Fallout: New Vegas

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Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas box art
European cover art
Developer(s) Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks (US, UK, JP, ROI)
Namco Bandai Games (EU, AU, NZ)[1]
Director(s) Josh Sawyer
Producer(s) Mikey Dowling
Matt Singh
Jason Fader
Designer(s) Josh Sawyer
John Gonzalez
Charles Staples
Programmer(s) Frank Kowalkowski
Artist(s) Joseph A. Sanabria
Brian Menze
Mark Bremerkamp
Writer(s) John Gonzalez
Chris Avellone
Eric Fenstermaker
Composer(s) Inon Zur[2]
Mark Morgan[3][4]
Series Fallout
Engine Gamebryo
Havok (physics engine)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360[5]
Release date(s)
  • JP November 4, 2010
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Blu-ray Disc, DVD, digital distribution

Fallout: New Vegas is an action role-playing video game in the Fallout video game series. The game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published in October 2010 by Bethesda Softworks for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Downloadable content and expanded re-editions followed in 2010-2012.

The game is based in a post-apocalyptic, open world environment around the area of Nevada, California, and Arizona. The player takes control of the character known as the Courier, who is hired by a delivery service to take an unknown package across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas Strip but is intercepted, shot in the head, and left for dead by a mysterious man who steals the package. After being found by a friendly local robot, Victor, and healed by a man named Doc Mitchell, the Courier is thrust back into the desert to seek revenge and recover the stolen package. By doing this, the player becomes caught between various factions competing for control over the desert and its most valuable asset, the Hoover Dam, ultimately coming to shape the future of its inhabitants.

Even though it directly succeeds Fallout 3 in order of Fallout game releases, offers a similar action role-playing experience, and shares its engine and some legacy content with Fallout 3, New Vegas is not a direct sequel. It marks the return of some elements found in Fallout 2. The game was a critical and commercial success, shipping more than five million copies altogether.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of first-person view mode real-time combat gameplay. Similar to Fallout 3, the player's perspective in New Vegas can be also seen from a third-person view

Obsidian Entertainment presents new features and improvements in Fallout: New Vegas that are implemented upon the foundation of Fallout 3. For example, the original Fallout 3 version of the Gamebryo engine was reworked to accommodate the extra lights and effects of the Las Vegas Strip.

The game's combat is centered around the "Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System" feature, or "V.A.T.S.", which is from Fallout 3 with the addition of several new V.A.T.S.-specific attacks.[8][9] Use of certain melee weapons trigger unique animations. Additions are new weapons, a weapon modification system, a better over-the-shoulder view for third-person combat and the ability to use the iron sights on almost all guns except several larger weapons that are shot from the hip.[10] The game allows firearm modifications such as mounted telescopic sights, rate of fire modifiers and increased magazine size.[10] Crafting also plays a role in weaponry, with the ability to make ammunition such as hand-loaded rounds. A plant-harvesting system similar to that of The Elder Scrolls series allows the player to use plants to create special meals, poisons, and medicines.

The quantity of factions prompted developers to reintroduce the reputation system that was absent in Fallout 3.[11] The degree of faction loyalty influences the player's reputation with that faction,[11] which affects the behavior of the faction's non-player characters (NPCs) toward the player and reflects the impact of selected choices in the world.[11] Karma is also a factor and is independent of faction reputation. For example, the player can rob a faction member, lowering their karma, but leaving their reputation unchanged provided the faction does not learn of the robbery. Character attributes, skills, reputation and karma affect dialog options with NPCs. Skills have a larger effect on conversation choices.[9] Whether a dialogue option will succeed or fail is shown up front, and entirely dependent on skill level, rather than both skill and chance as in Fallout 3.[9]

Companion behavior and tasks are controlled using the new "Companion Wheel", removing the need to enter conversation to give commands. The new Companion Wheel offers command execution by selecting commands that are presented in a radial menu. Game director Josh Sawyer has stated that the Companion Wheel offers ease of companion interaction.[11] Examples of companion commands include setting and changing combat tactics, default behavior towards foes and usage frequency of available resources. The player can have one humanoid and one non-humanoid companion at the same time, and receives a unique perk, or unique advantage, per companion. These companions can be upgraded if the player completes a special quest related to the companion.

In New Vegas, the player can visit casinos to participate in minigames to win currency, including blackjack, slots, and roulette.[12] A card game called Caravan, which was designed specifically for the game, can be played outside of the casinos.[13]

Hardcore mode[edit]

An optional Hardcore mode[14] delivers more realism and intensity to the playing environment. This mode differs from the game's adjustable difficulty level settings that change only the combat difficulty; it adds new statistics and encourages the player to make careful consideration of resource management and combat tactics. Gameplay difficulty is increased in several ways. Stimpaks and other healing items, including food and water, do not heal the player instantly, but work over a short period of time. RadAway also decreases radiation poisoning gradually, rather than instantly. Stimpaks cannot heal crippled limbs; use of a Doctor's Bag, sleeping on an owned or rented bed, using the chem Hydra, or going to a doctor is required. Ammunition has also gained weight value. The player's character must eat, drink, and sleep to avoid starvation, dehydration and exhaustion. Skills decrease in four stages with each illness until the fifth stage resulting in death;[15] When companions are reduced to zero hit points, they are killed, rather than losing consciousness.

Sawyer stated that the mode was inspired by several different Fallout 3 mods.[16] An achievement (Xbox 360[17]/Steam[18]) or trophy (PlayStation 3)[19] is awarded for completing the game on Hardcore mode.

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

Fallout: New Vegas takes place during the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3, and 204 years after the Great War of 2077. The city of former Las Vegas (now called "New Vegas") and its surroundings are divided between various factions, but there are three major powers competing for control of the region: The New California Republic (NCR), Caesar's Legion, and Mr. House. The NCR's military, returning from Fallout 2, is now overextended and mismanaged, but controls the majority of territories in the Mojave. The slave-driving, Roman army-styled Caesar's Legion, formed by its leader, Caesar, conquered and united 86 tribes and now plans to conquer New Vegas. Mr. House, the mysterious businessman, controls New Vegas with an army of "Securitron" security robots. There are other factions and groups: there are the Boomers, a tribe of heavily armed vault dwellers who have taken shelter at Nellis Air Force Base; the Powder Gangers, violent groups of escaped convicts; the Great Khans, a tribe of drug dealers and raiders; and the Brotherhood of Steel, technology-craving remnants of the U.S. Army who are attempting to secure any heavy weapons that could cause significant harm. Landmarks featured in Fallout: New Vegas are the Hoover Dam, which supplies power to the New Vegas,[9] Nellis Air Force Base and the HELIOS One solar energy plant.[14]

Story[edit]

The game places the player in the role of a courier working for the Mojave Express, being simply known as "the Courier". While delivering a package known only as "the Platinum Chip" to New Vegas, the Courier is ambushed by Benny (voiced by Matthew Perry), a mobster and owner of the Tops Casino in New Vegas, who steals the package and leaves the player for dead after shooting him/her in the head. A robot named Victor witnesses the shooting and brings the courier to Doc Mitchell (voiced by Michael Hogan) in Goodsprings.[9] At this point, the player enters into character creation and defines the Courier's skills, attributes, name, gender, age and appearance. These stats are listed as the players S.P.E.C.I.A.L. traits. Although traumatized, the player begins their journey tracking down Benny to avenge the attack and recover the stolen package, all while exploring the Mojave Wasteland at their free will.[11]

The game proceeds according to the player's decisions and involves many different events, factions, and characters, but the main storyline follows the player's pursuit of Benny to both settle the score and retrieve the Platinum Chip. Eventually, after finding Benny and the Chip, the Courier finds his/herself in the middle of a conflict between three major factions: Caesar's Legion, a group of Roman-esque slavers, the New California Republic (NCR), an expansionist militia government, and Mr. House (voiced by René Auberjonois), the enigmatic de facto ruler of New Vegas, in command of an army of Securitron robots. Each of the three sides aim to control the Hoover Dam, which is still operational and supplying the Southwest with power and clean, non-irradiated water; thus, control of the dam means effective control of the region. It is revealed that Mr. House, a human from before the Great War and surviving via a contained life support chamber, ordered the Platinum Chip's delivery before the war. The Chip is a data storage device with a program that can upgrade the Securitrons to a greater level of combat effectiveness, and was stolen by Benny as part of a scheme to take over House's security and claim New Vegas for himself with the help of a reprogrammed Securitron: Yes Man.

The player has the option to pursue one of four paths: fighting for Caesar, the NCR, Mr. House, or taking up Benny's plans to take New Vegas for their own with Yes Man's assistance. After a line of quests where the player deals with outsider factions to determine their role in the looming battle, the player is notified that Caesar's Legion is attacking Hoover Dam, and they must take part to decide the outcome. As the Legion strikes the Dam, led by the fearsome Legate Lanius, the NCR defends its position under General Lee Oliver. Depending on the faction sided with up to the battle, the player will either conquer the Dam for Caesar's Legion, defend it for the NCR, connect the dam's systems to House's network so either he or Yes Man can take control, or destroy the dam for good to bring an end to the war over it. The game concludes with a slideshow showing the results of the player's actions, the battle for Hoover Dam deciding the faction that comes to power over New Vegas and the Mojave, and the fates of the various other factions based on how the player negotiated with them and which of the major factions emerged dominant.

Development[edit]

Promotion of the game at E3 2010

In 2004, Bethesda Softworks purchased the license to develop and publish Fallout 3, as well as an option to create two sequels, from Interplay Entertainment.[20] Three years later they bought the entire Fallout IP.[21] Bethesda abandoned the original gameplay style of previous Fallout titles; instead of an isometric game with action point/turn-based combat, Bethesda's Fallout 3 was a fully 3D game with real-time combat as well as the action point-based V.A.T.S. system.[22][23][24]

Fallout 3 was a critical and commercial success upon its release in 2008,[22] and Bethesda commissioned a sequel. With their own developers busy working on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Bethesda reached out to Obsidian Entertainment, a company founded by several former members of Interplay's original Fallout developers Black Isle Studios, to develop the game. Bethesda and Obsidian decided to create a game that would continue the "West Coast" story rather than the plot of Fallout 3.[22][25] Bethesda rejected Obsidian's idea to set the game between the events of Fallout 2 and Fallout 3, but they did approve of setting the game in Las Vegas.[25][26]

Fallout: New Vegas was first announced in April 2009.[27] Obsidian's development team included former Interplay/Black Isle employees Josh Sawyer as director and Chris Avellone as a writer and director of the game's DLC add-ons.[16][28] The plot of New Vegas takes heavy inspiration from the original Fallout 3 that Black Isle developed, commonly known by its codename "Van Buren,"[29] which Sawyer also directed prior to its cancellation.[30] The most notable example is the inclusion of Caesar's Legion, a faction originally created for Van Buren.[29][31] Obsidian also included other factions from previous Fallout games and avoided writing any faction as entirely good or evil, but instead as potential rivals depending on what path the player decided to pursue.[29][31]

The game had a somewhat short development cycle of 18 months.[32] New Vegas is technically very similar to Fallout 3: both games use the Gamebryo engine, and New Vegas reuses Fallout 3's source code, with some graphic rendering improvements, and art assets.[31][33] Obsidian also refined the real-time shooting mechanics and added iron-sights aiming to make playing without V.A.T.S. a more viable option than it was in Fallout 3.[30][34] The PC version of the game uses Steamworks for online functions, such as achievements and cloud save storage, as well as DRM.[35]

Producer Jason Bergman announced the involvement of several celebrities, including Ron Perlman as the game's ever-present narrator and Wayne Newton as radio DJ "Mr. New Vegas".[36] He also confirmed that the game would include voice acting from Matthew Perry, Zachary Levi, Kris Kristofferson, Danny Trejo, Michael Dorn and Felicia Day. The game established the new record for the most lines of dialogue in a single-player action role-playing game. The game contains around 65,000 lines of dialogue, beating its predecessor and previous record holder Fallout 3 which contained 40,000 lines of dialogue.[37]

Fallout 3 composer Inon Zur composed the score for the game.[2] The game features three major in-game radio stations, spanning several genres of music in the radio waves: сountry, popular music from the 1940s and 1950s, jazz and classical. Each station has a set tracklist which repeats randomly.[38] Music from the first two Fallout games, composed by Mark Morgan, is used in the game as well.[3][4]

On February 4, 2010, Obsidian Entertainment released the Fallout: New Vegas teaser trailer. A second trailer was first shown on GameTrailers from E3 on June 11, 2010.[39]

Release[edit]

Promotion at IgroMir 2010

Bethesda announced four pre-order bonus packs giving specific in-game items, they include the "Classic", "Tribal", "Caravan" and "Mercenary" packs available when pre-ordering at specific outlets,[40] all of the listed pre-order packs were later made available for purchase on September 27, 2011. The Collector's Edition was revealed on May 11, 2010.[41] It was distributed worldwide and is available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.[41] Its enclosed contents include seven real clay poker chips from the Fallout: New Vegas casinos, a deck of cards each with a character on them with information on that person, a graphic novel leading up to the events of New Vegas, a Lucky 38 large platinum chip replica, and a making-of documentary.[41]

Within hours of the game's release on October 19, 2010, players of Fallout: New Vegas began reporting a variety of technical issues (saved games becoming corrupted, the game freezing, players becoming stuck within the terrain, and random NPCs appearing behind the player, initiating combat out of context).[42][43] Bethesda Game Studios stated that they, in conjunction with Obsidian, were actively working on an update for release "as soon as possible" to address in-game issues. They also urged customers to keep their copies of New Vegas rather than return them to stores, stating that providing the best possible experience to their users was a priority.

Within a week of the original release, a patch was available for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, which contained over 200 quest and scripting-related fixes.[44] The update released on December 14, 2010, has fixed further glitches and save game problems, including companion related bugs.[45] Subsequent updates were released in February and April that corrected numerous bugs and gameplay issues. A patch was released on July 5, 2011, that included a provision that automatically creates a save prior to the endgame sequence. After credits, the user is prompted to load this save game, allowing single save players to play DLC without creating a new game.[46] Additional to the official patches the user community started to create community patches to fix remaining issues.[47] Even two years after the last official patch the community identifies and fixes bugs left, the latest iteration of Mission Mojave which includes all former patches, has reached a number of 27,000 fixed bugs.[48]

The game engine has had major performance issues on the PlayStation 3. These issues have led to unplayable frame-rates when the save game file gets too big or when DLC is installed. Due to the nature of the game, the longer the player plays, the larger the save file becomes. These same issues plagued The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but a performance patch to improve New Vegas seems unlikely. Sawyer said that it is a core-engine issue that can not be so easily patched.[49][50]

Downloadable content[edit]

On October 18, 2010 Bethesda Softworks announced that downloadable content (DLC) would be available for New Vegas, in keeping with its predecessor Fallout 3. The total of six add-on packs have been released. Six add-on packs, available as downloadable content (DLC), have been released. The four story add-ons, Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road, are standalone adventures, but collectively tie together to form a greater story. Overall, the player's level cap is increased by 20, starting at 30 and up to 50 with all add-ons installed.

Dead Money
In the first add-on pack was released for the Xbox 360 on December 21, 2010[51][52] and for PlayStation 3 and PC (via Steam) on February 22, 2011.[53][54] In Dead Money, the Courier is captured by an insane ex-Brotherhood of Steel leader known as Father Elijah and must work alongside three[51] other captives to find the fabled treasure of the Sierra Madre Casino, concealed from the world by a deadly toxic cloud.[51] The pack adds new achievements/trophies, new weapons, perks, terrain, enemies and decisions for the player,[51][52] as well as raising the level cap by 5.[51] It is the only of the four story add-ons that cannot be revisited after the completion of its main questline.[55]
Honest Hearts
The second pack was released on May 17, 2011 on Xbox Live and Steam and June 2, 2011 on the PlayStation Network due to the April—May outage.[56] In Honest Hearts, the Courier takes part in an expedition to Utah's Zion National Park, when they are attacked by tribal raiders.[57] While trying to return to the Mojave, the player becomes involved in conflicts between the tribes and between a "New Canaanite" missionary and an individual known as the "Burned Man", Caesar's former Legate, who, after losing the first battle of Hoover Dam, was covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon.[57] The pack adds new achievements/trophies, perks, terrain, items, enemies and decisions for the player, as well as raising the level cap by 5.
Old World Blues
In Old World Blues, the Courier unwittingly becomes a lab rat in a science experiment gone awry and discovers how some of the Mojave's mutated creatures and dangerous technology came to exist. Old World Blues takes place in the Pre-War research centers of Big Mountain, known colloquially as "the Big Empty" or "Big MT". The player can also choose to either turn on their kidnappers or join with them to fight an even greater threat.[58] This pack offers new achievements/trophies, perks, a vast area to explore, and raises the level cap by 5 like the previous two packs. Old World Blues was released on July 19, 2011.[59]
Lonesome Road
In Lonesome Road, the Courier is contacted by Ulysses, an ex-legionary who, upon seeing the Courier's name on a list of possible deliverers, refused to deliver the Platinum Chip that was ultimately responsible for the Courier's attempted murder.[58] Ulysses was a character whose involvement in the story had been hinted since New Vegas' initial release, and Lonesome Road concludes his story, as well as that of the Courier.[60] Initially, Lonesome Road was planned to be released in August 2011; however, the add-on was delayed until September 20 for unspecified reasons.[60][61]
Gun Runners' Arsenal and Courier's Stash
On September 27, 2011,[62] Bethesda released two content packs titled Gun Runners' Arsenal and Courier's Stash.[60][62] Gun Runners' Arsenal adds various new weapons and weapon mods (along with new ammo types) to the game, which can be found throughout the game world.[60][62] Courier's Stash contains all bonus content that was previously only available for pre-ordering the game (the "Caravan Pack", "Classic Pack", "Mercenary Pack" and "Tribal Pack").[60][62]

Ultimate Edition[edit]

On November 3, 2011, Bethesda announced Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition, which includes the game, all of its downloadable content and the Gun Runners' Arsenal and Courier's Stash content. It was released worldwide throughout February 2012.[63]

J.E. Sawyer's mod[edit]

On December 29, 2011, Fallout: New Vegas director Josh "J.E." Sawyer released an unofficial mod for the PC version. The mod adjusts the maximum level to 35, halves the rate of increase in player experience points, reduces base player health, reduces the base weight a player can carry, defines certain characters as good or evil rather than neutral, and makes various other adjustments. These are changes that Sawyer wanted included in the game, but they were not released as an official update. This mod requires the Mod Manager, all add-on packs, and all pre-order bonus packs to work.[64][65]

Reception[edit]

Fallout: New Vegas
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 84.23%[66]
(X360) 83.80%[67]
(PS3) 83.44%[68]
Metacritic (PC) 84/100[69]
(X360) 84/100[70]
(PS3) 82/100[71]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B[72]
Edge 6/10[76]
Eurogamer 9/10[75]
G4 4/5 stars [78]
Game Informer 8.5/10 (Xbox 360)[81]
GamePro 4.5/5 stars[79]
GameSpot 7.5/10 (360/PS3)
8.5/10 (PC)[77]
GameSpy 4.5/5 stars[80]
IGN 8.5/10 (US) (360/PS3)[73]
9/10 (PC; US/UK)[74]
Official Xbox Magazine 9.5/10[82]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 9/10[83]
PC Gamer UK 84%[84]
Awards
Publication Award
IGN Most Bang for Your Buck of 2010[85]
Golden Joystick Award RPG of the Year 2011[86]

Fallout: New Vegas has received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the gameplay improvements and expanded content over Fallout 3, while criticizing familiarity and technical issues. As of November 8, 2010, the game had shipped 5 million copies worldwide,[87] achieving revenue of $300 million.[88]

IGN's Keza MacDonald praised the game's script, but criticized the character models and facial animation as "wooden and unbelievable".[73][74] Eurogamer commented that "Obsidian has created a totally compelling world and its frustrations pale into insignificance compared to the immersive, obsessive experience on offer. Just like the scorched scenery that provides its epic backdrop, New Vegas is huge and sprawling, sometimes gaudy, even downright ugly at times – but always effortlessly, shamelessly entertaining."[75] According to GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd, the game's "familiar rhythm will delight fans of the series, and the huge world, expansive quests, and hidden pleasures will have [the players] itching to see what other joys you might uncover. However, as time wears on, the constant glitches invade almost every element of the game and eventually grow wearisome."[77]

Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann reviewed Fallout: New Vegas for the Xbox 360 positively, despite its many crash bugs and glitches. Gerstmann wrote: "When I reflect on the experience, I'll probably think about the times the game locked up on me or broke in a dozen other crazy ways first, before thinking about the great world and the objectives that fill it. If you were able to look past the issues that plagued Fallout 3 and Oblivion before it, New Vegas will eventually show you a real good time."[89] 1UP.com's Mike Nelson wrote "On one hand, it feels like I can recommend this to any fan of the Fallout series. I single these fans out because they're willing to forgive silly bugs like meeting characters who walk into walls or occasionally float in mid-air. These fans realize that the game as a whole is greater than the sum of minor graphical anomalies. On the other hand, I simply can't ignore or forgive the game for crashing on me when I walk around the Mojave Wasteland; or for quests that simply can't be completed because of a game glitch; or for making my companions disappear when I need them the most during a battle. These are some of the most frustrating bugs I have ever encountered with any game, especially when attached to a series that I deeply enjoy."[72]

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