There’s no doubt that Obsidian Entertainment’s entry into the Fallout universe with New Vegas was one that instantly received a lot of fanfare. Many Fallout fans hailed their take on the Wasteland for its incredible characters and unique gameplay, but that doesn’t mean that it launched without critique.
Despite being outsourced outside of Bethesda, New Vegas very much felt like a Fallout game but one criticism that it received that it felt “rushed” in a lot of areas and the very immediate ending for the game didn’t help that feeling. Writer Chris Avellone recently sat down with the team over at Eurogamer to talk about that ending and provide a little nuance as to why the studio went that particular route.
The original plan, according to Avellone, was to have players be able to explore the Wasteland after the main story was completed. For those that felt that all of their choices amounted to nothing after the very abrupt conclusion, that feeling of incompletion was completely valid because the team originally had a very different idea on how they wanted to handle the narrative. Unfortunately, the desire for more content was there but the studio didn’t actually make any moves to make those goals a reality, leaving the phenomenal experience with a very lackluster ending.
“Designing post-game content is not hard to do if you’re keeping it in mind with each NPC and quest as you’re designing it (like doing a Karma check, faction check, or just another global reactivity check, which we had to do anyway)–sometimes all it needs is a post-endgame line,” Avellone told the site. “But if you haven’t planned for it throughout your design process for your areas and characters, it can be a lot of work to go back and add later on. And while some designers had planned for it–for example, our lead writer had lines for Mr. House in place for post-game reactivity and Strip Securitrons–not all areas had post-game design work.”
The idea to toss in some post-launch DLC was brought up, though launch technical issues soon took over as priority number one. Unfortunately for those hoping for more, the many bugs and changes needed took up all of the resources previously allocated for any sort of post-story DLC to make it less cut off.
“We did examine all the logistic impacts of doing post-game content with limited resources,” Avellone added. “But it was clear we’d be putting the already shaky game stability at risk … by creating [a] post-Hoover Dam option, even in a minimal fashion. The most we could manage was level-scaling for key enemies (like the Legate) with the introduction of the new level caps in the DLCs, since the additional levels made the previous boss fights too easy for the player.”
“That said, we did look at potential minor additions where we could, including a reserved save game slot before Hoover Dam (which we were able to do), and looking into adding Ulysses as a companion you could take back into the main game from the DLC. But an evaluation of that revealed that it would likely break a number of scripts (companion weapon removal, teleportation scripts), and even scripts for the other DLCs that automatically removed companions from your party.”
The team even pitched possibly self-funding a continuation, but those offers were quickly shut down to halt any delays for the DLC already in place.
You can read more about the journey of New Vegas right here.