I’ve been debating about whether or not I should write this article for a long time. On the one hand, I am hesitant to nitpick a game I like a lot. On the other, I have never let that stop me from nitpicking other things I like, like Aladdin or Harry Potter.
You may say that this is silly, seeing as I’ve even written about Fallout: New Vegas once before. But that time, I was nitpicking a feature that had carried over from Fallout 3, namely the fact that you can’t smoke. With this, I would be nitpicking the story of a game I love, where the story is a big reason for WHY I love it.
But now, I have decided that I should indeed write about a few things that have been bugging me about Fallout: New Vegas. What changed my mind, you wonder?
Well, I’ll get back to you on that, but let’s cover the game itself first. I should warn you that there will be some spoilers involved, though.
Now, one complaint I’ve heard which I’m not completely agreeing with, is that the Mojave Wasteland is so small, compared to the Capital Wasteland from Fallout 3.
The thing is, I’m not so sure it is that much smaller. In fact, I think it’s actually slightly bigger. It feels a bit smaller, because there aren’t as many random groups of enemies spawning everywhere, and not as much open desert.
And I think that’s a good thing. After all, the Mojave Wasteland is not a wasteland in the same way the Capital Wasteland is. You can tell, because throughout the game, people switch between calling it “The Mojave Wasteland” and just “The Mojave”. The Capital Wasteland is a desolated, unkempt, hostile desert, where water is scarce and danger lurks beyond every hill. It’s name is describing what it is. A Wasteland.
The Mojave Wasteland, on the other hand, has an active military presence, thriving trade, several settlements that aren’t just tumbledown cottages made from scrap and, of course, Vegas itself. It is, while far from a civilized area, much safer than the Capital Wasteland. The name “Mojave Wasteland” is not a description. It’s just the name of the area.
So I don’t think that complaint is valid. Now, there are other complaints about the game that are more valid, like the voice acting being spotty at times, or the game being glitchy.
Personally, I never really care about either of those, unless the glitches are ruining the game, or the voice acting is truly appalling. But to others, this is a valid concern. When the character Benny, played by Matthew Perry, is supposed to be a suave, smooth-talking Vegas big shot, complete with Baby‘s and Ring-a-ding‘s in his dialogue, it can be distracting when he comes across as flat and uninvolved.
No, my personal issue with the game concerns the ending, or rather one specific ending. The game, like I’ve said, gives you a long slideshow upon completion, concerning the different factions or people you’ve met throughout the game, and how your actions have altered or affected them.
Now, if you finish the game in the Independant storyline, for example, you don’t get a slideshow about what the future will hold for NCR or Caesars Legion.
Of course, this is fine by me. We’re told that you’ve secured Vegas from the NCR, Caesars Legion and Mr. House, and from there we can make educated guesses. If you saved President Kimball, he is likely to be the scapegoat for the loss, and ousted from office, along with General Oliver.
And if Caesar is dead, which he’s likely to be, you’ve pretty much destroyed the legion, whether or not you kill Lanius. After all, if you talked the latter into withdrawing, convinced that taking Vegas is a terrible idea, he will return east. From there, murmurs will be spread among the generals of the legion, since the “unbeatable” Lanius retreated. Not only that, but he retreated from the campaign that killed Caesar, and it was Caesars will that the Legion take the dam. Is Lanius right to go against Caesars will? Distrust, doubt and infighting will likely result from this, eventually leading to the collapse of the legion.
(Probably not helped by the fact that as a result of one DLC, you have the option to drop nukes on Legion lands)
And unless you sided with Mr. House, you will be required to kill him, so his lack of ending is not surprising.
So, what ending, then, do I have an issue with?
The ending regarding the Followers of the Apocalypse.
See, when I played the Independent route, I had the option of asking them to support my cause. In exchange, I promised them protection in the form of robots patrolling the streets and to help them with supply shortages, all so they could establish a proper foothold in the region.
And when I finished the game, what was I told?
That the new, independent Vegas was even more unstable than before, and that the Followers struggled to provide even the most basic services.
What the hell!? Let’s make something clear! Vegas is not just a lawless area of violence now! It’s not without leaders! It’s just independent from Mr. House, NCR and the Legion!
Those robot guards I mentioned? There are a LOT of them, that we’re told are maintaining order and stability in Vegas now. After I made that promise, I would assume that would also include Freeside!
I didn’t just release Vegas. I took control over it, basically usurping Mr. Houses role of ruler of Vegas! The money and influence I now wield should be more than enough to help the Followers!
But now I’m told that I just took power, and completely went back on my promise to the Followers?! I had Good Karma when I finished the game! I know my fucking character, and I wouldn’t screw the Followers over like that without a damn good reason!
I was given the option in the game to enlist their support, so I assumed there would be some difference depending on what I decided, but either choice gets the same result.
It seems pretty likely that there was one ending missing here. They went to the trouble to put that choice in the game, so why the hell didn’t they add the result of the choice?!
Here’s where I explain the reason why I decided to write this article. That reason being that I found an answer to that question.
The answer, incidentally, addresses the other two complaints, about glitches and the voice acting.
You know who you have to blame for all the things missing from Fallout: New Vegas, the glitches, the lackluster voices?
I’ll tell you.
And I know, I know. I sound like a broken record, saying that everything is Bethesdas fault. Here I am, saying that, had Bethesda never let Obsidian make the game, these problems wouldn’t exist, right?
Do you want to know why the game is glitchy, why parts seem to be missing and the voice acting is spotty?
Because Obsidian had to cut a few things to meet their deadline.
Now, this sounds like a stupid cliché of an excuse, and you would think that this is more Obsidians fault than Bethesda, seeing as the former were the developers, and they should know how to meet a deadline.
And had you given me that excuse two weeks ago, I would probably have said the same thing.
But that was before I looked into it, and found out what that deadline actually WAS!
You know how long Fallout 3 took to make? What about Skyrim and Oblivion?
All three games took four years, from development beginning, to release.
Now, how much time were Obsidian given to complete the game? Because they weren’t given four years.
How about 13 months.
A little over a QUARTER of the time it took to make Skyrim. And of course, at least one month was just WRITING the game, and another month of gametesting!
Now, this is of course the point where I say that Obsidian, being excellent at what they do, rose to the challenge, gave it their all, and delivered the massive ball of greatness that is Fallout: New Vegas, just in time to meet the deadline.
Unfortunatly, real life isn’t a movie with a 1980’s training montage. Obsidian didn’t meet the deadline. Because of course they didn’t! It’s an insane deadline!
Luckily, the deadline was pushed back, giving them time to work out the issues. How much time, you ask?
5 more months.
What the actual fuck!?
Are you actively trying to shoot yourself in the foot?! This isn’t fucking complicated! Just give them a reasonable fucking deadline, so they can give you a great game! You don’t have to give them 4 years, but at least give them 2 years, not a year and a half!
But it turns out, those extra 5 months were exactly what was needed. The game was released, and not only equalled Fallout 3, Oblivion and Skyrim, but blew them all out of the water!
Which might explain why Bethesda took so long making New Vegas compatible on the Xbox One. I wouldn’t blame them for being a bit hesitant about it. I mean, here comes a game that proved that while Bethesda can make a world look good, they are terrible at using that world and its contents effectively.
If you were Bethesda, would you want people to play that game? They’d want people to play Skyrim instead. After all, there’s no way someone could come along and take that engine and humiliate Bethesda all over again…
That is, unless you count the upcoming “Enderal” RPG, which is taking Skyrims engine and attempt to use it properly. I have only seen a trailer, but it looks very interesting. And this is done by hobbyists, for free!
Unfortunately, it’s a mod for Skyrim, and like I said, I play on console, so I won’t be able to enjoy it even if I DID own a copy of Skyrim.
And while I am happy about the engine being used properly, it does also confirm what I’ve been saying all along. Skyrim requires mods to be good, and by the time it is good, it’s a completely different game.
This is just the final expression of that idea.
Now, on the one hand, as I’m writing this, “Enderal” has yet to be released, so I can’t say if it is any good yet. But on the other, it’s not like it could be much WORSE.