Exploring Stories Where The Good Guys Lose

Overlord Screenshot

Apart from the Dungeon Keeper and Overlord series, I struggle to think of any games where you play as the ‘bad guy.’ Not sure about you, but always playing as the shining paragon of virtue whose hobbies include funding orphanages and adopting puppies gets a little old. To me, it’s as cliché as a tolkien-esque fantasy world riddled with evil orcs and gold-loving dwarves.

So I was pleased to see Obsidian trying out a different approach with their new RPG, Tyranny. Instead of playing a hero who saves the world, it turns the traditional approach around by you playing as a bad guy in a world where the apocalypse already happened and evil won the war.

Matthew Singh, Lead Producer for Obsidian, said this:

“What if we flipped that on its head? In this game, what if the clash between good versus evil has already happened, and evil has actually won. In this game, the armies of the Overlord, Kyros, have already come through the land, conquering all, and not only were you on the side of evil, you’re actually one of their leaders.’

Another touch I appreciated is you’re not following the mind numbingly generic hero’s journey. None of the lowly farm hand being approached by a mentor, discovering he has royal blood, travelling through hell to fight evil blah blah blah. Instead, you play as one of the leaders of the bad guys, with an already established reputation and presence in the world.

“…you don’t start off as the average farm boy that’s picked up a rusty dagger for the first time.”

There’s no telling if the game will be any good at this point, but I thought the story concept was a refreshing change from the tired formula. It reminds me a little of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, where the story revolves around a group performing a heist in a world where the evil overlord already won the war.

It’s an interesting concept, more of this originality in stories please game developers.

Photo by Niranjan licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.


A World Where Everything Has Depth And Meaning


It never leaves you –
that entire life of choices
and missed chances.
They lurch around
in the back of your mind,
somewhere between
and all the projects
you left unfinished.

At first you barely notice,
you just retreat
to fantasy worlds
where everything has depth
and meaning.
Though eventually
the familiar patterns
turn to tedium.

Surging back to reality,
denial hits first,
then justification,
and lastly resentment,
as predictably as the tide.
So you make them a part of you
because it’s all you know,
and it softens the unfamiliar.

The days skim by
and time erodes a channel,
dousing the passion,
until you’re left
inhaling smoke
and drowning in cheap wine.
Anything to help dull the senses,
as you try to ignore the weight
forever growing in the
back of your mind.

© 2016, Gavin Zanker.
Photo by SBC9 licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.