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Fallout: New Vegas is a post-apocalyptic role-playing video game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks. While New Vegas is not a direct sequel, it uses the same engine and style as Fallout 3, and many of its developers worked on previous Fallout games at Black Isle Studios. It is the fourth major installment in the Fallout series and sixth overall. The game is set primarily in a post-apocalyptic Nevada, California, Arizona, and Utah.

The game was released on October 19, 2010, in North America, October 22, 2010, in Europe, and November 4, 2010, in Asia. It is available on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. A backwards compatible version for Xbox One was released on June 23, 2016.[1]


Changes from Fallout 3[]

There is a Karma system incorporated alongside reputation system, similar to Fallout 2.[2] Reputation is a form of tracking relationships within the many factions and towns of Fallout: New Vegas, such as the NCR or Goodsprings. A high reputation with a faction or town may give certain benefits, such as gifts from the people who live there, while a low reputation may lead to hits being taken out against them. Karma in Fallout: New Vegas has less of an effect than reputation, which is the primary factor affecting how people react.

A modding feature allows for the modification of weapons by adding scopes, extended magazines, silencers, and more. Weapons can have a maximum of three attached mods, and they cannot be removed once placed. Obsidian implemented this feature as a direct response to the popularity of the Weapon Mod Kits mod for Fallout 3.[3]

Companion wheel

The companion wheel

A new companion wheel has been added to quickly and easily give companions commands such as "Talk," "Use Ranged Weapons," and "Wait Here." It also makes it easier to restore their health using stimpaks and swap equipment. The companions also have specific likes and dislikes; giving a sniper companion a shotgun, for example, will result in a negative impact and decreased effectiveness.

There are now unique versions of weapons which have different textures and adornments. Counting all the add-ons, there are a total of 81 unique weapons. Some require the completion of a quest to find, are looted, or can be found in specific locations.


Gameplay includes a combat system that allows for both first and third person view and features the ability to use weapon iron sights. The game also made a change from the true bullet flight paths in Fallout 3 to simulated bullet flight paths, which means the bullets, when fired, originate from the center of the screen's crosshairs, rather than the tip of the gun's barrel.[4]

Fallout: New Vegas utilizes the Damage Threshold (DT) mechanic. If an enemy has a high DT, some weapons may be ineffective. This is indicated by a red shield near the enemy's health bar when attacking it, both in and out of V.A.T.S. The damage threshold will be due to high armor or a built-in mechanic to that character, and will require the Courier to either retreat or attack with a more powerful weapon.

The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S., is an active pause combat system implemented in the game. While using V.A.T.S., the otherwise real-time combat is paused. Use of one's weapon can be seen in slow motion and greater detail. Attacks in V.A.T.S. cost Action Points and one can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries. Melee weapons now have special moves in V.A.T.S., such as "Fore!" for golf clubs, along with special Unarmed moves such as Ranger Takedown. The player character will take more damage in V.A.T.S. than in Fallout 3 (75%, up from 10%). One can choose to activate or deactivate a dynamic "Kill Cam," which shows one's success in combat in slow motion. The setting can also be changed to only show this cinematic viewpoint for the last enemy of a group.

Hardcore mode[]

Main article: Hardcore mode

Hardcore mode is an optional setting that attempts to make the game more realistic, with gameplay elements such as dehydration, and non-instantaneous healing. It can be turned on and off mid-game. Either a trophy or achievement is awarded for completing Fallout: New Vegas on Hardcore mode. In order to earn it, the entire game must be played in the mode from the point first prompted until the endgame sequence, without ever turning the setting off. The Casual/Hardcore mode distinction is independent of difficulty settings.

Character system[]

The SPECIAL system returns and directly influences speech options and quests. Traits can be chosen and perks are gained every two levels.


Main article: Gambling

The city of New Vegas, as well as other smaller settlements in the game, have a variety of colorful casinos or other forms of gambling to explore. In Fallout: New Vegas, several gambling mini-games have been added, including Blackjack, Roulette, and slots. Outside the casinos, many people across the Mojave play Caravan, a card game designed by Obsidian specifically for the game. One's Luck contributes to the outcome of gambling games. One will receive money for winning, and casino floor managers will congratulate the player character with food, drink, or a comped suite at the hotel. Winning too much money after that, however, will result in the floor manager letting them know they will not be able to earn any more winnings. Although one can no longer gamble in that casino, they are still able to enter and buy items or food.



The game's story takes place in 2281, 204 years after the Great War, 120 years after the events of Fallout, 40 years after the events of Fallout 2, 4 years after the events of Fallout 3, and 6 years before the events of Fallout 4. It is set in the area of the Mojave Desert, now called the Mojave Wasteland, where three major entities are vying for control of the city of New Vegas and the power generated by the Hoover Dam: the military forces of the New California Republic from the west, Vegas' mysterious ruler Mr. House and the slaver army Caesar's Legion from the east.

Main story[]

Benny (intro)

"Truth is, the game was rigged from the start."

The player character is the Courier, who was originally hired to deliver a package to New Vegas but is intercepted by a man in a checkered suit and a group of thugs. They steal the package, the checker-suited man shoots the Courier twice in the head and then leaves them for dead in a shallow grave. But that's not the end.

The Courier is rescued by a robot named Victor, who brings them to Doc Mitchell in the town of Goodsprings, who saves their life and nurses them to health. Once the Courier completes their medical checkup, they're sent out into the open world of the Mojave to track down their would-be killer and in doing so, decide the future of the wasteland and its inhabitants.


The game's ending is dependent on what actions are taken during the course of the story, with separate ending slides for each major location, political faction, and recruited companion.[2] The Courier is influenced to take one of four possible ending paths; all four paths culminate in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam where the NCR and Legion clash for the future of the Mojave and New Vegas.

Currently, there has not been any official confirmation by the publisher, the developers, or subsequent games in the series for which ending of Fallout: New Vegas is considered canon.

  • Mr. House: The Courier will assist the martial lord of New Vegas in setting up New Vegas to become the dominant power in the Mojave, safe from the exploitation of the NCR and the bloodshed of the Legion.
  • The Legion: The Courier will defeat the enemies of Caesar, allowing for the strength of the Legion to crush the NCR at Hoover Dam and claim all of the Mojave in the name of the Son of Mars.
  • The NCR: The Courier will mend the dire circumstances faced by the New California Republic's annexation of the Mojave and further the Old-World values of democracy.
  • Independent/Yes Man: The Courier will depose the tyrant Mr. House and push out both the inefficient NCR and the tyrannical Legion to take the reins of New Vegas for themselves with the aid of their robot partner Yes Man.


Fallout: New Vegas Collector's Edition, shown with all bonus items

Collector's Edition[]

The Collector's Edition of Fallout: New Vegas includes Fallout: New Vegas; "Lucky 7" poker chips, replicas from the ones found in the game; a deck of Fallout: New Vegas themed playing cards; a replica of the "Lucky 38" poker chip (the platinum chip) from the game; All Roads, a graphic novel serving as a prequel written by Chris Avellone; and the "Making of Fallout: New Vegas" DVD. The entire package comes in a collectible Fallout: New Vegas box. The Collector's Edition was also available for pre-order.


A total of six add-ons, Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road, Courier's Stash, and Gun Runners' Arsenal were released.

Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road cost $5 in USD each, although they are cheaper as part of the Ultimate Edition.

Explorable quests[]


One of the main areas of Dead Money

  • Dead Money — The Courier is abducted and the player temporarily loses access to their inventory. Dead Money is known for being very challenging and similar to a survival horror game, making the player feel dis-empowered and vulnerable to various death traps. The maze-like map features winding hallways. The Courier learns about the story of the Sierra Madre and is forced to wear an explosive death collar, along with three other victims, Dog and God, Christine Royce (the former girlfriend of Veronica Santangelo) and Dean Domino.
  • Honest Hearts — The Courier boards a caravan company to the Zion Canyon. They become intertwined in a story about tribes and a man named Joshua Graham. To begin Honest Hearts, the Courier must have less than 75 to 100 pounds in their inventory, depending on factors.

Big MT

  • Old World Blues — The Courier is abducted, but they get to keep their inventory this time. They find themselves in large circular dome called Big MT and finds a group of scientists called the Think Tank who have transferred their minds into robots. At the beginning of this add-on, the player can expect little gameplay, as the opening features a lot of dialogue with the scientists. The main bulk of the gameplay consists of fetch quests.
  • Lonesome Road — The Courier takes a linear journey through the Divide to meet a man named Ulysses. The player gets access to a laser detonator which can detonate nuclear warheads to clear their path. The end of the quest affects the Mojave, as the Courier can decide where to send a nuke.

Microtransaction bundles[]


A pistol which requires the $2 (USD) Gun Runners' Arsenal bundle

Fallout: New Vegas locks some exclusive content (weapons and armor), as well as some achievements and trophies, behind two main microtransaction bundles (Courier's Stash and Gun Runners' Arsenal). Both of them combined cost $3 in USD. The items obtained assist the player in gameplay and can make the game easier. These packs also include some ammo, health items, super stimpaks and doctor's bags, as well as a Vault 13 canteen which will regularly heal the player's HP and display this message: "You take a sip from your trusty vault 13 canteen"

There were also four different pre-order bonuses, including the Classic Pack, Caravan Pack, Tribal Pack, and Mercenary Pack. Each one had a unique suit of armor and a unique weapon not found in-game, along with a few other in-game items. All of them are lumped together in the Courier's Stash bundle.

Ultimate Edition[]

The Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition was released on February 7, 2012 in North America and February 10 in Europe. The package contents are the base game along with all add-ons, including Gun Runners' Arsenal and Courier's Stash.



Fallout Retrospective - Surviving the Desert Wasteland

Discussions for New Vegas began between Obsidian and Bethesda in 2008/09. They knew the game would not be a direct, traditional sequel to Fallout 3 and it was referred to as "Fallout 3.5" within Obsidian. It was specifically designed to be more of an expansion pack rather than a sequel. However, Todd Howard felt strongly that New Vegas should be its own game. Obsidian saw the project as akin to the Grand Theft Auto titles Vice City and San Andreas - not numbered entries in the main series, but still full games in their own right. As Bethesda "had dibs" on the U.S. East Coast, Obsidian set the game in the American West. Obsidian submitted a three-page pitch to Bethesda for the project, which they named "Fallout: Sin City." The game was later renamed to "Fallout: New Vegas."[5]

For inspiration, New Vegas recycled and repurposed various ideas from cancelled Fallout projects such as Van Buren and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2. For example, Arcade Gannon and Hoover Dam were meant to appear in Van Buren while Caesar's Legion were meant to be in both Van Buren and Brotherhood of Steel 2.

The team initially did not have access to the source code until Bethesda cleared the security of it. They used development tools for a few months before they were given the source code, which let them dive in to deeper development.[6]

The game was originally slated to have three playable races - human, ghoul, and super mutant. This idea was abandoned due to issues with the engine, specifically with how the weapons and armor would work.[5] The biggest technical issue that the team faced during development was working with the PS3's hardware; as New Vegas is a very memory-intensive game, they had difficulty with the PS3's split memory pool.[7]

The launch version of the game spent a total of 18 months in development,[8] and Obsidian was given nearly an additional year after to produce the four add-ons and release patches. Project director Joshua Sawyer has stated he believes the game realized most of his development ideas during this time.[9] Sawyer described the development process as having used "a lot of overtime" and while he admitted the game was created with a few weekends of mandatory crunch, he does not consider the game being crunched as a whole.[10]

One major idea that Sawyer decided to cut was post-game content which could allow the player to keep playing after the ending, similar to Broken Steel. He decided to cut it because the team was falling behind when it came to reaching development milestones, and he commented the decision "was made relatively late in the project and I made it because the area designers were falling behind on area milestones and would not be able to complete both the core required content and post-game content in the remaining time. We did design post-game reactivity. We just didn’t have time to implement it."[11]

The game was announced on April 20, 2009, at Bethesda's London showcase.[12] The first official information was released in the February 2010 issue of PC Gamer. A cinematic teaser trailer and a gameplay trailer were then subsequently released.


FNV dev team

The development team for Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas was developed by Obsidian Entertainment, a company founded by Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone, two of the creators of Fallout 2, originally at Black Isle Studios. The project was led by Joshua Sawyer, one of the lead designers of Van Buren (the canceled Fallout 3 project by Black Isle Studios). John Gonzalez was the lead creative designer, while Obsidian founder Chris Avellone, who worked on Fallout 2 and Van Buren, was a senior designer. Joe Sanabria was the lead artist.

Controversies and censorship[]

Metacritic bonus[]

Bethesda offered a bonus in their contract with Obsidian as a perk, tied to the review score from the review aggregate website Metacritic, if Fallout: New Vegas achieved a minimum of 85. Upon release, Fallout: New Vegas only achieved an 84 point score on its PC and Xbox versions, missing the quota from receiving the bonus, which was not given. For their work on Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian Entertainment received a straight payment, as was explained by Chris Avellone on Twitter.[13] The tweet with Avellone's explanation circulated quickly, but was deleted shortly after several game news publications reported on the bonus benchmark being missed. An interview with Feargus Urquhart also delved further into the topic, with Urquhart discussing the realities of the bonus and the situation.[14] Jason Schreier for Kotaku wrote on to examine the disparity of using Metacritic as a benchmark for rewarding bonuses, pointing out that Metacritic uses an untransparent formula for aggregating scores and discusses the non-universal review scales that differ greatly from publication to publication.[15]

The missed royalties were revealed the day following Obsidian's announcement of nearly 30 layoffs, and cancellation of Stormlands, only known as project North Carolina at the time.[16] In a discussion about profit margins for games, Joshua Sawyer explained that in his entire career he has only received bonuses for Icewind Dale and the Pillars of Eternity. To date, Fallout: New Vegas has sold 12 million copies, though Obsidian Entertainment never received any bonuses.[17] In 2020, Avellone later elaborated on the subject, describing Bethesda in instances where they went "above and beyond," and never mistreated the group.[18] In 2022, Avellone wrote in Fallout Apocrypha, "We didn’t ask for this, they offered it, and it was our responsibility to hit that review score. We did have to have layoffs at Obsidian around this time period, but the bonus from Metacritic wouldn’t have prevented that from happening."


  • In the German version, there is no gore. German players who want the full Fallout experience can, as with Fallout 3, buy the Austrian version, which basically features the uncut PEGI version with German speech and text. However, the German Ultimate Edition is completely uncensored.
  • Just like in Fallout 3, the Fat Man weapon was once again renamed to the "Nuka Launcher" in the Japanese version of Fallout: New Vegas. The Little Boy mod was not.
  • The physical disc for consoles of Fallout: New Vegas was officially banned in the United Arab Emirates, but the ban was repealed later as it did not contain enough violence to meet the ban's criteria after a test run. The ban lasted for about a day after the game's release and the game was soon stocked in stores fully uncensored (with gore) alongside the Collector's Edition. The Ultimate Edition was released without any issues.


Launch reception[]

Fallout: New Vegas received "generally favorable" reviews on Metacritic, receiving a metascore of 84/100 on both PC[19] & Xbox 360,[20] and 82/100 on PS3.[21]

New Vegas received criticism for technical issues such as frequent crashing, as well as having hundreds of bugs and glitches. Edge Magazine gave the game a 6/10, commenting, "Creatively, New Vegas gets almost everything right. Mechanically and technically, it's a tragedy. So, it's a simultaneously rewarding and frustrating game."

GameSpot gave the game a higher 7.5/10, praising it for having more complexity to its mechanics, but also said, "there are far more bugs than you should expect from a modern role-playing game." and "the constant glitches invade almost every element of the game and eventually grow wearisome." They also felt that its "main story isn't compelling" and criticized some of the quest design, mentioning, "in certain cases, the quests just aren't designed particularly well. Searching for a key in a vault overrun with vegetation can turn into a major hassle. Avoiding an artillery bombardment isn't fun in the least and feels out of place given the measured pace at which you move. And an optional quest in which you hop from one computer terminal to another to isolate a virus leads to frustrating trial-and-error guesswork."

Post-launch reception[]

After the game's launch, both the PC and PS3 versions received seven patches in order to fix the bugs and technical issues. The game received several awards and nominations, including a Golden Joystick Award for "2011 RPG of the Year" and nominations for two 2011 BAFTA Awards including Best Strategy Game and Best Story.[22][23][24]

The public perception of New Vegas, especially the idea that New Vegas was better than Fallout 3, had a noticeable turnaround throughout the 2010s. For example, near the game's launch, a portion of players felt New Vegas either did not live up to Fallout 3 or considered New Vegas to be on par with it, especially due to the technical issues and the game's lack of DLC at the time.[25] Fallout 3 and New Vegas had a Metacritic user score around 8, with New Vegas once having a 7.9 in 2011. In recent years, the game has received more acclaim and is considered by most players to be the best Fallout game, partially due to disappointment with Fallout 4 and 76.[26] By 2015, the score was bumped up to 8.5, and by 2022, the score managed to be bumped up to 8.9, an entire point above the 7.9 it once had in 2011. Meanwhile, the user score of Fallout 3 still maintains around 7.9.

Three of the four DLCs received generally positive reviews at around 9/10 on Steam ratings, although one exception is Dead Money, which stands around 6/10 in comparison. Many players disliked the "speaker mechanic" which will immediately kill the player character if they stand near a radio for too long, since if they cannot disable it in time, they will be instantly killed.

Arcade Gannon

Arcade Gannon, a gay companion

Also praised is the game's approach to LGBT representation,[27] since it was released in 2011 in a time where homophobia was more rampant, same-sex marriage was not federally recognized in the United States, and DADT was still a policy. Two of the companions, Arcade Gannon and Veronica Santangelo, are gay. The story treats gay people sympathetically as they are being oppressed by Caesar's Legion, and the player is able to choose perks which can provide optional flirtatious dialogue with characters of the same sex as the player character, providing roleplaying options.

Potential sequel[]

Although a number of hoaxes and purported leaks took place, no Fallout: New Vegas 2 plans are currently confirmed. In February 2022, several news outlets reported that a sequel to Fallout: New Vegas, also developed by Obsidian Entertainment, was in "very early" talks, based on a leak from VentureBeat journalist Jeff Grubb. Grubb stated that such a project would be multiple years away, though it would soon materialize as a result of Microsoft owning both Obsidian and Bethesda.[28]

Behind the scenes[]

Developer quotes[]

  • Joshua Sawyer: "One of the Obsidian owners came up with the idea that you start the game by being shot in the head and dropped into a desert grave. It was my idea to end the game by resolving a conflict between NCR/Caesar's Legion at Hoover Dam. Everything else was developed by John Gonzalez."[29]
  • Joshua Sawyer: "One of the themes we identified early on for F:NV was "recreating the new world in the image of the old"[29]
  • Joshua Sawyer: "The reason why F:NV's extensive use of western trappings overlaps fine with the imagery of Vegas is because the golden age of TV & film westerns was in the 50s and 60s, which was also the golden age of Las Vegas. We're already conditioned to accept these things overlapping. ~*[30]
Bethesda Game Studios involvement
  • Joshua Sawyer: "Bethesda handled the budget, high-level scheduling, most of the QA, marketing, PR, music licensing, and all other publishing duties. All of the development was done internally, though some of the Bethesda F3 devs gave feedback on our design docs.[31]
  • Question: "So this is a rather obtuse question, but I was wondering how much influence Bethesda exerted during development? Did you have to get shitloads of things approved by them, or were they more of a exterior presence, not really considered most times?"
    Joshua Sawyer: "They mostly just asked us to avoid using certain groups or subjects for a variety of reasons. Though Bethesda reviewed everything we did, it was extremely rare that they asked us to change something."[32]
  • Question: "Did Bethesda do the QA on Dead Money?"
    Joshua Sawyer: "We have a small internal QA staff, but Bethesda handled/handles the majority of QA for F:NV and its DLC."[32]
  • Question: "What role had the additional Bethesda writers in F:NV? With all due respect, but I doubt producers/QA testers would write characters..nonetheless, I'm curious."
    Joshua Sawyer: "They wrote some of the barkstring voice sets for generic NPCs."[32]


Aspects of the game's storyline reoccur in the Fallout TV series' first season. Despite concerns over the events of the TV series that some fans felt implied that the game had been rendered non-canon, Emil Pagliarulo and Todd Howard confirmed in post-release interviews that the events of New Vegas were still a part of the series' canon with Pagliarulo directly stating, "Of course it is."[33]




Concept art[]


See also[]

External links[]


  1. Fallout: New Vegas announced in London at VG247
  2. 2.0 2.1 PC Gamer Edwards, Tim (February, 2010), March issue of PC Gamer: pp. 40-41.[clarification needed]
  3. Gamespot Interview with Chris Avellone at E3 2010
  4. J.E. Sawyer in Obsidian forum
  5. 5.0 5.1 Eurogamer - Fallout: New Vegas was once Fallout: Sin City and had three playable races
  6. Fallout: New Vegas 10th Anniversary Charity Stream (reference starts at 4:47:53)
    Joshua Sawyer: "'Did they give you full source code and engine access during development?' Yeah, the source code came... we actually had to work on the game - until we had secure...everything's secure to the extent that Bethesda wanted - we worked with just the development tools and not source code for a few months, and then we got the source code and dove in."
  7. Fallout: New Vegas 10th Anniversary Charity Stream (reference starts at 3:25:37)
    Joshua Sawyer: "'Regarding the hardware of the day, what was the biggest headache?' It was the PS3's memory. [chuckles] I mean, for this project, it was the PS3's memory. The PS3 had a split memory pool, and this is a very memory-intensive game, and it made it... just made it hard."
  8. Joshua Sawyer on Formspring
  9. Fallout: New Vegas 10th Anniversary Charity Stream (reference starts at 4:53:34)
    Joshua Sawyer: "'Would I say the game realized most of my development ideas during its 18 months?' Yeah.'"
  10. Joshua Sawyer at Reboot Develop 2018: "No, not by the definition that I gave. We worked sprint overtime, we didn't crunch, though. Fallout: New Vegas was made without crunch by the definition I gave."
  11. Joshua Sawyer on Tumblr
  12. VG247 - Fallout: New Vegas announced in London
  13. Gilbert, Ben (15). Obsidian missed Fallout: New Vegas Metacritic bonus by one point (English). Engadget. Archived from the original on 06-09-2020. Retrieved on 2020-06-09.
  14. IGN interview, bonus is discussed at 26:00
  15. Shreier, Jason (15). Why Are Game Developer Bonuses Based On Review Scores? (English). Engadget. Archived from the original on 02-13-2019. Retrieved on 2020-06-09.
  16. Dutton, Fred (14). Redundancies at Obsidian, next-gen project axed - report (English). Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 10-13-2017. Retrieved on 2020-06-09.
  17. Joshua Sawyer's Twitter
  18. Chris Avellone's Twitter
  19. Metascore for Fallout: New Vegas on PC, Metacritic, Retrieved June 19, 2020
  20. Metascore for Fallout: New Vegas on Xbox 360, Metacritic, Retrieved June 19, 2020
  21. [hhttps://web.archive.org/web/20210225055219/http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/fallout-new-vegas Metascore for Fallout: New Vegas on PS3], Metacritic, Retrieved June 19, 2020
  22. IMDB Game Awards - Fallout: New Vegas
  23. Fallout: New Vegas on Wikipedia
  24. 2011 Golden Joystick Awards
  25. New Vegas GameFAQ reviews
  26. GamingBible article
  27. PinkNews: The trailblazing Fallout games were way ahead of their time when it comes to LGBT representation
  28. Fallout New Vegas 2 reportedly in "very early" discussions at Microsoft and Obsidian
  29. 29.0 29.1 Joshua Sawyer on Something Awful
  30. Joshua Sawyer on Twitter
  31. Joshua Sawyer on Tumblr
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Joshua Sawyer's Formspring answers, archived on RPGCodex forums
  33. Fallout Reddit