All of these comments merely serve to point out that Sawyer is right to be hesitant. So many conflicting views and opinions with no means to verify which ones may be meaningful and which ones are irrelevant to sales numbers. The same goes for the negative or critical user reviews too. They all point in multiple different directions, contradicting one another or even themselves.
It's important to realize that the game has had a positive reception. Critics were more favorable about Deadfire than about PoE 1. Meanwhile user reviews are about equal between the two. So it seems rather unlikely that Deadfire's reception is why it would perform worse. Instead, external factors seem more likely. Some that I think might be relevant:
Perhaps the first game wasn't as well liked as Obsidian expected or the Steam user reviews indicated. Deadfire's crowdfunding campaign already had fewer backers than the first game did. And there were clearly plenty of reasons to be critical of the first game, even if overall you enjoyed the experience. In my opinion it always came across as less than the sum of its parts. I liked a lot of the components individually, but the game never grabbed me. Largely due to the unfocused and glacially paced narrative. As well as the emphasis on quantity over quality of content. The DLC did the opposite in those regards and were the best parts of the game for me.
The change in publishers may also have been a factor. The first game received a lot of attention at release, was shown at PDXcon, and got plenty of coverage from influential streamers and youtubers. Deadfire did not. It's hard to make a purchasing decision if you don't know the game exists.
Technical issues may have prevented people from playing it too, particularly after the first game changed and improved so much after all the patching. I still haven't played Deadfire through once, because I postponed my on-release playthrough due to major technical issues (and then DLC releases). Technical issues like imported save game states not being handled correctly or encounters not firing properly were all the talk of both Steam and Obsidian forums. Most of this has been fixed by now, but some other issues still haven't been. The game still has performance problems on high thread count CPUs that can only be circumvented by means of hooking into the game with modded DirectX libraries.
Yet these are again just possible factors. There's no way to know if they actually contributed meaningfully to poor sales or are just valid-sounding ideas but weren't actually meaningful in reality. They can't really base a sequel on any of this, or anyone else's comments here, without very extensive additional market research. Particularly since it's very likely that none of us commenting here are the average RPG consumer. So if you have this idea that it's "simple": you're wrong.
As for RTwP: almost certainly not a meaningful factor. The average RPG consumer doesn't care. Never forget that Dragon Age 2, an abomination of a RPG with the single worst RTwP implementation in the history of RPGs, sold amazingly well. And then Inquisition after it still sold well regardless! Moreover, Deadfire does have a turn-based mode now and even its positive reception clearly hasn't improved sales figures meaningfully.