It looks like Obsidian is pretty busy now that it's under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella. It's just launched the Early Access version of Grounded (opens in new tab), its spider-infested survival game, and just last month it unveiled—albeit only in cinematic form—Avowed (opens in new tab), its first-person RPG. The Outer Worlds is due some big DLC (opens in new tab), too, coming next month. And now it turns out that it's got at least one more project on the go.
Studio design director Josh Sawyer, who led the development of Fallout: New Vegas and both Pillars of Eternity games, recently posted an explanation of his role on his Tumblr (opens in new tab). In the post, he writes about meetings with design directors, providing feedback and lots of management tasks, but nothing about working on his own game.
In response to the post, someone expressed sadness that Sawyer wasn't directing his own project (cheers, ResetEra (opens in new tab)), but he clarified that he actually is—it's just not Avowed.
I am directing my own project now (it's just not Avowed).August 5, 2020
What a tease. Aside from being a first-person fantasy RPG set in the world of Pillars of Eternity, we don't know much about Avowed, but I would have considered Sawyer a safe bet for game director, given both his experience with the series and the fact that he's already led the design of one celebrated first-person RPG.
Another RPG is likely, though. While Obsidian has expanded into co-op survival games with Grounded, Sawyer's spent the last 20 years designing RPGs—but who knows? Maybe he fancies a change.
What it probably won't be is Pillars of Eternity 3. Pillars 2 didn't sell well, and Sawyer said Obsidian would probably have to "re-examine the entire format of the game (opens in new tab)." That's likely why we're getting Avowed instead of another isometric romp that directly continues from Pillars 2.