| ||This page is about the city. For the Sierra Madre casino, see Sierra Madre Casino (hotel).|
The Sierra Madre is a pre-War casino resort in the wastes, a dead city surrounded by a poisonous cloud. Many travelers in the Mojave have sought it out after claiming to have heard a woman's voice on a pre-War radio broadcast, never to be heard from again. The Courier is lured to the Sierra Madre by that same broadcast advertising the gala grand opening.
The city and the casino were designed and built by one man, Frederick Sinclair, his last venture a few years before the Great War. The Sierra Madre, especially the casino, was intended as a place for guests to reverse their fortunes and "begin again." During its construction until the end, it remained a reclusive area. All conveniences were supplied to the inhabitants by unique vending machines, which provided a number of commercial and non-commercial services, and allowed the residents to live in self-sufficiency, even when cut off from the outside world. The goal of the entire enterprise was not only to create a great casino - it was to create the perfect shelter from the nuclear holocaust. Every element of the Sierra Madre's functions is to protect its inhabitants.
In design, Sinclair was drawn to the nostalgic Art Deco era. This is reflected in the architecture of the villa and of the casino. To make it a perfect opening gala, Sinclair strengthened its frequency emissions, normally reserved for emergency broadcast signals before the war. The kitchens of the Sierra Madre aimed for a 5 star rating, and sought to bring in the best chefs from around the world. In order to meet deadlines and budgets, the construction of the Sierra Madre was handled by two different companies, a well performing company for the casino and a cheaper, slacking, corrupt company for the Villa, creating numerous incidents during the construction of the Villa.
As guardian of his paradise, Sinclair forbade any other food or vending machines beyond the ones he'd installed there and banned any personal contraband like chems, alcohol, and "foreign substances", which created a black market from the workers within. Part of Sierra Madre security's role was to prevent such contraband from entering the Villa area. They were known to have conducted inspections of the Puesta del Sol construction offices, confiscating prohibited items.
Obsessed with security, believed due to his own financial losses in the 2070s, Sinclair installed holograms, a futuristic technology purchased on an exclusive contract by Sinclair. The doors of the Sierra Madre were designed to hermetically seal in case of emergency and the speakers were shielded to prevent vandalism. The Sierra Madre Casino was equipped with an automated front desk that would escort guests to their rooms upon arrival; and security systems that would stun those entering with foreign substances or contaminated by radiation.
There is also a darker side to the Madre. In return for the technologies supplied by Big MT, Sinclair agreed to have the casino and the villa act as proving grounds for various experimental technologies such as the saturnite alloy, hazmat suits and prototype matter recombinators. Sinclair was oblivious to the fact that previous such deals did not work out too well (as is the case with Hopeville and its disastrous meteorological research project). In the Sierra Madre, the catch came in the form of the Cloud, a strange toxin created in the laboratories of Big MT.
Sierra Madre Villa
The Sierra Madre Villa was the private city of the guests, employees and workers of Frederick Sinclair, situated just before the casino. The streets were built so that cars can not circulate, preventing pollution and noise nuisance.
In addition to the main area, the Villa was composed of four districts:
- Medical District, containing the Villa Clinic.
- Puesta del Sol, which had numerous clashes and arguments with the casino construction crews and the construction lagged behind Salida del Sol. It was as if construction efforts ran out of steam and money.
- Residential District, for the casino's high rollers and entertainers.
- Salida del Sol, the home of the church and many of the casino staff.
To avoid having to spend too much money for the construction of the villa at the expense of the casino, it was poorly constructed. The material used for the Villa's construction was "sand barely held together with spit and glue." Buildings and structures in the Villa were completely unstable and could collapse overnight. All of this caused construction crews to suffer numerous setbacks and accidents. To prevent this discovery on the part of employees of the Sierra Madre, senior persons destroyed all medical reports, and were also protected legally. In addition, shipping problems also plagued the Villa. Construction explosives, countless crates of steak knives, and more were shipped to the Villa, paid for, and left.
Sierra Madre Casino
Construction of the Sierra Madre casino began a few years before the Great War. More than just a casino, the Sierra Madre is actually a fortress - a monument to one man's inability to let go. Its chief architect and financier, Frederick Sinclair, could see the Great War on the horizon, and wished to protect his love from the coming storm. To that end, he constructed the casino and its outlying Villa, and at the casino's heart, he built an almost impregnable vault. The walls of the casino are lined with a metal that interferes with radio reception and broadcasts.
What Sinclair did not anticipate was Vera's complicity with singer Dean Domino's plot to break Sinclair's spirit and steal the treasure of the Sierra Madre. Domino had enlisted her aid in his planned heist, later blackmailing her with evidence of her chem addictions, unaware that she was terminally ill. News of this broke Sinclair's heart. Left bitter and empty, he transformed his shelter into a trap, ensuring the elevator down to the vault only went in one direction, and upgrading his security holograms to make sure that rescue would never come for Vera and Domino. After Vera broke down and confessed everything, Sinclair, fearing he had overstepped himself, did what he could to reverse his changes, but was limited in success, leaving the casino a deathtrap. He died in the vault, unable to return to the casino.
The Cloud is not a natural occurrence; it is an artificially created toxin produced in Big MT not long before the war. It was deployed in the Sierra Madre as part of a greater experiment, using the casino and the Villa as testing grounds - with Sinclair completely unaware of this. The hazmat suits worn by the ghost people were a follow-up experiment to the Cloud, something many researchers in Big MT found disturbing. It is also pointed out in terminals at the Big MT research facilities that Sinclair was aware of the experimental state of the suits, but not of the Cloud.
The toxins were seemingly meant to force the usage of the newly created Auto-Docs. During the construction of the villa, construction crews discovered the gas backed up in the Sierra Madre's ventilation system and attempted to inspect it. Even trace amounts of the gas proved to be harmful. Hazmat suits that were also developed in the Big MT were ordered by the workers with the hopes that it would protect them. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case; the workers were still exposed to the Cloud and the fastenings of the suits were corroded, trapping the exposed workers inside to the point where they had to be cut free with a cosmic knife. The exposed workers were sent to the medical district, and concerns were raised about the gas building up beneath the streets.
By the time the Courier arrived two hundred years after the War, a number of the fans in the main ventilation system had gone offline, and the Cloud had completely engulfed the casino and villa, somehow preserving it despite the decades of disuse. Elijah sees the potential in this, and wants to use the Cloud in his new world, using it to preserve and cleanse Old World technology. He also plans to use it as an offensive technology, unleashing it upon the Mojave, cutting it off from the rest of the world. He could then use modified REPCONN rockets to wipe out the New California Republic (NCR) at Hoover Dam, and finally let traces of it drift west to NCR territory, killing outlying communities there. He would then presumably reset the fans of the ventilation system to remove most or all of the Cloud around the Sierra Madre.
- On the side of the Nevada Highway Patrol station, graffiti is scrawled which reads "I wish I was at the Sierra Madre", with a crying 'sad-face' painted next to it. This appears whether Dead Money has been installed or not.
- Spray painted on a Corvega billboard across from Junction 15 railway station is the legend "Gone to Sierra Madre!" Nearby, written on the back of an elevated Lucky 38 billboard closer to Sloan, is the phrase, "Left my heart in the Sierra Madre."
- In the abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker there is a message saying "Gone to Sierra Madre" on the shack wall before going down the stairs. There is also graffiti that says "Seera Madre" above the first door in the bunker.
- In the East pump station there is a poster on the wall next to the lockers saying "Sierra Madre" with a woman relaxing in an evening gown, with the words "Begin..... Again" written on it. Also in the station, are two postcard sized versions on a bulletin board next to the computer terminal on the desk. The postcards are of the woman with the cocktail and also the woman relaxing.
- There is also a poster of the Sierra Madre located in the Monte Carlo Suites.
- God says that the air in the Sierra Madre tastes like copper, or old world gold.
- Once the quest "Trigger the Gala Event" has been completed, a nuclear siren will be heard in the Sierra Madre for the rest of the add-on.
Behind the scenes
- The Sierra Madre is a reference to B. Traven's seminal 1927 Western novel, and later 1948 film, directed by John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
- The Madre look (a combination of Art Deco and Mission Revival) was conceived by Joe Sanabria and implemented by James Garcia.
- The level has many connections to Abbot Kinney, the designer of Venice, California. Kinney suffered from tuberculosis (attributed to a miasma through much of human history) and constructed a sanitarium, the Sierra Madre Villa Hotel in the San Gabriel Timberland Reserve. It was common for sufferers of tuberculosis to seek treatment in dry climates at the time. Additionally, Kinney's ghost is said to haunt Venice.