Josh Sawyer: I am directing my own project now (it's just not Avowed)

Yesterday Josh Sawyer, studio design director at Obsidian, wrote a small blog post about his job. You can read it here:

He also responded to someone asking on Twitter about his project:

We already knew Josh Sawyer was leading is own (small) project. But now we have confirmation. This means Obsidian Entertainment is a four team studio working on the following projects

  • Avowed
  • Grounded
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Unknown (Josh Sawyer project)

Obsidian is going to prove to one of Microsoft’s best acquisitions isn’t it? They’ve already had success with The Outer Worlds (which likely result in a sequel), Grounded has been huge so far, Avowed is going to be massive and now there is a 4th project in the works.

After the fun I’ve had with Grounded so far, really interested to see what another “small” project from Obsidian looks like.


It seems Sawyer is working on a historical RPG, set on our very own earth.

Does bring up the question, how will the 200-250 people at Obsidian deliver on all of these projects at the same time? Grounded and Sawyer’s project aren’t very large it seems, but whenever The Outer Worlds 2 goes into production (I expect that to happen looking at Booty’s comments how that could become a franchise), how will they manage it?

The Outer Worlds was made with ~70 people I believe, but I expect them to up their game in regards of scope and polish for the second installment.

this is legitimately insane, it’s basically a goddamn publisher in its own sense like Ubisoft or EA lol

A bit concerning on some level, but it makes a lot of sense given the Game Pass focus for Xbox, needing volumes of content at a steady pace. I suspect not a single studio in their roster (outside probably Undead, Turn10 and Compulsion) is working on just a single game.

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Expansion? I’m not sure if Obsidian are advertising many positions at the moment but it seems like a good time to recruit and bring in some new talent at the beginning of a new project like The Outer Worlds 2.

I believe a lot of Microsoft’s acquisitions have been on recruitment sprees since joining XGS.

I thought Feargus said he didn’t want to grow Obsidian much bigger than it is now.

Interesting, I imagine they will have to at least expand a little bit to support 4 different projects. While it’s exciting that Obsidian is working on so much, I wouldn’t want any of the projects to suffer due to resource issues.

Microsoft probably still regrets not buying Bioware. Obsidian is honestly a better pick up in my opinion.


In hindsight that seems the case, but I wonder what Bioware could have done under Microsoft’s current leadership where they seem to just let their teams get on with it. The comments recently from Booty about letting them focus on what they want to create may have worked wonders for Bioware?

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I thought his quote was he didn’t want to grow into a 1000 person studio or something along those lines. I could be wrong though. But if that’s the case they are probably growing but most likely won’t be a bunch.

Wouldn’t be surprised if they keep a smaller team on outer worlds 2 until avowed is done that they can shift people over. Alternate between the two games.

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I think it’s great MS let’s them do this. There were enough rumblings, that the team was pretty burned out after PoE2 and especially its sales performance. So instead of forcing them to work on something specific - and probably losing a lot of talent that way - they let them pursue their passion projects. Grounded shows, that this is a good strategy for everyone involved.

Another project is amazing…wonder if it’ll be more in the style of a cRPG

I highly doubt that. PoE2 is probably the absolute best you can achieve in this genre, and it sadly didn’t have the commercial success it deserved.

As much as I adore cRPG’s, let them do what they want.

Edit: Seems to be a historical RPG a la Darklands.

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So many projects at Obsidian and I love it. Letting studios organize themselves around creative leaders must have been the greatest decision Ms ever did regarding their 1st party.

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Man Obsidian looks like the steal of the century right now. Xbox is gonna be a major RPG factory for years to come.

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This is great. Josh Sawyer is really damned talented. He was an important lead on Fallout Vegas and currently I’m enjoying this world he built in Pillars. All good with him leading a small team. It will likely be quality even if it’s not AAA in production values.

I believe there’s some advantages to cohesion and being able to take chances with these smaller teams. They can always throw more people at projects or outsource if a game looks special and the devs want to go bigger. I expect Obsidian will be using a lot of contract work in full production for Avowed. The territory that The Initiative, Obsidian, Inxile and Double Fine reside in is a huge contractor market and projects can scale up quickly.

Maybe, but there are teams which need someone else giving them a pace, a strong focus. Based on that long article about Anthem, the studio seems to have lost most of these things. If the article is true, the game was just a bunch of cool ideas put together and nothing else.

Yes, but studios also usually open temporary positions for games when needed.

They are probably going to contract out a ton of work to outside studios.

I came here to say this. :bosmanright: