Josh Sawyer

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Josh Sawyer
J.E. Sawyer removing spokes from a bicycle wheel.
Born Joshua Eric Sawyer
(1975-10-18) October 18, 1975 (age 41)[1]
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Occupation Game designer
Employer Obsidian Entertainment
Known for Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity

Josh Sawyer (born October 18, 1975), is an American video game designer, known for his work on role-playing video games.

Early life and education[edit]

Sawyer grew up in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and is the son of Linda Sawyer and sculptor Gerald P. Sawyer.[2] He is of German ancestry.[3] He earned a BA degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. In addition to being a history major, Sawyer participated in the theatre (including mounting a production of Assassins). After Lawrence, Sawyer moved to California.


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.[4][5]

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 Sawyer.

In November 2003 it was reported by Tor Thorsen of GameSpot that he had abruptly quit his role as lead designer of Fallout 3 to pursue other projects[citation needed].

On July 19, 2005 GameSpot announced that he had left Midway's Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows, and was already employed by Obsidian Entertainment to work on Neverwinter Nights 2. He was preceded in that move by memorable game designer John Romero, who left work on the Gauntlet remake in June 2005. He was the project director and lead designer on the canceled[6] Aliens RPG.[7]

He was the project director and lead designer of Fallout: New Vegas. It was the longest shipped project he has been involved in from start to finish (about 18 months).[8] In December 2011 Sawyer publicly released a New Vegas mod designed for his own personal use adding a large variety of small tweaks to the game ranging from rebalancing the karma of certain characters to slowing down the level up speed.[9] As of November 2012 this mod is up to version 5.1 which was released in September 2012.[10]

He served as project director and design lead on Pillars of Eternity, a role-playing video game that was crowd funded through Kickstarter.[11][12]



  1. ^ "J.E. Sawyer". GiantBomb. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ Daily Jefferson County Union. January 14th, 2011. Liedtke, Carolyn. "Sawyer sculpts success throughout Wisconsin". p. 3.
  3. ^ "J.E. Sawyer". Archived from the original on 2013-04-12. 
  4. ^ Ooi, Will (September 25, 2011). "An Interview with JE Sawyer - game developer, biker, and cat lover". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ (July 2005). "The Arcade Classic Is Back, and It'd Better Be Good", Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine (94): 38.
  6. ^ Faylor, Chris. "Aliens RPG Cancelled, Says Ex-Obsidian Staffer". Shacknews. 
  7. ^ SEGA Signs Obsidian Entertainment To Develop Alien Title For Next-generation Systems
  8. ^ GameStar: Knights of the Roleplaying Table. Josh Sawyer.
  9. ^ Kayatta, Mike (December 30, 2011). "Fallout: New Vegas Project Director Releases Personal Mod". The Escapist. Defy Media. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  10. ^ "JSawyer.esp - v5.1". 
  11. ^ Purchese, Robert (December 4, 2012). "Project Eternity crowd-funding ends, grand total now $4.3 million". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ Purchese, Robert (December 10, 2012). "Obsidian renames Project Eternity, releases a proper video". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 

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