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Josh Sawyer Interview
Interview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Mon 26 September 2011, 13:32:00Tags: Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment
After his extensive interview with MCA Will Ooi turns his attention to Josh Sawyer.
WO: The information available about you on the net tells us that, having completed a history major and participating in theatre, you then became a game designer. How did this happen and how did you make the decision to pursue this career path? Who and what has influenced you?
JS: The transition from college to game development was stroke of luck. I was a bad student in college. I don’t mean that in the “zany Val Kilmer Real Genius” way, but in the way that a lazy wastrel who plays video games and tabletop RPGs all day is a bad student. A friend of mine noticed that Interplay was hiring a web designer for an unannounced RPG. I had taught myself a bunch of web design (including Flash) and was a freelance web developer, so I fired over a resume. Apparently my absurdly long cover letter and knowledge of Flash were the keys to success. I was the second choice of about sixty applicants. The first pick decided to follow his girlfriend to Seattle.
As for how I became interested in game design, it probably started with my first introduction to CRPGs. At a public library, I saw an older kid playing the original Bard’s Tale on a C=64. I was mesmerized. The older kid, Tony Unate, introduced me to a wide array of CRPGs as well as AD&D. I had already played Basic and Expert D&D, but AD&D is when the obsession truly took flight. Tony and I and our mutual friends debated a lot of the finer points of game design, both in CRPGs and in tabletop games. We sector edited games, modified board games, and altered RPG rules to suit our tastes and sensibilities.
When I got to college, I started playing a wider range of tabletop games with a diverse group of gamers of varying backgrounds. We did a lot of customization and system development along the way. That process of critical analysis and revision made me interested in game development, though I always envisioned myself getting into tabletop design.