Fallout: New Vegas; who do I have to kill to get a early review copy of this game?
I hated Fallout 3. Hated, hated, and hated it (here’s my old review of it over at Table Salt Games). I also play it over and over and over again every which way possible. I bought all the DLC, and I even did a tiny bit of amateurish modding (I got the PC version for just that reason). So why, you may rightly ask, was I so idiotically obsessed with this game if I hated it so much? Simple answer, I love the series. I bought and played every Fallout game up till that point, including the abomination that was Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. I even wrote up an entire D20 setting based on it and ran a campaign one summer in college. So I was damned if I was going to let crappy game design ruin Fallout 3 for me (edit: fine, fine, crappy game design “In my opinion”). The mod community for Fallout 3 did much to ease the pain, and I probably owe the folks over at Fallout 3 Nexus (http://www.fallout3nexus.com/) for preventing me from pulling a “Hemingway”.
With that in mind, try to imagine my reaction to the recent news regarding Fallout: New Vegas. If you guessed “eye-twitching rage” you’d be wrong. Initially I felt the fluttering of mild optimism in my breast. “There’s a new Fallout game by someone other than Bethesda Softworks? You don’t say. And it’s being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, a company founded by Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone, both of whom worked on Fallout 2? Be still my heart! Quickly, is there by chance anyone from Bethesda’s design team even involved in this project? No? *Dramatic sweeping faint*”
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t quite as Jane Austen as that, but I did do a little happy dance when I found out. Yes Bethesda Softworks is still publishing Fallout: New Vegas, but that would seem to be about it. Well, as far as we know, and with my luck that’ll change next week. (Edit: ok, I don’t like Bethesda Softworks. I liked them years ago, but things change, as do companies. This is entirely my opinion and not that of this site.)
The point of all of this is that on February 4th, Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda Softworks released the new trailer for Fallout: New Vegas. As I mentioned, I am somewhat of an obsessive fan of the series (I post occasionally over at No Mutants Allowed http://www.nma-fallout.com/, and I became a member of the Unwashed Villagers following after their appearance in Fallout 2). So yes, I did watch it over and over and over again. And yes, I may have looked through it frame by frame for any little clues about the plot. What of it? Ok…I may have turned a screen shot from it into my new desktop, but that’s perfectly normal right? Right?
Anyway, after an obsessive fan-boy review of the trailer I have a few guesses regarding what we might be able to expect out of Fallout: New Vegas. Some of these will probably be ass wrong once more info on the game comes out, so don’t hold me to any of it (in fact I had to edit this after Obsidian released more info).
1. The city in the trailer is probably New Vegas, the post-apocalyptic incarnation of Las Vegas. Ok. I know that’s a bit of a “no shit” statement but I’m starting slow and I’d like at least one thing on this list to be right. Like I said the rest is me guessing. It’s not like I got an interview with anyone over at Obsidian Entertainment. Though, if anyone over there were interested I wouldn’t mind doing an interview. I’d be willing to give backrubs. ^_^
2. This Fallout game might be a little better than Fallout 3 when it comes to sticking to the events and timelines in the first two games of the franchise. Why? Because you’ve got people from the first two Fallout games actually working on this one.
3. Civilization’s making a comeback. We’re shown a bright, ruin free Vegas skyline. While Fallout 3 gave us a world so full of ruin and chaos that it felt as though the fictional war had only occurred 50 years earlier (especially thanks to Little Lamplight. No really, if everyone’s kicked out when they turn 16 where the HELL are all these kids coming from?), Fallout 2 showed us a world where mankind had not only begun to rebuild but had already reached the point where new cities were being born, complete with electricity, running water, paved streets and clean public toilets. From this glimpse of New Vegas, I’m guessing Obsidian is going with the Fallout 2 design concept rather than the Fallout 3 one.
4. The NCR, New Californian Republic, from Fallout 2 is making an appearance and they might be the bad guys. At the end of the trailer we see an NCR flag waving and a red goggled, storm trooper looking soldier standing next to it. The big clue here, aside from the flag saying “New Californian Republic” on it is that the current Californian flag doesn’t have a 2 headed grizzly bear on it (fun fact, the 2 headed grizzly is not native to California. It’s actually found only in Oregon. Common mistake.). Now the flag is a bit ripped and torn so it might refer to a war between city states prior to the game, or maybe one ongoing at the time of the game. (after writing this Obsidian did confirm, NCR is one of the major factions involved in a conflict over New Vegas in the new game.)
5. No Enclave. Please. Is it too much to ask that they come up with a new antagonistic organization rather than recycling the bad guys from Fallout 2 a second time? Same goes for the GECK. Please find a new MacGuffin.
6. While the figure in the trailer does have a number on his jacket and helmet, he’s probably not a vault dweller. The paint on his armor is white while all the Vaults used yellow paint in every Fallout game so far. Also the number on the jacket is “A7”, not “V7” or even just “7”. It might be just me, but could we actually have a Fallout game that doesn’t center around a Vault? Vault 13, Vault 13 again, Vault 0, the Secret Vault, Vault 101, etc… Is anyone else a bit tired of this? I get that these big bomb shelters are a major part of the Fallout universe but does every Fallout game have to focus on them? I wouldn’t mind if they kind of just showed up in Fallout: New Vegas, but if the plot could revolve around something other than finding the legendary “Vault What-Ever-The-Hell” I’d be grateful.
7. The player character in Fallout: New Vegas is a currier, who’s been left for dead in a shallow grave. He/she’s been rescued by a doctor and a robot who for some damned reason give him a vault suit. The main plot has something to do with the main character finding out who tried to kill him/her, quite possibly followed by their violent murder at the hands of the player. Obsidian has said that the main character will not be a vault dweller as in earlier Fallout games. It’s not clear if the NCR soldier in the trailer is supposed to be the main character so his/her initial allegiance may be iffy.
8. Bethesda Softworks vs. Obsidian Entertainment. Like its predecessor, Fallout: New Vegas will also be running on the engine Bethesda used for Oblivion. Now Fallout 3 is supposed to be the “direct sequel” to Fallout 2, despite the plot being only vaguely related to the events in Fallout 2 (was the new Vault Dweller connected in any way to the old one from Fallout 1 or his/her descendant in Fallout 2? Did the events in the previous games have any real role in Fallout 3’s plot aside from providing the various factions with excuses to appear on the east coast?). “Officially” Fallout: New Vegas is not a “direct sequel” to Fallout 2 or 3, despite being produced by some of the folks who worked on Fallout 2. Oh, and it takes place in the same general region as Fallout 1 & 2, and so far it’s plot seems to relate to the events from those first two games as well. But it’s not a direct sequel. Bethesda gave us a FPS-RPG Fallout game, and Obsidian’s going to give us a FPS-RPG Fallout game using the same game engine. For me the question is: can Obsidian beat Bethesda at their own game? Can they make a better Fallout sequel than Bethesda did with using the same software engine? With Obsidian’s track record I’m leaning towards yes. But then again I’m an optimist as well as an opinionated bastard so what the hell do I know. ^_^