About: FallOut: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas is a role-playing video game in the Fallout series, currently in development by Obsidian Entertainment and scheduled for release in Q4 2010 (holiday season 2010).

Fallout: New Vegas is not a sequel to Fallout 3. Rather, it is an entirely new game. The game will offer a role-playing experience similar to what was seen in Fallout 3. The events in the game follow three years after Fallout 3; however, no characters from that game will appear.

Background on FallOut: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas will take place in 2280, 3 years after Fallout 3 and 203 years after the Great War of 2077, making this installment the chronologically latest in the series thus far.
The game is set in post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, Nevada, bringing the series back to its West Coast roots. However, the city was not struck directly by a nuclear attack like most other American cities in the Fallout universe, resulting in less damage to the city and the degree of mutation of its inhabitants to be minimal, though in a recent preview by OXMOnline it can be noted that the writer describes the city of Las Vegas as a “near decimated” ruin. The Las Vegas of the Fallout time line was unlike the one that is known today. In the divergent timeline Vegas didn’t become the decadent gambling capital that we know it as today, rather it remained as the holiday resort that it was in the 50’s; with the Teaser Trailer showing several large high rise building, perhaps once being hotels or casinos.
The city is divided between two main opposing factions: the New California Republic (NCR), based in the McCarran Airport, and Caesar’s Legion, a slaver group based on the decaying Las Vegas Strip, with factions such as The Brotherhood of Steel and the Supermutants of the state of Utolbitha playing a secondary role. Landmarks to be featured in Fallout: New Vegas include the Hoover Dam, which is active and supplying power to the city, the Lucky 38 hotel; a structure which resembles the real life Stratosphere Las Vegas hotel and casino, and the Helios One solar energy plant; the Fallout world’s take on The Solar Project, with the effects of the divergent timeline having a profound effect on this particular locale.
The game centers around the player’s main character known as ‘the Courier,’ who has been nearly killed by an unknown assailant and left in a shallow grave. After being discovered in the grave by a TV robot named Victor, the Courier is patched up by a ‘Doctor Mitchell’ in the nearby town of Goodsprings. At this point the player allocates skill points, chooses their name, sex, age,and appearance, before embarking upon their quest to find out who had tried to kill them, and why.

Gameplay:

  • Combat

The V.A.T.S system returns from Fallout 3 with some new features, including special attacks that can be used when the character strikes or shoots with most melee weapons, explosives, guns etc, at the expense of additional action points. Once such example is that of the weapon “9-Iron” ;an actual golf club which has seen better days, which special attack, dubbed “Fore!”, involves the player attacking their opponent with the club in a presumably unique animation which sends the enemy reeling for a period.  The player’s companions can be commanded with a series of different orders to follow, stay, change attack stance or use a healing item, for example.

  • Karma and Reputation

The game will feature a reputation system that gauges the animosity between the player and each faction similar to Fallout 2 which will have a direct effect on game play. An example of the reputation system in effect is if the town of Goodsprings is indebted to the player for their actions they may offer a free bed as well as a discount at the local general store to them, whereas if the player chooses to harass the town’s folk and commit various acts which result in low karma a negative reputation will result causing the residents to have a hostile demeanor and ultimately attack the player. The Karma system from Fallout 3, that displays the alignment of the player between good and evil, also makes a comeback.

  • Dialogue

Conversations between the player and non-playing characters (NPCs) may include different options based on the player’s skill values; a new dialogue option may be displayed if the player’s speech skill is high enough. Dialogue can also help raise reputations with certain factions or individual characters, which may lead to unique events in the game. For example, during the quest which involves the player fighting to save the town of Goodsprings they are given the chance to recruit various NPCs to aid them in their cause. A case of this is when the player seeks aid from the old prospector Easy Pete. If the player’s Explosives skill is sufficient they are presented with the option to ask Easy Pete for his personal cache of Dynamite to use in the ensuing fight to come.

  • Quests

Where Fallout 3 offered various solutions to complete a quest, Fallout: New Vegas seeks to expand upon this point; offering at least one “good”, “neutral” and “evil” way of completing each question, rather than just one of these options which can be approached in various ways. For example in the case of the quest “Ghost Town Firefight” the player may choose to side with the marauding Powder Gangers; a group former NCR railroad workers turned bandits led by the enigmatic Joe Cobb in the looting of the town of Goodsprings and the killing of a man named Ringo, who wronged them (the negative karma option), side with the residents of Goodsrpings who saved the player from a sure death and bring about the end of the bandits ( the positive karma option) or choose to simply leave the town to its fate, whatever that may be- it has not been determined whether or not the player avoiding doing certain side quests will effect events later in the game.

  • Companions

“Fallout: New Vegas” is set to include a new companions system which overhauls the previous unwieldy conversation based system found in Fallout 3. This new system is controlled by an interface dubbed the “Companion wheel”. With this interface the player is able to control their companion’s actions to an extent, enabling them to order their companions to change their combat tactics, aggressiveness and passiveness to foes, the rate at which they should use the healing items available to them at and much more. Thus far this new system has been shown applying to the residents of Goodsprings, presumably non-permanent companions, and the Ghoul Raul, showing that it can effect both a single NPC as well as a group of followers.

  • Weapons

Fallout: New Vegas also incorporates a weapon mod system that allows for up to three changes: players may add scopes, increase a weapon’s rate of fire, and/or change its magazine size. Also, many new weapons have been added such as the Grenade Machine Gun, which rapidly fires grenades at the enemies creating massive damage or the “Varmint Rifle”, an old, low powered .22 hunting rifle gained early on in the game which deals additional damage to limbs. Various unique variants of the game’s weapons have been revealed as well, such as a modified Browning Hi-Power with an inlaid ivory grip displaying the Mother Mary, though whether or not these are gained from quests, are simply found in the wasteland or are player created (possibly all three) is currently unknown. Due to the game using the same engine as Fallout 3, several of the latter’s weapons are to be found in the new game; such as the DKS-501 Sniper Rifle and the Hunting rifle.[8]Also, an Assault Rifle curently known as the “Military Assault Rifle”, a weapon similar in appearance to the M-16 Rifle will be available.

  • Hardcore Mode

In response to player complaints regarding Fallout 3’s difficulty, Obsidian has added a new ‘Hardcore Mode’. When activated, enemy NPCs take more damage before dying, stimpaks heal over time (rather than instantly healing the player), weapon ammunition has weight (as in games prior to Fallout 3), the character must drink water to avoid dying of dehydration, and it will no longer be possible to heal crippled limbs with a stimpak.