If you're the kind of roleplayer that likes playing and inhabiting villainous dickheads, Tyranny was quite the treat. And for the most part, the game was warmly received - both by critics and reviewers on Steam.
But praise is one thing; sales is another. And according to a new interview, Tyranny didn't do quite enough of the latter.
In a chat with PCGamesN at Paradox Con over the weekend, Paradox CEO Fred Wester said the game was "solid" but that "a lot of people are still on the fence to buy it" and that "everyone was hoping that it would do better".
"We've seen that most of the titles after Pillars of Eternity, if you look at [Wasteland 2], Torment [Tides of Numenera] - they haven't been anywhere near that kind of success. So maybe it's that a lot of nostalgia fed into the initial bubble and that's why. These games have a market, but it's never gonna be that peak [again]," Paradox vice president of business development Shams Jorjani added.
Timing was another potential reason cited for the game's middling success. Tyranny launched November 10 last year. That's one of the busiest windows in the video game calendar, right alongside Call of Duty, Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2, Titanfall 2, the latest Football Manager, and Pokemon Sun and Moon.
Even notable smaller titles were gaining a lot of attention on Steam around the same time, including Owlboy, Planet Coaster (which was available on Early Access prior to its November 17 release), and the full release of Killing Floor 2. They're not games that play in the same ballpark as Tyranny, but they fight for the same amount of attention on Steam, and their success could have just as easily drowned the Obsidian RPG out.
It's a bit of a shame considering the path Tyranny had to walk, having been borne out of the ashes of another abandoned Obsidian project, Stormlands. Stormlands was meant to be a AAA release for the Xbox One launch, only for Microsoft to can the project.
Once upon a time, Pillars of Eternity and Fallout. New Vegas developer Obsidian was working on a major Xbox One RPG called Stormlands. Then it got cancelled, and Obsidian had to lay off 30 people, a large portion of a relatively small staff. Turns out, Tyranny, Obsidian's new RPG in which evil has already won, partially emerged from Stormlands' ashes.
That said, there is always the prospect of Tyranny gaining a lot of popularity around the next Steam sale. Jorjani stressed it was a "largely underappreciated gem" and that things could change with an expansion or two. And if anything, people are consistent: if gamers are interested in something but don't buy it the first time around, they're likely to do so whenever it drops in price.