Before Bethesda took the task of developing Fallout 3, Black Isle Studios was in charge of developing Fallout and Fallout 2. After financial difficulties, Interplay laid off the entire development team. Then in 2003, Obsidian Entertainment was created with Black Isle’s former employees and is now taking on the task of developing Fallout: New Vegas. What can we expect to see from the newest Fallout with the original team back? Well, a lot.
First and foremost is the hardcore mode that can be accessed in the game’s opening. All of the tutorials are skipped after you customize your character, and you are thrown into the wasteland of Las Vegas all by your lonesome self. Hardcore mode mainly focuses on your character’s health. Stimpacks in regular difficulty modes heal instantly, but in hardcore they heal over time. There is also a starvation and dehydration mechanic to make exploration even more tedious. And instead of being able to cure your crippled limbs, a town doctor will have to do it for you. Ammo is also weighted now, and players will have to sacrifice their stolen loot to prevent being over-encumbered. Hardcore mode sounds ideal for the veteran vault-dwellers. Not only does it make the game more realistic, it adds a fair amount of challenge.
The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S., is also updated. The battle system, which allowed players to target specific body parts, can now be used with melee weapons. Upset because you weren’t able to get a headshot with a golf club in Fallout 3? Well now you can. Weapons also can be modified. Each weapon can only have three mods on them, but adding scopes with extended magazines to your weapons sounds like more than enough.
It also seems that your actions carry a higher consequence. Throughout the game, you can slaughter anyone that looks at you the wrong way and complete quests as a savior or a heartless maniac. Whatever you decide, your reputation will follow. In Fallout: New Vegas, your reputation among various factions will be constantly tracked, and will even give you access to new areas in the game.
Keep in mind that Fallout: New Vegas is not a sequel to Fallout 3. Vegas takes place in 2280, 3 years after the events of Fallout 3. Vegas looks exciting and fresh, with just the right amount of tampering to keep veteran players interested and new players entertained. Expect Fallout: New Vegas sometime this fall.