Tyranny is unusual as unlike other games about a conquering dark lord, the game actually starts after the world is conquered by the overlord Kyros. The player is a Fatebinder, one of Kyros’ elite servants, and tasked with consolidating the victory and helping to restore order. There is no ambiguity in this game, you are the villain, but it does provide a more nuanced exploration of the dark side.
Games like Tyranny tend to feature branching storylines in a unique setting. Obsidian is famous for this type of game with the story always a central part. The player’s role is as a mediator, serving as judge, jury, and executioner, as they enforce the will of Kyros. The player’s abilities in combat are affected by which factions they align with and the companions that they have chosen to recruit.
The decisions the player makes in the game also has very real consequences on the gameworld, it is not just a cosmetic decision that many other games feature. For example, a certain decision may cause a magical destruction in some towns, perhaps killing some NPCs and forcing the others to relocate. This will also alter the NPCs’ attitude towards the Fatebinder and affect what quests may be available. Conversation is as important as combat in the game, with players earning experience points for both.
The game is built on the Unity engine and features isometric gameplay, something that will remind players of classic games such as Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate. The game features a board game like Conquest mode which is where they make decisions that alter the gameworld. Players can also craft their own spells, starting with a central element (such as fire or ice) before altering its range, effects, and power.