“Truth is...the game was rigged from the start.”— Benny
The Fallout: New Vegas intro begins playing the song "Blue Moon" inside the casino of the Lucky 38 with a crooked portrait of the casino, the camera slowly rotating upright and moving away to reveal more of its surroundings. It proceeds to exit the casino, picking up pace as it tours the Strip while Blue Moon slowly becomes fainter amidst the background of the carousal about the street.
While on the strip, we see the main hotels and a mixture of drunk NCR military members and civilians walk in the streets. Three Securitrons startle a pedestrian as they roll towards the Ultra-Luxe. The camera zooms out further to the perimeter of the auroral city to an NCR Veteran Ranger firing a lethal shot from his Anti-materiel rifle at an armed Fiend just beyond the confines of New Vegas.
The camera fades out in flames to a distant hillside. A scout uses his binoculars to observe the city of New Vegas and outer Vegas, while explosions faintly ring around the city. Beside him is a banner, bearing the mark of Caesar's Legion. Legionaries rush behind him as a Legion explorer waves them through. Once more, the camera resumes even further from the city distinguishable only by its glow amidst the dark, night air of the Mojave. The scene becomes Goodsprings Cemetery, presently active with a small group of Great Khans digging a shallow grave intended for the unconscious Courier, and a man in a checkered suit standing only feet away, lighting a cigarette. The opening narration by Ron Perlman begins.
When atomic fire consumed the earth, those who survived did so in great, underground vaults. When they opened, their inhabitants set out across ruins of the old world to build new societies, establish new villages, forming tribes.
As decades passed, what had been the American southwest united beneath the flag of the New California Republic, dedicated to old-world values of democracy and the rule of law. As the Republic grew, so did its needs. Scouts spread east, seeking territory and wealth, in the dry and merciless expanse of the Mojave Desert. They returned with tales of a city untouched by the warheads that had scorched the rest of the world, and a great wall spanning the Colorado River.
The NCR mobilized its army and sent it east to occupy the Hoover Dam, and restore it to working condition. But across the Colorado, another society had arisen under a different flag. A vast army of slaves, forged from the conquest of 86 tribes: Caesar's Legion.
Four years have passed since the Republic held the Dam - just barely - against the Legion's onslaught. The Legion did not retreat. Across the river, it gathers strength. Campfires burned, training drums beat.
“We initially attempted to do the opening cutscene in-engine. We based the cutscene’s design upon things that we understood as technically possible based on the cutscenes we saw in Fallout 3. I.e., there were no features we were relying upon that did not already exist in the engine.
We attempted this for about a month, but the cutscene was unstable. Animations would desync and the sequence would break with high frequency. It may very well have been that we were using the technology incorrectly, but I made the decision to move to a pre-rendered cutscene to move things along and ensure stability.”— J.E. Sawyeron the unused intro cutscene
Originally the game was to have an in-engine introductory sequence. This would show the entire scene with Benny and the Great Khans Jessup and McMurphy that takes up the second half of the finished game's FMV sequence. At some point in development two things happened; firstly a press demo was created that commented out the intro and skipped straight to the character creation part of the game, and secondly the in-engine intro was completely scrapped and replaced with an FMV instead. When the latter happened they actually just used the temporary press demo code with an extra line to play the new FMV. This is what is used in the final game - the in engine intro stuff is all there and actually runs when you start a new game, but is immediately bypassed.
In the original in-engine intro the scene starts immediately with the player hooded and standing in the grave. The dialogue follows the same basic arc, but the actual words spoken are completely different (in particular Benny's "bad luck" line is much less pithy and polished than the one used in the FMV). This sequence also features Victor actually digging the player out of the grave, something that is only spoken of but never actually shown in the final game. The code that runs the intro sequence is a battleground of commented out contradictory lines where different iterations have introduced and then removed new effects and ideas. For example, One iteration uses the setscale command to make the player half the size to give the impression of kneeling (the player is actually standing bolt upright the whole time). This then breaks the later character generation sequence as it triggers an engine bug where the player is classified as a child. There is a later workaround to this where the player's age is reduced and then immediately increased with agerace -1 and then agerace 1. This doesn't seem to work right either (if you enter these commands by hand in the console they DO fix this bug, they just don't seem to work right called in a script) and usually still results in the player still being classified as a child despite having an adult body, breaking the Vigor tester sequence.
Even stranger, there is full dialogue for TWO different versions of this sequence. One is twice as long, with extra lines featuring the three characters bickering about how to get home again. There is also an extended version of the final scene with Victor digging up the player where he actually reaches out to help the player out of the grave (in the shorter version the player stands up of their own accord and promptly collapses again). There is an idle animation for this (NVVictorpickup), but it has no actual animation file so does nothing. I was actually told a rumour once that this was so the game could have the extended intro if the player had bought the collectors edition (that contains the comic book filling in the backstory of Jessup et al). Take this totally with a grain of salt (if you weren't taking the information contained within that way already!) as I've seen no corroborating evidence of this, although it would make sense.
Finally, at the point in the intro where the player is shot and collapses into the grave, there is code to run an FMV file called FNVLogo2.bik. This is of course not present in the game, and would likely either simply be the game's logo (and of course the inevitable "war never changes part"), or possibly be the early teaser video shown of Victor digging up the player, as it would fit in perfectly with the next part of the sequence.
The digging/burying scene relies on using the blood spatter effect to slowly cover up the screen. It also uses a command that controls how long the spatter effect stays on screen to ensure it remains until wiped off by the script. However, this command is not implemented in the final game! Calling this command at any time instantly crashes the game.
There are also lots of AI Packages created for this scene that were eventually abandoned in favour of directly calling some of the actions from the quest script (e.g. Jessup pistol whipping the player). Speaking of which, Jessup is supposed to pistol whip the player, but in actuality he sort of punches them instead, he doesn't hold the gun even though he is supposed to.