Joshua Eric Sawyer is a video game designer active in the role playing game genre. After Chris Avellone left Interplay, Sawyer became the lead designer of Van Buren (the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios) before he himself left in November 2003. At Obsidian Entertainment, he was the lead designer and project director of Fallout: New Vegas, a standalone game based on Fallout 3's engine and gameplay.
Sawyer grew up in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and earned a BA degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. In addition to being a history major, Josh participated in the theater (including mounting a production of Assassins). After Lawrence, Sawyer moved to California.
Black Isle Studios (1999-2003)
Starting as a Web Designer at Black Isle Studios, he quickly worked his way up the ladder to an associate designer position and then lead designer on Icewind Dale II.
While at Black Isle he was known for coming up with the "Ex-Presidents" project naming system. When Interplay closed down Black Isle Studios many team members ended up at Obsidian Entertainment, which would eventually come to include J.E. Sawyer.
He was the lead designer of Baldur's Gate III: The Black Hound (codenamed Jefferson) before it was canceled due to Interplay losing all rights to the Dungeons & Dragons license. He then moved on to Black Isle's Fallout 3 project, codenamed Van Buren, which used the same engine, as lead technical designer. After Chris Avellone left Interplay, Sawyer became the lead designer of Van Buren. In November 2003 it was reported by Tor Thorsen of GameSpot that he had abruptly quit his role as lead designer of Van Buren to pursue other projects.
Midway Home Entertainment (2003-2005)
After the cancellation of Van Buren, Sawyer left Black Isle and joined Midway Home Entertainment to work on Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. On July 19, 2005, GameSpot announced that he had left Midway. He was preceded in that move by memorable game designer John Romero, who left work on the Gauntlet remake in June 2005.
Obsidian Entertainment (2005-Present)
In 2005, Sawyer was employed by Obsidian Entertainment to work on Neverwinter Nights 2. Sawyer was the project director and lead designer of Aliens: Crucible, the cancelled role-playing game based on the Alien film franchise. He was the project director and lead designer on Fallout: New Vegas, which was released in October 2010. He also wrote and performed several songs for Fallout: New Vegas: "Cobwebs and Rainbows," "Home on the Wastes," "New Vegas Valley," and "Streets of New Reno."
|Mar 1999||Nov 2003||Black Isle Studios|
|Nov 2003||July 2005||Midway Home Entertainment|
|July 2005||Present||Obsidian Entertainment|
|2010||Fallout: New Vegas||Lead Designer|
|?||Dead Money||Weapon Design|
|?||Honest Hearts||Project Director|
|?||Old World Blues||Weapon Design|
|?||Lonesome Road||Weapon Design|
|?||Gun Runners' Arsenal||Project Director|
|?||Van Buren||Lead Designer|
|?||J.E. Sawyer's Fallout RPG||Creator|
|?||Designer Neverwinter Nights 2|
Behind the scenes
- While at Black Isle Studios, Sawyer mentioned several times that he'd like to make a Fallout: Resource Wars spin-off.
- J.E. Sawyer's Twitter account
- J.E. Sawyer's Formspring account
- I thought I could organize freedom. How Scandinavian of me. article by J.E. Sawyer at RPG Codex
- Bethesda Blog: Inside the Vault - Josh Sawyer
- Fallout Official Site: Developer Diaries - It's a Small Wasteland
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