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The New Obsidian: Josh Sawyer promoted to studio Design Director role

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The New Obsidian: Josh Sawyer promoted to studio Design Director role

People News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 18 April 2016, 14:27:54

Tags: J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment

It's gradually becoming apparent just how much Obsidian have changed over the past couple of years. Following on the heels of Leonard Boyarsky's recruitment comes news that some Codexers will find less welcome. In an off-handed remark on Twitter the other night, project director and balancer-in-chief Josh Sawyer revealed that he'd been promoted to the role of studio "Design Director", giving him a measure of authority over all of Obsidian's current and future games. I asked him yesterday what exactly that means:

Congratulations on your promotion. Does it actually mean anything, though?

It means I’m responsible for helping with overall design direction at the studio. I’ve always talked to designers on other teams about their work, but now it’s part of my job. I talk to individual designers at all levels about challenges they’re facing and what they’re trying to accomplish. I also talk to producers and game directors about high-level design direction and focus. I try to play our games regularly to give feedback on specific issues I come across as well as areas where a team is doing well. I help review all incoming design applications and sit in on as many design interviews as is reasonable.

Currently I’m revising and updating old documentation that covers basic design principles that Obsidian has used and continues to use in our games. Obsidian is a lot larger now than it was ten years ago. Tribal knowledge only goes so far and all standards documentation needs to be regularly reviewed.
According to resident Obsidian expert Duraframe300, the described role is largely analogous to Chris Avellone's former one as Creative Director, although I assume under Sawyer's tenure it will have less of a narrative focus. It's a new era, all right - when I joked about "Avellonesidian" and "Sawyersidian" last year, I never imagined things would play out so literally. But don't worry, it doesn't mean that Josh won't have time to lead development on the next Pillars of Eternity game.

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