With Obsidian Entertainment's Fallout: New Vegas being a beloved entry to the franchise, why didn't we get a sequel to 2021's fan-favourite title?
Whether it's slots, blackjack, poker, or simply sitting at the side and sipping the free cocktails, Obsidian Entertainment's Fallout: New Vegas had something for everyone. Although the title of first Fallout spin-off goes to Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, the idea of branching out beyond the main franchise was revisited for New Vegas in 2010.
Giving the nuclear apocalypse a splash of neon, New Vegas shied away from the usual story that had made Fallout such a hit and handed the reins to Obsidian for something a little more fun.
Fallout 3 was an undeniable hit for Bethesda Softworks, which is great news after it took over from Black Isle Studios and Interplay Productions. Seeing it was on to a good thing, Fallout: New Vegas was fast-tracked into production under Obsidian. The developer gave birth to something that would become a cult classic and was an all-round hit. Set in the dusty plains of the Mojave Desert, you played as a mysterious character known as the Courier.
After being shot and left for dead, the Courier dived into the crime-riddled underbelly of New Vegas and bridged the gap between the warring factions of the New California Republic (NCR), Caesar's Legion, and Mr House. All three sides were vying for control of New Vegas, while the player's decisions would ultimately affect the outcome. We were introduced to fan-favourite Fallout creations like Mr House, Craig Boone, and Raul Tejeda (expertly voiced by Danny Trejo), but sadly, they've been MIA ever since.
Everyone has their favourite Fallout title, but when it comes to New Vegas, it hit that sweet spot of action and aesthetics that sees it tops many gamers' lists. Unfortunately, the gambling goliath lucked out after just one game and was beaten by the House. A whole decade later, and with fans still asking "Where is New Vegas 2?", here's why Obsidian dealt us the hand it did.
Why hasn't there been Fallout: New Vegas 2?
Owning the honour of being the "best" Fallout game of all time is no small feat. Despite Obsidian's title being a runaway success and having sold an estimated 12 million copies of New Vegas, the story stopped there. Following the game's mind-boggling success, Bethesda returned to the tried and tested format of mainline Fallout games. This led to Fallout 4 in 2015, while the next official spin-off was Fallout 76 in 2018 - more on that later.
It's not that the opportunity of Fallout: New Vegas 2 hasn't ever come up, it simply hasn't been broached. Obsidian has been busy with the likes of Pillars of Eternity and The Outer Worlds - which some have dubbed a spiritual successor to New Vegas. Fallout 5 is reportedly out there somewhere, meaning Bethesda could adopt a sequence of main series entry, spin-off, main series. Unfortunately, this would make another New Vegas or spin-off title a VERY long way off.
Has there ever been a Fallout: New Vegas sequel?
No official New Vegas sequel has ever seen the light of day; however, it has been hinted at in the larger Fallout wasteland. Notably, Fallout 4 sent the rumour mill into overdrive with its "Cabot House" mission. When you'd wrapped up the quest, the NPC Jack said: "Maybe I'll finally travel to the Southwest. My father was always convinced that there was another alien city buried somewhere in the Mojave Desert". It was at least acknowledgement that Bethesda hadn't forgotten New Vegas.
Elsewhere, there have been calls for a New Vegas remaster. It's hard to believe that a game so loved is still in that rare position of not having a remaster. As we head into the next generation of consoles and watch the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X vie for pole position, now would be a lucrative time to hear the buzz of the New Vegas neon once again.
Even though New Vegas has sadly been resigned to the apocalyptic wasteland it sprung from, Fallout: New Vegas has lived on in some form thanks to fan support. Considering Obsidian has been engulfed by Microsoft and is busy on other projects, it's been up to the New Vegas community to get creative. After Obsidian trademarked the name Fallout: New Vegas in 2016, the developer's tease of "Project Lousianna" set tongues wagging that New Orleans would be the next stop on the map as a New Vegas sequel, however, we were left disappointed when this turned out to be a codename for Pillars of Eternity 2.
Even hopes of Fallout: New Orleans pale in comparison to the actual existence of Fallout: New California. The brainchild of Brandan Lee and Radian-Helix Media, New California was a fan-made mod released in two parts, with the first instalment coming in 2013 and the second in 2018. This prequel charted the events 21 years before New Vegas, and although it was supposed to be a three-part saga, the third never came to pass. Unfortunately, even New California's beloved status doesn't mean it can be counted as an official Fallout game or give it the backing of Obsidian/Bethesda.
Can Microsoft resurrect Fallout: New Vegas?
While the idea of New Vegas 2 has slipped into the realms of "What If?", Microsoft's recent takeover of Bethesda has led to obvious speculation the company could roll the dice with a sequel.
Both Team Sony and Team Microsoft have carved their own legacy with first-party titles, but when it comes to Xbox-only titles, the general consensus is Microsoft trails behind its biggest competitor. Taking over Bethesda's acclaimed back catalogue is a huge coup for Microsoft - especially when it comes to the potential of Fallout.
We expect Fallout 5 at some point in the next generation, but with a full decade passing between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3, and seven years between Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, we're not expecting a title any time soon. Added to this, let's remember Bethesda is (apparently) hard at work on Starfield, which was announced back in 2018 and has barely made a noise since.
Thankfully, the various rumours and snippets lead to a New Vegas continuation being slightly more than a pipe dream. In 2020, Project Director and Lead Designer Joshua Sawyer posted on Twitter and wrote, "I am directing my own project now (it's just not Avowed)". It's far from confirmation of Fallout: New [Insert City Here], but still, we're allowed to hope. The update comes off the back of a 2017 interview where Sawyer told IGN he'd love to return to Fallout in some capacity.
The Obsidian bigwig told the site, "I know there are tons of people at Obsidian who would love to work on a Fallout game again. If we were given the chance, we would certainly love to". Of course, Microsoft doesn't even need the Obsidian team to tackle another New Vegas. The combined might of Microsoft and Bethesda's teams means there's a whole host of gaming minds who could put their talents to the test. Let's also remember how Interplay founder Brian Fargo has since moved on to run inXile Entertainment, which you guessed it, is also owned by Microsoft.
It's unclear what Microsoft has planned for Bethesda's impressive IPs, but in the unlikely event the company was going to turn Fallout into an Xbox-exclusive franchise, Fallout: New Vegas 2 would be one hell of a way to lure gamers over. Whether a Fallout: New Vegas sequel is just the hopes of gaming journos reading between the lines or something more, at least we can rest assured that any potential outing would probably be better received than Fallout 76. What, too soon?
Images via Obsidian Entertainment | Bethesda