Recently I was introduced to the PC game Tyranny from Paradox and Obsidian game studios. These companies were instrumental in reinvigorating the isometric RPG genre with their successfully-Kickstarted game Pillars of Eternity, and it seems they’ve been successful enough to explore new worlds and new stories in Tyranny. I knew little about the game before picking it up other than what was available in its launch trailer, and the fact that a fair amount of chatter I was hearing rated it positively.
Jumping into the game functionally blind, the setting seems unique enough, and the story player-driven enough, that I could make a neat fiction series out of it, much as I have done with Wildlands, Stellaris, and Fallout. From my brief introduction it appears that the main character is an arbiter of justice, or at least the law, acting as a proxy for a super-powerful entity whose kingdom has expanded to conquer almost the whole of the known world. With one small region left holding out, their job is to keep the overlord’s two armies from killing each other as they strike at the last vestiges of rebellion.
The subtitle of the game is “sometimes, evil wins” and it is apparent from the outset that you are not playing a hero. When looking at stories or story arcs I want to explore, for me the setting is just as important as what themes or ideas I can explore through the telling. I went into the Lavis Chronicles rather blind, almost as an experiment to see what the emergent gameplay would throw at me and what tale I could weave out of that chaos. With both my Wasteland and Covert Ops stories I had more of a concrete plan, an idea of what I wanted to say, from the beginning. I get the feeling that with Tyranny it’ll be a blind run, but one where I can explore very different themes and ideas than those I’ve found elsewhere.
Maybe I will start writing a new series, one to start posting when the Lavis Chronicles wraps up. I’m not a fan of having too many different storylines being published at one time, and maybe this will give me a bit of space to feel out the story before committing to making it a long-running piece. Sometimes characters just don’t grab attention like writers hope, and that’s okay.
Over the course of this entry I think I’ve convinced myself to dip my toe into writing a story from this game, and see what can come of it. It’s been a while since I’ve written any traditional fantasy, and so this will provide an interesting (and hopefully new) take on a wide-open genre.