Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
June 24, 2019
arrowPress Releases
If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


How South Park: The Stick of Truth steeled Obsidian for making Tyranny

December 2, 2016 | By Bryant Francis




The underlying premise of Obsidian’s latest RPG Tyranny is that you’re a character willingly serving an evil overlord and working to support their dictatorial goals. Along the way, that means the player is going to participate in some grim stuff. Executions, betrayals, and mass murder may all be on the table for players willing to go along with the will over Overlord Kyros. 

So grim in fact, that according to Tyranny game director Brian Heins, the only way Obsidian Entertainment was able to do it was because many of the designers had worked on the extremely vulgar and ill-flavored game South Park: The Stick of Truth. During our stream of Tyranny today, Heins explained that simply being able to talk about such grim ideas in a context that wouldn’t bring HR down on their heads helped them consider how to get players to interact with the concept of true evil. 

“It broke down every tread of decency we might have left as human beings,” Heins explained with a laugh. “At that point, for talking about a character being evil, it’s not much of a stretch. The things we’d talk about having players do that were legitimate design discussions, and not HR-violating offenses, while working on South Park, made talking about evil easy at that point.” 

“Just imagine a design team discussion trying to design the layout for the Mr. Slave levels,” he deadpanned. (Warning, link not safe for work)

But the way Tyranny approaches evil isn’t just about childish humor and bad jokes—be sure to watch the full video (seen above) for how Heins and his team got players to think about why people do evil deeds, and how it can sneak up on people in such a banal fashion. 

Be sure to subscribe to our Twitch channel for more developer interviews and gameplay commentary.



Related Jobs

Legends of Learning
Legends of Learning — Washington, DC, District of Columbia, United States
[06.21.19]

Senior Unity Engineer - $140k - Remote OK
Cold Iron Studios
Cold Iron Studios — San Jose, California, United States
[06.20.19]

Senior World Builder
Cold Iron Studios
Cold Iron Studios — San Jose, California, United States
[06.20.19]

Senior Content Designer
Behaviour Interactive
Behaviour Interactive — Montreal, Quebec, Canada
[06.18.19]

Senior Game Designer









Loading Comments

loader image