J.E. Sawyer Social Interview, Continued

A bunch of interesting questions regarding New Vegas have been fired to project director Josh Sawyer through his Formspring account since the game's release, discussing bugs and the game's reception.
Has Obsidian considered the possibility of working on smaller and more focused project? No offense, because I REALLY like your games, but it's painfully clear at this point that you don't have the manpower and expertise to work on AAA projects.

I'd love to work on smaller games, but ultimately I don't determine what projects the company undertakes.

Happy Birthday Josh! May New Vegas be your most successful project ever! That said, there's something I wanted to ask: does your reputation (as in Obsidian's) as 'great writers but poor programmers' feel like a burden on your shoulders?

I think our programmers often have to deal with incredible stress and very difficult problems for which there often are no easy solutions. They also often get blamed for bugs that are not their fault, which is even worse. They aren't recognized for the work they do and they are blamed for work for which they were never responsible. That's pretty crummy.

Rockpapershotgun made a pretty personal attack on Obsidian in their (terrible) New Vegas review. It's just one example of poor gaming journalism which in my mind is pretty rampant right now in this industry. As a dev, does it concern you?

Not really. I guess there are really two things to examine in the review. The first are the implications of laziness and/or incompetence. Those implications are irrelevant; Fallout: New Vegas is what's being reviewed, not Obsidian. Additionally, I and the other people on the team know what level of effort we put into the game. People not involved with the development of the game, whether reviewers or endusers, do not.

The second issue is the state of the game. That is the point of the review and the reviewer's comments seem as fair as anyone else's.

The writing in New Vegas is truly exemplary, kudos to you and your team, but that seems to not get mentioned in many reviews. I posted some forum comments to that effect and was basically told writing doesn't matter to a lot of people in games. Agree?

Writing absolutely does not matter to a lot of people playing games. This is something I've accepted for a long time. For a lot of RPG players, game mechanics really don't matter. They will gladly march through a game that they hate if they enjoy the writing and story.