Yes, Sawyer and others are TB fans from the get-go (one of Sawyer's dream projects is a TB RPG set in a historical setting similar to Darklands). Arguably you can tell in some of their system design as was already (same as Sawyer isn't really a fan of class based systems). Can't remember much outcry really, but then I stay clear of these kinda threads... mostly.
But Sawyer has also said very clearly that he doesn't believe Obsidian (unlike certain other studios) will ever walk away from making RTwP games in the future because he acknowledges there are a lot of fans of RTwP, that there is a market for those games, and that RTwP can be a fun system for combat in RPGs. Furthermore, in a more recent post he also said there are many devs including senior devs (not himself) at Obsidian who are very interested in returning to the PoE franchise at some point in the future once they've had a chance to do some other things first.