JE Sawyer Talks New Vegas

Xbox360Achievements has an interview with JE Sawyer, the lead designer on Obsidian’s upcoming post-apocalyptic title, Fallout New Vegas. Though we recommend you head over there to read it in full, we have the most interesting details for you here at Nightmare Mode.

When speaking on the setting, JE says that Vegas is the opposite of DC, stating that “When many people think of Washington D.C., they think of traditional American virtues and the history of our young country.  It’s full of the enduring monuments of our nation.  In contrast, Las Vegas is a city that appeals to contemporary American vices.”

Is the dichotomy in values the reason why this location was chosen, perhaps? Hasn’t Fallout always been about juxtaposing that 50’s notion of American values against the stark reality of their post-apocalyptic world as a means of commenting on society? In that sense, DC is a perfect location to extrapolate social commentary with that theme. It’ll be interesting to see how Vegas as a setting and its different moral values differ–what sort of social commentary will arise from this?

Sawyer also tells us about the new reputation system implemented in New Vegas. Each community will track the reputation of the player, and similarly to 3, its citizens will react differently to you depending on what that reputation is. This allows you to have mixed reputations in the game, which is probably better than having just a single reputation tracker. It was strange for someone in Megaton to come up to me and give me gifts when they probably had no way of knowing about all the good deeds I had done somewhere else entirely. Having separate trackers means that person in Megaton was more likely to want to kill me after they realized that I had, in fact, robbed everyone in that town blind in spite of my benevolent actions somewhere else.

When speaking about mods, Sawyer says that “most of the mods are of the traditional variety” because “In the Fallout universe, the western portion of the United States is a lot more industrialized”. This means that we won’t be seeing any wacky mods like we might in Borderlands. He cites the following examples of possible mods, “extended magazines for pistols, larger ammunition drums for submachine guns, custom high-speed actions for lever-action rifles, silencers, suppressors, and so on.  We also have mods for energy weapons and explosives, like focus optics for the laser rifle (increases damage), and the “Little Boy” kit for the Fat Man, which drastically reduces its weight.”

He also reveals that there have been some significant changes to what the SPECIAL system will affect. For example, weapons now have strength requirements. This means that if you’re a more intelligent, charismatic character, then you probably will not be able to use that bazooka you stole from a mutant very well. Frankly this sounds a bit disappointing, because Fallout is one of the only series out there which allows you to mix and match different ‘classes’. It allowed me to create my awesome lock-picking, mini-gun wielding, smooth talking deviant. Sawyer explains that “If you don’t meet the weapon’s requirements, your aim will suffer (for firearms) or it will attack more slowly (if a melee or unarmed weapon).  Strength also affects how far you can throw weapons like grenades.”

Stay tuned as we bring you more New Vegas details as they arise!