|For the Lonesome Road quest, see The Courier (quest).|
Your face does the thinking - two to the skull, yet one gets up. Odds are against you... but they're just numbers after the two-to-one.
You're playing the hand you've been dealt, but you don't let it rest, you shuffle and stack, and a gamble... a gamble that may pay off? But how?
Forecast: Rapidly changing conditions.”— The Forecaster
Most of the Courier's past is shrouded in mystery. What is known is that some time before taking the fateful contract to deliver the platinum chip, the Courier lived as a drifter, earning a reputation as a veteran of the trail who had traveled all over New California (according to Ulysses the Courier has been to Circle Junction, New Reno, Vault City, Fort Abandon, and on brahmin drives at the Big Circle). Yet the Courier had some sort of connection to the budding community of the Divide in southern California (Ulysses claims that the Courier regularly traveled through the area, and contributed a great deal in keeping it alive).
After the New California Republic attacked and sacked Navarro, they recovered a piece of tech they didn't fully understand, but they recognized several symbols (such as the Old World flag). They later linked these symbols to similar markings they saw in the Divide. The Courier took on the job to return it there, perhaps because the markings reminded them of home. But after making the delivery, the package turned out to be a detonator that contained missile launch codes. According to Ulysses, the package "woke up" and sent the detonation signal to missiles locked in the silos, resulting in massive earthquakes and powerful storms wiping out the community in its infancy, leaving Ulysses as the only survivor. The Courier was apparently not present when the destruction happened, and therefore didn't know of it.
In 2281, the Courier was one of six messengers hired by the Mojave Express to deliver packages to the New Vegas Strip, with the Courier carrying the parcel containing the only item of worth: Robert House's platinum chip, delivering it all the way from near Hub, California. The Courier got the job after Ulysses pulled out when he learned that the Courier's name was next on the list. The Courier was intercepted by Benny, who then shot the Courier in the head twice and left them for dead, buried alive in a shallow grave in the Goodsprings cemetery. The Courier was dug out by Victor, a friendly Securitron under Mr. House's control. The Courier was then nursed back to health by Doc Mitchell, the resident doctor of Goodsprings.
Following their return to health, the Courier gradually became one of the most influential figures of the Mojave, deciding the outcome of the Second Battle for Hoover Dam; solving the mystery of the Sierra Madre as Collar 21, enslaved by Elijah; resolving the War for Zion; claiming the Big MT as their own; and finally, confronting Ulysses in the remains of the Divide and deciding the fate of the Mojave.
Other background information
The player can make several suggestions about their past through in-game dialogue options. Since these are, as the name suggests, optional, they are down to player choice and as such, do not form part of the player's background until they have been selected.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of elements of the character's past which can be explicitly expressed by players during gameplay:
- During Dr. Mitchell's word association test, one of the possible responses to "mother" is "regret".
- It can be suggested during dialogue with Veronica Santangelo that the Courier does not know where they were born.
- The Courier can tell Cass that they do not know what a fish is. Or, on the contrary: an intelligent Courier may test her knowledge about fish, clearly aware of their nature although they are practically non-existent in California or the Mojave Wasteland and may only be found in Lake Mead or Zion Canyon.
- Upon learning from the Lonesome Drifter that he is from Montana and looking for his disappeared father, the Courier can, if he is male and has the Lady Killer perk, ask the Drifter if he would not happen to be exactly 17 years old. When the Drifter says he is not, the Courier responds with relief.
- Before setting off to New Canaan, the Courier can tell Jed Masterson that they have not been to Utah in some time, implying that they have been there before.
- Dialogue choices throughout Honest Hearts heavily imply that the Courier has never heard of Christianity.
- One of the epilogues of Old World Blues states that the Courier knows very little about communism or high schools, though this is an inference from the X-13 computer system.
- When the ED-E from the Divide plays the log of his discovery by a child and his father in Chicago, Illinois, the Courier may speak as familiar with Illinois but may ask "What's a Chicago?"
- After hearing one of ED-E's recordings and discovers that ED-E is trying to find his way home, The Courier can remark that they feel the same way and adds "Why do you think I became a courier?"
- In the opening cutscene the Courier can be briefly seen wearing a recolored male version of the caravaneer outfit with a light colored cowboy hat along with some tan workgloves.
- The Courier in promotional images is shown as being a Caucasian male with blonde hair - the first pre-made character during character customization.
- The Courier is more customizable physically than the Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3, with the option to edit the Courier's age.
- In one of the endings of Dead Money, the Courier can become trapped in the Sierra Madre Casino Vault and eventually die there. However, since the events of Dead Money must take place before the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, this ending is non-canon as the Courier's true fate sees them taking part in the Battle.
- The Courier was shown wearing an armored Vault 21 jumpsuit during Fallout: New Vegas previews and in the Fallout: New Vegas ending. However, this item never appears in-game. But, it can be acquired on the PC with downloading the JSawyer mod.
- During the events of Old World Blues, the Courier becomes a cyborg. Even if they should choose to reinstall their original brain, heart, and spine, some of the advanced replacement technology will remain.
- The Courier isn't an amnesiac.
Behind the scenes
- Originally, the player would have been able to choose the Courier's race. Obsidian planned for the options of Human, Ghoul, and Super Mutant; however, Bethesda strongly advised against on the bases of reworking armor and weapons for each race. Obsidian followed Bethesda's advice and the left the Courier human.
- The Courier: "Why would I have brought it here?"
Ulysses: "I've walked the East. You've walked the West, more than I have. Circle Junction. Reno. Vault City. Word of you at Fort Aradesh... Fort Abandon. Even further West than that, Brahmin drives on the Big Circle. Whatever you saw out there, wasn't enough to make you stay. Maybe the markings on the package reminded you of the road home."
- Chris Avellone on his blog
- "The Courier carried his/her delivery from southern NCR, toward the Hub. We intentionally left the Courier's origins and the exact nature of the initial transaction vague." - J.E. Sawyer
- The Courier: "I haven't been through Utah recently - what's the situation like?"
Jed Masterson: "Well, it ain't good, I'll tell you that. It's not like the Mojave or the NCR - hell, even Arizona under Caesar is safer. You got raiders all over the damn place, tribes of degenerates that'll eat you as soon as look at you, regional warlords... the works. Not too many decent places to stop and trade. New Canaan's one of the only ones left I know about."
(Jed Masterson's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Sometimes I feel the same way. Why do you think I became a courier?"
ED-E "<Melancholy beeping>"
(ED-E's dialogue (Lonesome Road))
- Joshua Sawyer: "The Courier is not an amnesiac. Questions about the NCR, Legion, local goings on, etc. are present so the player does not stumble around without a clue. We can't assume any given player is familiar with these factions."
- "Fallout: New Vegas was once Fallout: Sin City and had three playable races" Eurogamer