The Companion wheel is a feature of Fallout: New Vegas to address the issues with controlling companions in Fallout 3. The wheel provides easier control over the non-player character companions in the game by setting the AI and other management options.
There are eight sections on the wheel, each with a specified function.
- Use Melee / Use Ranged: This function allows one to switch the companion's fighting preference between ranged and melee weapons. Highlighting this function displays the companion's currently equipped weapon. This option reads "Use Melee" when the companion is configured to "Use Ranged," and vice-versa. Some companions cannot use this option, such as Rex, although the option is there.
- Open Inventory: Opens the companion's and player's inventory side-by-side, allowing the player to swap items between the companion's and Courier's inventory. (Highlighting this function displays the companion's current and maximum carried weight.)
- Stay Close / Keep Distance: Instructs the companion to follow the Courier at either a short or long distance. This option reads "Stay Close" when the companion is configured to "Keep Distance," and vice-versa.
- Back Up: Commands the companion to back away from the player character
- Be Passive / Be Aggressive: Switches the companion between "aggressive" mode (attacking any enemy he/she detects) and "passive" mode (attacking only enemies engaged in combat with the Courier). This option reads "Be Passive" when the companion is configured to "Be Aggressive," and vice-versa. Most companions ignore this setting.
- Use stimpak: Instructs the companion to use a stimpak from the Courier's inventory. (Highlighting this function displays the companion's current and maximum Hit Point total, and the number of stimpaks in the Courier's inventory.)
- Wait Here / Follow Me: Switches the companion between following the Courier and staying where instructed to wait. This option reads "Wait Here" when the companion is configured to "Follow Me," and vice-versa.
- Talk To: Engages the companion in dialogue as with other non-player characters. This allows the user to access the options listed above through dialogue and is one of the only two methods by which the player can "dismiss" the non-player character. The other being a companion dismissal terminal.
- When switching between "Use Melee" and "Use Ranged," companions (except ED-E) will comment on the switch, indicating their favored combat style.
- Companions will not carry faction armor unless they are aligned with that faction (i.e. Boone can carry NCR armor but not Legion armor). Helmets are exempted from this rule.
- The "Use Stimpak" function works on ED-E, although it is a robot.
- The "Use Ranged" icon shows Vault Boy wielding a R91 assault rifle, although the weapon is not in the game.
- The "Use Melee" icon shows the Vault Boy in an unarmed stance, instead of holding a melee weapon.
The companion wheel appears only in Fallout: New Vegas.