Skip to main content

How Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity get player choice right

It's official. We're finally leaving the era of blue and red, good or evil, hug or punch RPG morality behind. And some of the people pushing for that change are none other than the folks at Obsidian Entertainment, long time and beloved RPG developers. With Pillars of Eternity in the bag and Tyranny in the headlights, Brian Heins and Josh Sawyer of Obsidian Entertainment agreed to chat with us at PAX West about how they approach player choice in modernizing the ARPG, what they've learned from Pillars of Eternity, and how they're planning to carry their refined ethos into the future. They've left a bland dichotomy behind for something more subtle, casting you as a character you may not identify with—in Tyranny's case, an evil Judge Dredd style executioner—in search of empathy, even in the darkest places.

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.