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For other characters in the Fallout universe named Joshua, see Joshua.
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Joshua Eric "Josh" 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)Edit

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)Edit

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)Edit

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 canceled 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." Sawyer was made the project director and lead designer on Pillars of Eternity, a role-playing game inspired by classic computer role-playing games from the late 1990s.

Employment historyEdit

Mar 1999Nov 2003Black Isle Studios
Nov 2003July 2005Midway Home Entertainment
July 2005PresentObsidian Entertainment


Fallout seriesEdit

YearTitleCredited as/for
2003Van BurenLead Designer
2004J.E. Sawyer's Fallout RPGCreator
2010Fallout: New VegasLead Designer
Project Director
Additional songs
2010Dead MoneyWeapon Design
2011Honest HeartsProject Director
2011Old World BluesWeapon Design
2011Lonesome RoadWeapon Design
2011Gun Runners' ArsenalProject Director

Other workEdit

YearTitleCredited as/for
1999Planescape: TormentWeb Master
2000Icewind DaleDesigner
2002Icewind Dale IILead Designer
2006Neverwinter Nights 2Design Lead
2007Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the BetrayerAdditional Design
2010Alpha ProtocolAdditional Design
2015Pillars of EternityLead Designer
Project Director
2015Pillars of Eternity: The White MarchLead Designer
Project Director
2018Pillars of Eternity II: DeadfireProject Director

Behind the scenesEdit

While at Black Isle Studios, Sawyer mentioned several times that he'd like to make a Fallout: Resource Wars spin-off.


External linksEdit

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