Obsidian Entertainment design director Josh Sawyer has shared his thoughts on video game leaks. Here is one of the biggest issues with them from a developer’s perspective.

One of the biggest issues with video game leaks, according to Pentiment director Josh Sawyer

Sawyer recalled on Twitter how Pentiment‘s existence was leaked before the official announcement. This happened in November 2021 when journalist and insider Jeff Grubb spilled some details about Project Missouri from Obsidian.

Described as a “murder mystery RPG,” the game was said to have been inspired by Disco Elysium. Although Sawyer, as the project’s director, knew that this wasn’t true, he couldn’t prove to some irate users online how wrong they were.

Sawyer noted that he never intended to make Pentiment similar to Disco Elysium in terms of writing and other elements. “Very frustrating to not be able to defend yourself against assertions made up ex nihilo,” he wrote.

This brings us to one of the biggest issues with video game leaks, according to Sawyer. It is that players can say whatever they want to say, coming to different conclusions based on the leaked information. Developers, on the other hand, are “not in a position, legally and often creatively, to make definitive statements against that narrative.”

Josh Sawyer was among many game developers who supported Rockstar Games after the infamous GTA VI leak. “Pentiment misinfo leaked and we’re still undoing that damage. And that leak was tiny,” he wrote, also saying that “it’s incredibly demoralizing and disruptive for the team.”

Pentiment was officially announced in June and came out in November 2022 for PC and Xbox. The game received positive reviews from critics, with an average Metascore of 86-88/100 based on the platform.

Sawyer also noted that this small project owes its existence to Game Pass. “My thinking for this title specifically is that it is for a small audience that is into the idea of the game, and as long as this audience is into it, even if it is very small, that’s probably fine,” he said. “Especially on Game Pass, where people can download it, play it for five minutes, and stop playing it, that’s okay. They didn’t buy the game. That is a very different prospect than asking people to spend $20-50 on something, and they are getting furious and disappointed because some part of it is not what they wanted.”

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