A timed exclusive,Dead Money was released on December 21, 2010, for Xbox 360 and was later released for PC and PlayStation 3 on February 22, 2011.
Dead Money is set in the Sierra Madre, an opulent and extravagant resort that would have been the greatest casino in the west, had it ever been opened. The bombs fell before the grand opening gala event, and the Sierra Madre froze in time, its state of the art security system locking the place up tight. Nothing could get in, and none of the guests could escape. The security holograms then activated and the once glorious event turned into a slaughter. After many years, the climate control and air conditioning systems within the facility began to spit strange toxins into the surrounding city, causing a red cloud to form over the area - which proved lethal to anyone who tried to explore the city. Only a mysterious group called the ghost people survived to call the city home, trapped inside what appears to be hazmat suits, they wander the streets never speaking to their victims, only capturing them alive and dragging them away to the depths of the city deep within the Cloud. The Sierra Madre attempted to send out a distress signal on the day of the War, but the system did not broadcast an alert signal, having been hooked up to the gala event to broadcast adverts for the casino, so help never came.
And so the Sierra Madre faded from memory, only occasionally being seen in posters across the wastes, until it took on mythic ghost story status, a supposed "City of Gold" in the wasteland where all the treasures of the Old World were rumored to be held. It was kept alive as a late-night saloon story by prospectors who'd claimed to have found maps leading there and were willing to part with the map for a few caps... or a drink... or a warm place to sleep.[verification needed]
The Sierra Madre is a place in the wastes, with travelers risking their lives to find it. Only one man truly "found" it and lived. After the fall of HELIOS One, Father Elijah, formerly an elder of the Mojave Brotherhood of Steel, set out to find new weapons to eradicate the NCR, and in the process, he discovered the Sierra Madre. In doing so, he lured others, including the Courier, to the resort, forcing them to navigate the hazards of the Madre and play the pawns in his game to crack open the casino's vault, long since lost to time. If the Courier wished to escape this hellish place, they would have to be clever, and use their new allies as Father Elijah did. The real question is, what really mattered to them? The treasure? Revenge? Survival? Or their humanity?
The perk is not implemented properly and does not function at all. It is supposed to grant +5 DT against energy weapons while wearing metal armor, with a further +2 DT while wearing reflective eyewear or helmets.
Installing Dead Money raises the level cap by 5, as with all story add-ons.
It is recommended that first-time players reach level 20 or higher before beginning this add-on.
Despite the warning received at the first door in the bunker, one can stay in the Mojave even if choosing to proceed; the actual point of no return is at the end of the bunker with the radio.
Because of the explosive collar with which the Courier is fitted, one will be unable to leave the Sierra Madre until having completed the story. In addition, it will become important to avoid or disable radios and speakers found around the Villa to avoid a premature and fatal detonation.
Companions cannot follow the player character to the Villa; they will be dismissed upon reaching the end of the hall.
One can explore the Sierra Madre as much as they like after completing the story, but will not be able to return after leaving. You can return using console commands; using noclip with tcl through the radio at the abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker, one will find a "Door to Villa." Using that door will take the player character back to the Villa, with all the ghost people still alive, holograms working, etc. One even gets to keep their items. One can also use player.moveto ref id to teleport any living companions, though they won't be approachable as they disappear after a certain point in the story.
If a player turns in an item of apparel that raises Agility while wearing it, the Agility increase will remain. This can be repeated indefinitely; although the Courier's Agility will not increase above 10, additional points will offset any effects that would normally reduce Agility. While this increased Agility improves skills affected by Agility and increases AP, it does not allow the Courier to take perks otherwise unavailable, unlike an increase from an implant.
The add-on focuses more on skills than combat, often placing you into Speech, Explosives, Science, and Barter checks that have a large bearing on how companions will treat the player. It also focuses on scavenging as well, mainly due to the lack of shops that sell ammo and materials for weapon repair kits.
Fast travel cannot be used while inside the Sierra Madre.
If playing in Hardcore mode, the sleep meter does not advance, unless the Courier sleeps. There may be a considerable delay before this happens, however.
Since the player does not keep their items when entering the Sierra Madre, low-Endurance characters will have a tough time, because healing items are limited to snack foods and the odd stimpak. All quest items will be kept, including items such as the Rebreather.
A recipe for stimpaks can be found during one of the first quests, inside the Clinic. This can make it much easier to survive when dropped here without sufficient gear.
The add-on as a whole is a reference to the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, in which two people who are down on their luck meet a prospector, and strike it rich after finding gold in the remote mountains.
Chris Avellone wrote a blog detailing the thought process behind design decisions that went into the game.
The original title for the add-on was Dead Man's Hand, but the developers were unable to secure a license to use that name, so they had to rename it Dead Money, a result that Chris Avellone was disappointed with. This title is referenced in the achievement of the same name.
↑The Courier: "What do you mean about the Sierra Madre broadcast?" Dean Domino: "Well, Vera's beautiful voice doesn't run on casino power, exactly. Her broadcast is tied into the emergency broadcast signal for the Sierra Madre. You know, in case of attack? Well, guess what - the night of the Gala Event, the emergency signal went out all right. But because the broadcast had been hooked up to the Gala Event, instead of an emergency signal, you get Vera's voice on the radio. Great, huh?" The Courier: " So... it's not a invitation, it's a call for help." Dean Domino: "Yeah. The Sierra Madre's last song, one only a few people are ever going to hear. A little sad, but what can you do?" (Dean Domino's dialogue)