Fallout: New Vegas locations project
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You've heard of the Sierra Madre Casino. We all have, the legend, the curses. Foolishness about it lying in the middle of the City of the Dead, buried beneath a blood-red cloud. A bright, shining monument luring treasure hunters to their doom.”— Father Elijah, Dead Money
The Sierra Madre is a mystic place in the wastes. Travelers and prospectors alike risk their lives to find the legendary city. Only one man truly "found" it and lived. The Courier is lured to the Sierra Madre by a faint radio broadcast advertising the gala grand opening.
The city and the casino were designed and funded by one man, Frederick Sinclair, his last venture a few years before the Great War. The Sierra Madre, especially the casino, was intended as a place for guests to reverse their fortunes and "begin again". During its construction until the end, it remained a reclusive area. All conveniences were supplied to the inhabitants by unique vending machines, which provided a number of commercial and non-commercial services, allow the residents to live in self-sufficiency, even when cut off from the world. The goal of the entire enterprise was not only to create a grand casino - it was to construct the perfect shelter from the nearing nuclear holocaust. Every element of the Sierra Madre's functions was to protect its residents.
In design, Sinclair was drawn to the nostalgic Art Deco era; this is reflected in the architecture of the villa and casino. To make it a perfect opening gala, Sinclair strengthened its frequency emissions, normally reserved for emergency broadcast signals before the war. The kitchens of the Sierra Madre aimed for a 5 star rating, and sought to bring in the best chefs from around world. In order to meet deadlines and budgets, the construction of the Sierra Madre was handled by two different companies, a well-performing reputable company for the casino and a cheaper, slacking and corrupt company for the villa, which created numerous incidents during the construction of it.
As guardian of his paradise, Sinclair forbade any other food or vending machines beyond the ones he had installed and banned any personal contraband like chems, alcohol, and "foreign substances", which created a black market from the workers within. Part of Sierra Madre security's role was to prevent such contraband from entering the villa area and they are known to have conducted inspections of the Puesta del Sol construction offices and confiscating prohibited items.
Sinclair's obsession with security, often attributed to his financial losses in the 70s, led to the Sierra Madre being provided with militarized holograms, a futuristic technology developed in the Big MT Z-38 lightwave dynamics research facility on a generous grant provided by Sinclair. The doors of the Sierra Madre were designed to hermetically seal in case of emergency, while its floors were constructed to isolate frequencies and disable electronics not connected directly through cables on every floor. Furthermore, the Sierra Madre Casino had an automated front desk that would escort guests to their rooms upon arrival, while security systems would stun those entering with foreign substances or contaminated by radiation. Though shocking at first glance, all these precautions were put inplace to reinforce the Madre's status as an impenetrable fortress in case of nuclear war, built to protect its inhabitants, especially Sinclair's lover, Vera Keyes.
The construction and all the futuristic technologies contained within led Sinclair to near bankruptcy. But money was not the most important price Sinclair paid; to afford all the technologies he requested from Big MT, he agreed for Sierra Madre to act as proving grounds for experimental technologies created in the labs of the Big MT, including Saturnite alloy knives, next generation Auto-Docs and prototype matter recombinators. Sinclair was not privy to information about other such deals made by Big MT and the fate of their "test cities" on American soil (such as the disastrous meteorological experiments in Hopeville). The deal with Big MT was an almost literal deal with the devil: apart from usable miracle technologies, the Big MT also used the Sierra Madre to field test the Cloud, a completely new toxic weapon developed in its Z-43 Innovative Toxins plant, as well as their prototype hazmat suits designed to withstand such toxins.
When the War came, the Sierra Madre failed its occupants. Though using cutting edge technology capable of real miracles, the experimental, prototypical nature of many its components ultimately led to it becoming a death trap for all. The Great Static caused the holograms to go berserk, attacking casino visitors and staff, while the Madre sealed up tightly, trapping everyone inside, dooming them to a slow death. The shoddily built Villa was thus left to rot, and as the aging ventilation system gradually gave up the ghost, the Cloud began to emerge, eventually engulfing the entire Sierra Madre in an eerie, red mist.
 Sierra Madre Villa
The Sierra Madre Villa was the private city of the guests, employees and workers of Frederick Sinclair, situated just below the casino sitting atop the hill. The streets were built so that cars can not circulate, preventing pollution and noise nuisance.
In addition to the central area, the Villa was composed of four peripheral districts:
- The medical district, which contained the Villa clinic.
- Puesta del Sol, which had numerous clashes and arguments with the casino construction crews and the construction lagged behind Salida del Sol. It was as if construction efforts ran out of steam and money.
- The residential district, for the casino's high rollers and entertainers.
- Salida del Sol, the home of the church and many of the casino staff.
To avoid having to fund superfluous expenditures for the construction of the Villa at the expense of the casino, it was poorly constructed. The material used for the Villa's construction was "sand barely held together with spit and glue", buildings and structures in the Villa were completely unstable and could collapse overnight. All of this caused construction crews to suffer numerous setbacks and accidents. To prevent this discovery on the part of employees of the Sierra Madre, senior persons destroyed all medical reports, and were also protected legally. In addition, shipping problems also plagued the Villa. Construction explosives, countless crates of steak knives, and more were shipped to the Villa, paid for, and left.
 Sierra Madre Casino
The world's most famous stars and entertainers were invited to the Sierra Madre Grand Opening. An invitation was a sign of... exclusiveness. The opening was supposed to symbolize a brighter future, not just for the world... but for all who came to its doors. A chance for anyone to begin again. Except - the Sierra Madre never opened. The war froze it in time, like a big flashbulb going off. The Grand Opening - one big ending of humanity. It's still out there in the Wastes, preserved, just waiting for someone to crack it open. But getting to it. That's not the hard part. It's letting go.”— Elijah
The Sierra Madre Casino is more than a casino - it's a fortress, a monument to one man's inability to let go. Its founder, Frederick Sinclair, could see the Great War on the horizon, and wished to protect his love from the coming storm. To that end, he constructed the Casino and its outlying Villa, and at the Casino's heart, he built an almost impregnable vault. The walls of the casino are lined with a metal that interferes with radio reception and broadcasts.
What Sinclair did not anticipate was Vera's complicity with lounge singer Dean Domino's plot to break Sinclair's spirit and steal the treasure of the Sierra Madre. Domino had enlisted her aid in his planned heist, later blackmailing her with evidence of her chem addictions, completely unaware that she was terminally ill. News of this broke Sinclair's heart. Left bitter and empty, he transformed his shelter into a trap, ensuring the elevator down to the vault only went in one direction, and upgrading his security holograms to make sure that rescue would never come for Vera and Domino. After Vera broke down and confessed everything, Sinclair, fearing he had overstepped himself, did what he could to reverse his changes, but was limited in success, leaving the casino a deathtrap. He died in the vault, unable to return to the casino.
 The Cloud
The Cloud is not a natural occurrence; it is an artificially created corrosive agent possibly intended as a chemical weapon for the war effort created in a Big MT facility. It was deployed in the Sierra Madre as part of a greater experiment, using the casino and the villa as testing grounds - with Sinclair fully unaware of this. The Darklight Hazmat suits worn by the ghost people were a follow up experiment to The Cloud, something many researchers in Big MT found disturbing. It is also pointed out in terminals in Big MT research facilities that Sinclair was aware of the experimental state of the suits, but not of the Cloud.
The toxins were seemingly meant to force the usage of the newly created Auto-Docs. During the construction of the villa, construction crews discovered the gas backed up in the Sierra Madre's ventilation system, and attempted to inspect it. Even trace amounts of the gas proved to be harmful. Hazmat suits that were also developed in the Big Empty were ordered by the workers with the hopes that it would protect them. Unfortunately this wasn't the case; the workers were still exposed to the Cloud and the fastenings of the suits were corroded, trapping the exposed workers inside to the point where they had to be cut free with a cosmic knife. The exposed workers were sent to the medical district, and concerns were raised about the gas building up beneath the streets.
By the time the Courier arrived, two hundred years after the War, a number of the fans in the main ventilation system had gone offline, and the Cloud had completely engulfed the casino and villa, somehow preserving it despite the decades of disuse. Elijah sees the potential in this, and wants to use the Cloud in his new world, using it to preserve and cleanse Old World technology. He also plans to use it as an offensive weapon, unleashing it upon the Mojave, cutting it off from the rest of the world. He could then use modified REPCONN rockets to wipe out the New California Republic (NCR) at Hoover Dam, and finally let traces of it drift west to NCR territory, killing outlying communities there. He would then presumably reset the fans of the ventilation system to remove most or all of the Cloud around the Sierra Madre.
The Villa rests below the resort in a valley. It provides guests with all the accommodations they desire during their stay with a residential and medical district with a clinic. The additional districts of Puesta and Salida del Sol provide guests with other amenities. Puesta contains multiple gift shops and other attractions while Salida contains the homes of the casino staff and the church in Campanas del Sol. A police station is also present to oversee activity in the Villa.
The hotel rests atop a cliff overlooking the Villa. The casino is far less dangerous than the Villa, but still remains hazardous. A main lobby connects to a theatre, restaurant, casino, and executive suites. The Sierra Madre vault rests within the suites.
- The Sierra Madre is hinted to throughout Fallout: New Vegas and many of its add-ons.
- On the side of the Nevada Highway Patrol station, scrawled graffiti reads "I wish I was at the Sierra Madre", with a crying 'sad-face' painted next to it. This appears whether Dead Money has been installed or not.
- In the Abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker there is a message saying "Gone to Sierra Madre" on the shack wall before going down the stairs.
- In the East pump station, there is a poster on the wall next to the lockers saying "Sierra Madre" with a woman relaxing in an evening gown, with the words "Begin..... Again" written on it. Also in the station, are two postcard sized versions on a bulletin board next to the computer terminal on the desk. The postcards are of the woman with the cocktail and also the woman relaxing.
- There is also a poster of the Sierra Madre located in the Monte Carlo Suites.
- Southwest of the Junction 15 railway station the words "Gone to the Sierra Madre" are written in graffiti on a Corvega billboard.
- Northeast of Sloan,the phrase "Left My Heart In The Sierra Madre" is written on the back of an elevated Lucky 38 billboard.
- South of Griffin Wares sacked caravan,the phrases "Gone To Sierra Madre" and "Left My Heart In the Sierra Madre" are written on the back of a Silver Rush billboard.
- Sierra Madre can translate into Mountain Mother or "Mother Mountain" since Sierra refers to mountains and Madre is Spanish for mother.
- In contemporary Spanish, "Sierra Madre" usually refers to the Sierra Madre mountain range in northwestern Mexico. This mountain range is also mentioned in the film Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which Dead Money is partially based on.
 Behind the scenes
- The Sierra Madre is a reference to B. Traven's seminal 1927 Western novel, and later 1948 film, directed by John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
- The Madre look (a combination of Art Deco and Mission Revival) was conceived by Joe Sanabria and implemented by James Garcia.
- Megan Parks created the modular signs, art deco beds, dressers, light sconces and various other props for the Sierra Madre.