Obsidian solved this by establishing the player at the higher-end of of the game’s social hierarchy, although still a few rungs from the very top. This is an unusual choice for an RPG, which tend to throw the player at the bottom of the lowest pit in order to give them something to climb out of, but as MacLean points out: “This let us have a world of corrupt laws, albeit one that the player is immune to and can perhaps leverage for fun, profit, or maybe nobility.”
Another problem that Obsidian needed to solve was – in a society where evil has already won, how do you then give the player something to do? The solution here was to turn the knives inwards, to have the fighting shift into infighting as thoughts began to turn away from final victory, and more toward who would reap the most spoils. But this led to another issue; the need to contextualise the maelstrom of inter-factional politics that the player was about to be thrown into.
The result of this was the Conquest mode, a text adventure that takes place before the game begins proper, which provides an overview of how the war played out, and let’s the player make a few choices that influence how various factions perceive them as the game begins. Interestingly, Conquest mode was one area of Tyranny that proved difficult to build, and one that MacLean worried, “for the length of development”, would go down badly with players.
“An earlier version of the conquest paired attribute and skill gains to the conquest, and a part of me really enjoyed how the past-defines-your-training vibe meshed with the game’s learn-by-doing system. But it was a level of complexity too far. Players would find themselves not wanting to select things because the story was good but the systemic gains weren’t,” he says.
Although MacLean feels Conquest mode was ultimately successful. One issue that the team didn’t fully solve was blending the focus on evil with the epic fantasy story that is generally expected of an isometric RPG. MacLean states the team “wanted the players’ choices to matter”. But this meant creating a huge amount of content that could only be explored fully with multiple play-throughs, and MacLean admits that “not many gamers have the time for that much gaming.”
“While I love making choice-driven games with branching dialogue, ‘Next time, a linear game’ was a frequent mantra uttered when we found ourselves having to make short conversations many thousands of words long just to accommodate prior choice and conditions,” he adds.
Nevertheless, Obsidian has decided to further explore the world of Tyranny with an expansion – colourfully named Bastard’s Wound. For the DLC, Obsidian wanted to create something that would be of interest to Tyranny players both old and new. “The parameters for the DLC’s design were something that players not yet finished with the game could play, so that gave us the opportunity to add something we just never got around to making – an area accessible in Act 2 that you travel to on your own schedule and not based on exactly where the main story is pointing you next,” MacLean says.
The developers are tight-lipped on details of Bastard’s Wound story, although MacLean does say that the expansion is “less about the immediate conflict of the Disfavored versus the Scarlet Chorus and more about the ripples and consequences of the larger war.” But the expansion will add character-specific quests for three members of the player’s party, namely Barik, Lantry and Verse.
This is an aspect that the vanilla game was lacking, that more personal connection between your character and your party. However, these quests will be unrelated to the game’s core reputation system: “if we had placed something like loyalty or fear requirement for one of these quests, and you fire up a save game where you’ve already opted for the other thing and there’s no more conversation/game left to steer your way into the quests, you’d be rightly annoyed.”
Bastard’s Wound will also address some of the more general complaints about the vanilla game, one of which was an overemphasis on combat. “While adding a strictly pacifistic route through things wasn’t quite in keeping with the general vibe of Tyranny, Bastard’s Wound features quests with more optional violence,” In addition, Obsidian wanted to ensure that, when violence does happen in Bastard’s Wound, it’s better contextualised than it sometimes was in Tyranny. “We also wanted to have less situations where someone already hated you from prior events, bridges seemed pre-burned, and combat was inevitable,” he says.
It’s also worth noting that, alongside Bastard’s Wound, Obsidian will be making some tweaks to the vanilla game that will be available to everyone. “We’re doing a free update to the base game that adds and modifies a few things here and there,” MacLean says. This includes new voice-overs to parts of the game that were previously text-only, and the fixing of certain story “bugs” by adding new dialogues and conversations. “In short, we’ve been working on a lot of cool improvements that all players will be getting, not just those who get the DLC.”
Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound launches on September 7th.
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First review. It's going to get hammered: https://www.pcgamesn.com/tyranny/tyranny-bastards-wound-pc-review 


Tyranny - Bastard’s Wound PC review


Tyranny’s abrupt ending left me wanting more of Obsidian’s villainous RPG. But modest sales convinced me that my days striding across the Tiers, judging peasants for my distant Overlord, were over. Then Bastard’s Wound was announced, promising a chance to return to that war-torn world. I should have stayed at home.


Instead of following through on what Tyranny sets up during its closing moments, Bastard’s Wound actually takes place before the final quest, and can be started during Act 2. It’s largely detached from the rest of the game, including the main quest, set as it is in a secret settlement hidden inside the forbidden Old Walls.


A vague missive draws the party to the titular region, where things quickly become a little bit conservative for what is normally a subversive game. It’s a town with problems, and you’re just the hero to solve them. That mostly involves delving into a dungeon below the Old Walls and fighting a bunch of monsters, mercenaries, and sick people.




It’s a brief and conventional quest, though thankfully elevated by Obsidian’s slick writing and the option to play many shades of arsehole. Or you can be nice. Or pragmatic. What I’m saying is, despite the setup being pretty by-the-numbers, there’s still a lot of flexibility in how you can approach every conversation and potentially hostile encounter.


You can, for instance, immediately put the entire settlement to the sword since they’re breaking Kyros’s laws by living there. I opted to help out of the kindness of my heart… ok, I said I’d help because they paid me, and also because I was plotting to take over the settlement and start up my own little rogue state in the middle of the Tiers. Up yours, Kyros!


The expansion feels largely extraneous, though. It fleshes out the world a bit, adding some extra flavour to Kyros’s conquest of the Tiers, but it’s jarring going from world-shattering Fatebinder business to a random quest in a hole in a wall. The diversion seems very out of place when there are so many more important crises flaring up. Especially if, like me, you load up your old save.




I embarked upon this adventure in a world where I’d already either killed or subjugated the other Archons and made my disdain for the Overlord quite clear. Momentous things were on the horizon. But Bastard’s Wound seems to ignore the state of the world entirely. Nerat, Ashe, and Tunon, for instance, are mentioned as if they’re still my superiors and breathing, and there’s curiously little said about any of the major plot moments that make up the rest of the game.


Unfortunately, I encountered some progress-halting bugs, too. Lantry’s companion quest ended before I actually finished it, leaving a conversation he said we needed to have unspoken. It turns out that, because I’d killed another character, Lantry was upset with me. This concluded the quest, but because of a bug, I had an entirely different exchange with him that implied I could continue it.


This also reveals another problem with Bastard’s Wound, though it’s a design one this time. When I got all stabby and upset my buddy, I was just acting like a Fatebinder - it was the only thing I could do at the time, aside from simply not doing anything at all. But that locked me out of the rest of the quest; a quest, I should add, that hinted at one of the few interesting implications about Kyros in the entire expansion. It feels a lot like being punished for being evil in a game about being evil. I’m fine with it going in a different direction because Lantry’s in a huff, but for it to end so unceremoniously was anticlimactic. Worse, it meant all the work I’d done beforehand was a waste of time.




And what a pain in the arse the quest was, sending me down into a dungeon to search around for hidden objects that would only appear when Lantry got close to them. What would normally be just a dull piece of busywork became endlessly frustrating when I couldn’t find the last item because it wasn’t reacting to Lantry’s proximity. It did eventually, but only after I tried for hours, gave up, and left the task for a full day.


Yet this companion quest, and the other two for Verse and Barik, are the only reasons to play Bastard’s Wound. They feel connected to the rest of Tyranny by virtue of focusing on characters we’re already familiar with. Their connection to the hidden village, however, is tenuous at best, feeling more like quests that were cut from the main game.


It’s worth noting at this point that the Verse and Barik quests won’t even trigger if you play the expansion after Act 2, something I had to confirm with Obsidian since it is not made clear anywhere else. So if you were hoping to experience everything Bastard’s Wound has to offer with a pre-existing character, you had better have some old saves.




Hoping the bugs were behind me, I set about continuing the adventure, only to realise that my quest log was empty. At first, I assumed I had encountered yet another bug, but I’d actually finished the expansion. There was no fanfare, no closure, no indication that I was done at all. It is an even more abrupt ending than the one in the base game. I had performed a couple of tasks and wandered around an underground maze for a bit, and that was my lot. It certainly wasn’t enough time for me to give a hoot about any of the new characters who crop up, or their ramshackle village.


I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we will see of Tyranny, because - in its current state - it has ended with a whimper, absent of a single fight or NPC who could be characterised as memorable, or quests that would inspire anyone to start the game all over again. Obsidian’s dark RPG deserves a better expansion than Bastard’s Wound.


Verdict: 4/10

Edited by Infinitron
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Bottom line

A common complaint when developers release DLC is “They just cut this out of the main game to sell it to us later.” I’m skeptical of throwing those accusations around, and I won’t do it here either—I don’t think Obsidian intentionally removed the content in Bastard’s Wound from the main game just to formulate an expansion.

I do think it’s likely these were cutting room scraps though, at least to some extent. In contrast to the White March expansions for Pillars of Eternity, which constituted a wholly separate adventure from the main game and told a complete and compelling story, the bits and bobs in Bastard’s Wound are a grab bag. Obsidian’s given no real thought to people who already own or completed the game, none of it’s meaty enough to feel meaningful in its own right, and it has no bearing on Tyranny’s larger story.

Of all the RPGs I've played, Tyranny is one of the few that really needed (and deserved) an expansion. Why this tale, though? I have no idea.

http://wccftech.com/review/tyranny-bastards-wound/ 7.7/10

Tyranny: Bastard's Wound builds upon the excellent world-building and writing of the main game to offer a compelling side-story filled with engaging characters and twists where players choices matter as much as ever before. With the lack of any significant new mechanic, however, those who expected more than just a new story may be slightly disappointed.


  • Excellent world-building
  • Endearing new characters
  • New quests centered on Verse, Barik, and Lantry
  • Gameplay tweaks favoring non-violent solutions
  • If you didn't like Tyranny to begin with, Bastard's Wound won't change your opinion, as it's basically more of the same, not counting small gameplay tweaks

http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2017/09/07/review-tyranny-bastards-wound/270695/ 4/5

Closing Comments:

Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound is an impressive piece of DLC as it takes the choice-heavy gameplay of Tyranny and seamlessly weaves it into the previously-made choices by the player. Whether or not this content is essential depends on how much someone enjoyed Tyranny and if they want more of it. If it’s a game you’re still playing and want something new added, this content is money well spent. The same can be said if someone was taking a break from Tyranny but wanted an excuse to dust it off and get back into it. This new content won’t convert any naysayers over to Tyranny, but those who appreciated the brilliance of the base game will be pleased to know the additional content is on par with it.


On the whole, therefore, my experience with The Bastard’s Wound DLC for Tyranny was a positive one. In building on the fantastic world built through the main game, this extra episode provides a powerful insight into the personal costs of the political and military concerns of the game’s larger narrative arc. The additional subquest for Lantry (the sage character) is particularly relevant here, focusing as it does on the responsibilities and power held by historians and chroniclers as they attempt to document ongoing conflicts.

Whether you have played Tyranny and want to delve back in, or have yet to experience the game, The Bastard’s Wound is a very successful addition. If only they could do something about the abrupt ending of the main game, but perhaps we’ll have to wait for a sequel for that.

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Still not on GOG


I guess I probably don't have time until next week anyway

Huh? I already got it from GOG and downloaded it.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*


*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)


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