Joshua Eric Sawyer is a video game designer active in the role playing game genre. After Chris Avellone left Interplay, he 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 is currently 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.
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.
In November of 2003 it was reported by Tor Thorsen of GameSpot that he had abruptly quit his role as lead designer of Fallout 3 (Van Buren) to pursue other projects.
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 of 2005.
Sawyer was the lead designer of a canceled untitled role-playing game based on the Alien franchise. In April 2009, it was announced that he is the production director and lead designer of Fallout: New Vegas.
- 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
- I thought I could organize freedom. How Scandinavian of me. article by J.E. Sawyer at RPG Codex