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Fallout: New Vegas intro

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Truth is...the game was rigged from the start.

— Benny

The Fallout: New Vegas intro is the introductory cutscene for the third game set in the west.

Transcript

begins playing the song "Blue Moon" inside the casino of the Lucky 38 with a crooked portrait of the casino, the camera slowly rotating upright and moving away to reveal more of its surroundings. It proceeds to exit the casino, picking up pace as it tours the Strip while Blue Moon slowly becomes fainter amidst the background of the carousal about the street. The camera zooms out further to the perimeter of the auroral city to an NCR Ranger Veteran firing a lethal shot at an armed fiend just beyond the confines of New Vegas.

In the distant hillside, a scout observes the hotbed of activity beside a flag bearing the mark of Caesar's Legion, Legionaries passing behind him as a veteran commander gives them calculated orders. Once more, the camera resumes even further from the city distinguishable only by its glow amidst the dark, night air of the Mojave. The scene becomes Goodsprings cemetery, presently active with a small group of Great Khans digging a shallow grave intended for the unconscious Courier, and Benny standing only feet away. The opening narration by Ron Perlman begins.

Narration

War. War never changes.

When atomic fire consumed the earth, those who survived did so in great, underground vaults. When they opened, their inhabitants set out across ruins of the old world to build new societies, establish new villages, form new tribes.

As decades passed, what had been the American southwest united beneath the flag of the New California Republic, dedicated to old-world values of democracy and the rule of law. As the Republic grew, so did its needs. Scouts spread east, seeking territory and wealth, in the dry and merciless expanse of the Mojave desert. They returned with tales of a city untouched by the warheads that had scorched the rest of the world, and a great wall spanning the Colorado River.

The NCR mobilized its army and set it east to occupy the Hoover Dam, and restore it to working condition. But across the Colorado, another society had arisen under a different flag. A vast army of slaves, forged in the conquest of 86 tribes: Caesar's Legion.

Four years have passed since the Republic held the Dam - just barely - against the Legion's onslaught. The Legion did not retreat. Across the river, they gathered strength. Campfires burned, training drums beat.

Through it all, the New Vegas Strip has stayed open for business under the control of its mysterious overseer, Mr. House, and his army of rehabilitated Tribals and police robots.

You are a courier, hired by the Mojave Express, to deliver a package to the New Vegas Strip. What seemed like a simple delivery job has taken a turn…for the worse.

Ron the Narrator, Fallout: New Vegas intro

The graveyard scene

The Courier slowly regains consciousness. Benny immediately follows to hold a compunctious, yet professional monologue with the Courier as his audience:

You got whatchu were after, so pay up.

McMurphy

You're crying in the rain, paley.

Benny

The Courier wakes up trying to get free from the restraints.

Guess who's waking up over here?

Jessup

The Courier looks up to see Benny, Jessup, and McMurphy looming over him. Benny then takes a hit from his cigarette, drops it and pats it out with his foot.

Time to cash out.

— Benny

Would you get it over with.

— McMurphy

Benny raises his hand to quiet McMurphy while keeping eye contact with the Courier.

Maybe Khans kill people without looking them in the face, but I ain't a fink, dig?

— Benny

Benny proceeds to remove the Platinum Chip from his coat pocket and flashs it in front of the Courier.

You've made your last delivery, kid.

— Benny

Benny conceals the Platinum Chip back inside his coat to remove another item in its place.

Sorry you got twisted up in this scene.

— Benny

Benny draws his 9mm pistol, Maria, from his coat.

From where you're kneeling it must seem like an 18-carat run of bad luck.
But, truth is... the game was rigged from the start.

— Benny

Benny executes the Courier with a climactic shot to the head. The player then starts the first playable part of the game.

Developer quotes

We initially attempted to do the opening cutscene in-engine. We based the cutscene’s design upon things that we understood as technically possible based on the cutscenes we saw in Fallout 3. I.e., there were no features we were relying upon that did not already exist in the engine.

We attempted this for about a month, but the cutscene was unstable. Animations would desync and the sequence would break with high frequency. It may very well have been that we were using the technology incorrectly, but I made the decision to move to a pre-rendered cutscene to move things along and ensure stability.

J.E. Sawyer on the unused intro cutscene

Behind the scenes

Originally the intro was supposed to run entirely in the engine. This would show the entire scene with Benny and the Great Khans Jessup and McMurphy that takes up the second half of the finished game's FMV sequence. At some point in development, a press demo was created that commented out the intro and skipped straight to the character creation part of the game. As the in engine intro proved difficult to implement, the press demo code was used in the release game, with an added line that played the FNV.

In the original intro, the scene starts with the player hooded and standing in the grave. The dialogue follows the same basic arc, but the words spoken are completely different (in particular Benny's "bad luck" line is much less pithy and polished than the one used in the FMV). This sequence also features Victor actually digging the player out of the grave, something that is only spoken of but never actually shown in the final game.

The code that runs the intro sequence is a battleground of commented out contradictory lines where different iterations have introduced and then removed new effects and ideas. For example, one iteration uses the setscale command to make the player half the size to give the impression of kneeling (the player is actually standing bolt upright the whole time). This then breaks the later character generation sequence as it triggers an engine bug where the player is classified as a child. There is a later workaround to this where the player's age is reduced and then immediately increased with agerace -1 and then agerace 1. This doesn't seem to work right either (if you enter these commands by hand in the console they DO fix this bug, they just don't seem to work right called in a script) and usually still results in the player still being classified as a child despite having an adult body, breaking the Vigor tester sequence.

Even stranger, there is full dialogue for TWO different versions of this sequence. One is twice as long, with extra lines featuring the three characters bickering about how to get home again. There is also an extended version of the final scene with Victor digging up the player where he actually reaches out to help the player out of the grave (in the shorter version the player stands up of their own accord and promptly collapses again). There is an idle animation for this (NVVictorpickup), but it has no actual animation file so does nothing. I was actually told a rumour once that this was so the game could have the extended intro if the player had bought the collectors edition (that contains the comic book filling in the backstory of Jessup et al). Take this totally with a grain of salt (if you weren't taking the information contained within that way already!) as I've seen no corroborating evidence of this, although it would make sense.

Finally, at the point in the intro where the player is shot and collapses into the grave, there is code to run an FMV file called FNVLogo2.bik. This is of course not present in the game, and would likely either simply be the game's logo (and of course the inevitable "war never changes part"), or possibly be the early teaser video shown of Victor digging up the player, as it would fit in perfectly with the next part of the sequence.

The digging/burying scene relies on using the blood spatter effect to slowly cover up the screen. It also uses a command that controls how long the spatter effect stays on screen to ensure it remains until wiped off by the script. However, this command is not implemented in the final game! Calling this command at any time instantly crashes the game.

There are also lots of AI Packages created for this scene that were eventually abandoned in favour of directly calling some of the actions from the quest script (e.g. Jessup pistol whipping the player). Speaking of which, Jessup is supposed to pistol whip the player, but he actually sort of punches them instead, without the pistol equipped.

Videos

  • Cut intro scenes

See also