Fallout: New Vegas is a 2010 action role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was announced in April 2009 and released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 19, 2010. A spin-off of the Fallout series, the game is set in a post-apocalyptic open world environment that encompasses a region consisting of Arizona, California, and Nevada. It is set in a world that deviated onto an alternate timeline thanks to Atomic Age technology, which eventually led to a global nuclear apocalypse in the year 2077 in an event referred to as "The Great War", caused by a major conflict between the U.S. and China over natural resources. The main story of New Vegas takes place in the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3 and 204 years after the bombs fell. It is not a direct sequel, but does feature the return of several elements found in Fallout 2.
Players take control of a character known as the Courier. While transporting a package across the Mojave Desert to the city of New Vegas, what used to be Las Vegas, the Courier is ambushed, robbed of the package, shot, and buried in a cemetery. Ultimately the Courier is dug out and recovers from their wound. The Courier then begins a journey to find their would-be killer and recover the package, makes friends and enemies among various warring factions, and ultimately becomes caught up in a conflict that will determine who controls New Vegas and the Mojave Wasteland.
New Vegas received positive reviews, with critics praising the game's writing, quests, and improved gameplay, though it was criticized for its glitches and bugs on launch. It was a commercial success, shipping more than 5 million copies, and is estimated to have sold around 12 million copies worldwide. The game received a Golden Joystick Award for "RPG of the Year" in 2011 and was nominated for two BAFTA Awards (Best Strategy Game and Best Story), as well as a NAVGTR Award for Supporting Performance in a Drama (Felicia Day). It has since obtained a cult following, with some critics referring to the game as the best in the Fallout series as well as one of the greatest RPGs of all time.
While gameplay from Fallout 3 was retained for Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian Entertainment worked upon providing the game with improvements upon existing elements while introducing some old and new features to the series. Some improvements and new features are included. Combat is improved upon, with the V.A.T.S. system being updated with several new V.A.T.S.-specific attacks, and a number of kill animations being made for several of the game's melee weapons. The response and accuracy given from weapons were also improved. Players can use the iron sights on firearms, with the exception of certain larger guns and some energy weapons. The third-person perspective in the game was redesigned to be more "over the shoulder" than it had been in Fallout 3. The Character Creation section of the game was refined to take less time than Fallout 3, with players able to skip the tutorials and proceed across the Wasteland once their character is set up. The option to make any last minute changes to their character occurs when the player steps beyond the boundaries of the starting location of Goodsprings. More Perks were added to the game to provide greater options for improving the player's characters upon leveling up, and perks that only added to skill values were removed. The player can only take one Perk every two levels instead of every level like in Fallout 3, in an attempt to prevent players from becoming too strong early in the game. More weapons were added to the game, including the 9mm Pistol, the Single Shotgun, Powder Charges, Dynamite, Trail Carbine, and Grenade Launcher, with each weapon added being intended to serve a specific and tactical role within the game. The "Big Guns" and "Small Guns" skills are consolidated into one skill, "Guns", and the skill of Survival was added, adapted from the first and second game's Outdoorsman skill. In New Vegas, this skill affects how much health is restored by food and drink. Skills have a larger effect on conversation choices; whether a dialogue option will succeed or fail is shown up front, and entirely dependent on Skill level, rather than both skill and chance as was the case in Fallout 3. Players can receive a temporary boost to a skill by reading a skill magazine corresponding to it, which can be found around the Mojave Wasteland or purchased from vendors, the effects of which can be further enhanced by certain Perks. Players can gamble by visiting casinos across the wasteland and purchasing chips with one of the three currencies available. The games available at these casinos are blackjack, slots, or roulette, and success rate is dependent on the player's Luck stat. Players can also play a card game called Caravan, which was specifically designed for the game and has its own rules, and can be played with certain people outside of the casinos.