Robert Edwin House
Oh, come now - don't play the fool. Vegas has fools enough, a superfluity of them. They're what makes it so profitable. They come to Vegas chasing penny-ante dreams of high-living, to feel like they're big shots, like they're winners. You see that you and I are of a different stripe, don't you? We don't have to dream that we're important. We are.”— Robert House
Robert Edwin House is the self-styled President, CEO, and Sole Proprietor of the New Vegas Strip in the Mojave Wasteland in the year 2281. House is foremost responsible for the founding of RobCo Industries, the creation of Mr. New Vegas, and civilizing the New Vegas casino tribes.
Born June 25, 2020 to a wealthy Nevada tool magnate, Robert Edwin House was orphaned at an early age when his parents died in a freak accident involving an auto gyro and lightning. Cheated of his inheritance by his half-brother, Anthony, Robert nevertheless attended the Commonwealth Institute of Technology, and later went on to found RobCo Industries in his hometown of Las Vegas at the age of just 22. It would soon become one of the most profitable corporations in the world making House a multi-billionaire by the age of 30, owing mostly to House's considerable technical genius and business acumen, and he used the wealth and power to gain controlling interests in myriad other businesses. These included REPCONN Aerospace, the Lucky 38 Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard, and perhaps, most personally, the H&H Tool Company - the family business usurped by his greedy half-brother (although curiously, the factory on the outskirts of Vegas was still under his brother's control in 2077). But along with his fame came a look into his peculiar personality. A scandal emerged when House was dating a starlet, but only wanted to scan her brain and make her dress in different outfits.
A staunch pragmatist by nature, Mr. House would regularly design and run mathematical paradigms based on global political and socioeconomic conditions in an effort to predict future events. By 2065, these projections led him to the inexorable conclusion that the world would be engulfed in a nuclear war within fifteen years. Worse still, his contacts within the military informed him that seventy-seven Chinese warheads were aimed at his beloved Las Vegas. Armed with this knowledge and his projections, House went to work on a secret plan to ensure the city would survive this apocalypse and that he would live to see the world after the war. He programmed multiple mainframes with satellite links meant to disable the vast majority of the Chinese missiles while in flight, then designed an array of high powered laser cannons, which he had installed on the roof of the Lucky 38, to deal with any missile his program had missed. To preserve himself, he took equally drastic steps: his body was permanently connected to an extremely sophisticated life support device to take care of his physiological needs, while his brain was wired directly into his vast information network via an enormous supercomputer. Essentially, he became a one-of-a-kind humanoid brain bot, with the Lucky 38 and an army of Securitrons serving as his "body".
An integral element of his plan was the platinum chip, which in reality was a combination access card and high capacity data storage device, containing a massive OS upgrade for his Securitrons and the laser defense network. The chip was to be delivered in the afternoon of October 23, 2077. Unfortunately, about 20 hours before it could be delivered, the Great War happened. The chip was lost and not rediscovered until over 200 years later by some of the multiple scavengers hired by House. Forced to work with an inferior version of the OS, he suffered numerous system crashes and was even forced into a coma by one of the failures before being able to reboot an earlier, stable version that only allowed him to save Las Vegas from 68 out of the 77 warheads, 59 disarmed and 9 destroyed, aimed at the city. But due to using an inferior software, numerous system crashes occurred and the Lucky 38's main reactor had to be shutdown. For five years House fought power outages and more system crashes until he rebooted his system in an old version of his operating system, but was put in a decades long coma.
In 2138, House regained consciousness from his 61 year coma. Biding his time, he entered the world stage once again in 2274, when Securitrons under his command emerged from Lucky 38. This action was prompted by the arrival of New California Republic scouts at Hoover Dam. In order to establish his rule, he enlisted the help of three tribes living in Vegas – the Mojave Boot-Riders, the Slither Kin and a cannibalistic tribe that would become the Chairmen, Omertas, and White Gloves, respectively – and rebuilt the city just in time to welcome the arrival of the New California Republic Army's advance forces. In exchange for help with Hoover Dam and permission to use the McCarran Airport as its headquarters, House signed the Treaty of New Vegas, ensuring cooperation from NCR and, for a time, protecting The Strip from annexation.
House resides in the Lucky 38 and is in charge of the Securitrons that roam New Vegas. At some point after emerging from stasis, House won the leadership of Vault 21 in a bet, stripped it of all useful technology, and then planned to permanently seal the Vault away by filling it with cement. At the pleadings of Sarah Weintraub he left the top section of Vault 21 as it used to be, and she converted it into a hotel (all the casino equipment was already there from the vault experiment).
Mr. House is extremely physically decrepit because of his 200+ years in his stasis chamber and is sustained only by the life-support systems of his pod and the several augmentations he had done, such as the food pump and pacemaker. The Courier has the opportunity to break through his security and see his true form. However, opening his isolation chamber, even for a second, means that Mr. House will not live more than a year due to exposure to outside contaminants.
Interactions with the player character
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- The House Always Wins: Mr. House gives the player the quest, which leads to one of the final quests, All or Nothing. In this case, player communicates with House only through the computer terminal in his office.
- For the Republic, Part 2, Wild Card: Change in Management, Render Unto Caesar: However, if the player decides to side with NCR, Caesar, or fight for an independent New Vegas, Mr. House has to be killed or disabled.
- The Moon Comes Over the Tower: Emily Ortal asks the player to bug one of House's terminals for important medical information.
- Mr. House plays a major role in the game. The Courier hears a lot about him while traveling, but upon reaching New Vegas he is invited by House himself to visit him in Lucky 38. There, House gives the player vital information about Benny and the Platinum Chip. Also, he allows the Courier and his/her companions to use Lucky 38's Presidential Suite as a safehouse.
- Mr. House has an interest in the collectible snowglobes found in the game, and will pay handsomely for each. The snowglobes can be given to Jane in exchange for 2000 caps each. Snowglobes found in Sierra Madre (Dead Money), Big MT (Old World Blues), Zion National Park (Honest Hearts) and Divide (Lonesome Road) will automatically be removed from the player's inventory and replaced with 2000 caps. Once the Courier has sold a snowglobe to Jane it is placed on display (on a mantle) in the Lucky 38 Presidential Suite. However, if the player kills Mr. House, the snowglobes will stay in your inventory and Jane will disappear.
- On the shores of Lake Mead, due east of New Vegas, sits the grandiose pre-War House Resort & Country Club, the current site of the NCR's Camp Golf. Due to its name, its obvious past opulence, and the presence of a large portrait of Robert Edwin House, standing in front of a large robot resembling Liberty Prime, in its main dining hall, it may be surmised that Mr. House was a chief financier and patron of the club before the bombs fell. This portrait is reminiscent of a famous painting of Howard Hughes.
- Another portrait of Robert House, similar to the one in the House Resort, is found in the Higgs Village location of the add-on Old World Blues. It was punctured by several knives, most likely by Doctor 0, who has a serious hatred for House, long before the events of Old World Blues.
- If Mr. House is disintegrated by an energy weapon, the Stasis Chamber disintegrates with him. The same event occurs when using a plasma weapon and it's signature goo.
- Mr. House is given the nickname "Not-At-Home" by the Omertas for his tendency to remain ostensibly neutral in Strip affairs.
- Upon his death, the quest The House Has Gone Bust! will simultaneously trigger and fail, and the note A Tragedy Has Befallen All Mankind will appear in the player's inventory.
- If you take Mr. House out of his stasis chamber, he will ask you why you have ruined his plans and he will react differently depending on what you tell him. If you say you did it in the name of the NCR, he will belittle them and call you a "sad, misguided whore." If you tell him you are acting on behalf of Caesar, he will be horrified that slavery is humanity's future. If you say you did it for Yes Man, he will tell you your "vanity project" is doomed for failure. If you say it was "just business", he will retort by saying that you should have worked for him for personal gain. Finally, if you say you did it just because you didn't like him, he will call you a fool for letting your feelings about him jeopardize humanity's future.
- House is one of the characters that the player must eat in order to earn the Meat of Champions perk.
- In the G.E.C.K. there is a version of Mr. House as a human before the war under the ID MrHouseOUTDATED, although he has no mustache and his hair is grey rather than black as it looks on his computer.
- Due to his age and method of staying alive, Mr. House actually counts as an abomination for the Abominable challenge.
- "I have no interest in abusing others, just as I have no interest in legislating or otherwise dictating what people do in their private time. Nor have I any interest in being worshipped as some kind of machine god messiah. I am impervious to such corrupting ambitions. But autocracy? Firm control in the hands of a technological and economic visionary? Yes, that Vegas shall have."
- "I offer many benefits, but vacation time isn't one of them."
- "Don't let the video screens and computer terminals fool you. I'm flesh and blood, not silicon."
- "Imagine two snarling dogs fighting over a curve of bone, perhaps the rib of their master, long-dead. It'll be a pitched battle, that's a certainty. Perhaps the greatest battle the Earth has seen since the human race nearly made itself extinct." (House on the upcoming Second Battle of Hoover Dam)
- "You realize you were just one of many couriers, the rest of them dummies, so to speak? Add to that many thousands of caps worth of mercenary protection to screen your avenue of approach. Had I used an armed caravan to transport the Chip, I might as well have been announcing to the world "this is important. Attack this!" I didn't want to attract the attention of groups like the Great Khans or the Brotherhood of Steel. Alas, the real threat was closer to home."
- "You are the first person to step foot inside the Lucky 38 in over 200 years. It was not an invitation I made lightly. We have a serious matter to discuss, concerning a contract you have yet to fulfill."
- "I'm not offering you an incentive as crude as money - though there'll be plenty of that. What I'm offering you is a ground-floor opportunity in the most important enterprise on Earth. What I'm offering is a future - for you, and for what remains of the human race."
- "By the time I was 30 years old, I was a billionaire 30 times over. I founded and ran a vast economic empire. Do you really think I'm going to let an upstart come into my home and ransom my property to me? I spent two centuries searching for the Platinum Chip. It's my invention, my property - mine. Now be a good courier and deliver it!"
- "Hmm... How shall I put this? Delivery of the Platinum Chip is non-negotiable. I invite you to think carefully about what you do next... standing alone before me, surrounded by my heavily-armed Securitron guards."
- "I prefer the term "autocrat." I would rule as a chief executive. I would not answer to a board of directors or any other entity. Nothing to impede progress. If you want to see the fate of democracies, look out the windows."
- "Oh, come now - don't play the fool. Vegas has fools enough, a superfluity of them. They're what makes it so profitable. They come to Vegas chasing penny-ante dreams of high-living, to feel like they're big shots, like they're winners. You see that you and I are of a different stripe, don't you? We don't have to dream that we're important. We are."
- "I like to think you have enough sense to do the right thing. The rewards for doing so are immense... as are the punishments for not doing so."
- "What of it? I enjoy them. There's something about a little diorama set inside a glass dome that I... find pleasing. If you run across any out in the wastes, turn them in to Jane. She'll compensate you." (House on his snow globe collection)
- "Yes, of course. But refraining from those "dietary practices" is a primary requirement of their contract. They've been good to their word. Put together one hell of a resort hotel, too. From what I hear, I'd want to eat at the Gourmand every night... if I were ambulatory."
- "You laid the foundation for my victory, so fine - I'll permit some latitude in how you schedule your work. You're welcome."
- "That's because he ceased to be relevant when you recovered the Platinum Chip. Revenge doesn't interest me, progress does. Sorry to deny you a moment of primate triumph, but you'll have to go elsewhere to sound your barbaric yawp."
- "Not interested? Not interested? You have an interest in this even if you're too stupid to know it. If you have an interest in breathing, you have an interest in this. Return to the Fort and do whatever it takes to recover the Chip."
- "I'm surprised you can still underestimate me after everything you've seen. I haven't shown my hand - I've shown one card. I've given my enemies a single, provocative datum upon which to fixate. They have no idea what other cards I'm holding. It's a strong hand, believe me - I dealt it to myself."
- "Success depends on forethought, dispassionate calculation of probabilities, accounting for every stray variable. Your history of aggression towards the NCR has rendered you useless in this concern, unable to influence the outcome of events. Consequently, I have to "wait and see" what happens. It's... grotesque."
- "Why would I want to go to war against the NCR? They're my best customers."
- "They're a terrorist group, basically. Militant, quasi-religious fanatics obsessed with hoarding Pre-War technology. Not all technology, mind you. You don't see them raiding hospitals to cart away Auto-Docs or armfuls of prosthetic organs. No, they greatly prefer the sort of technology that puts people in hospitals. Or graves, rather, since hospitals went the way of the Dodo."
- "We're talking about a coterie of bulging-eyed fanatics who think all Pre-War technology belongs to them. They'll never accept my using an army of robots to defend New Vegas. While it's a fight I can win, I'd rather sidestep it altogether."
- "Because they're ridiculous! Because they galavant around the Mojave pretending to be Knights of Yore. Or did, until the NCR showed them that ideological purity and shiny power armor don't count for much when you're outnumbered 15:1. The world has no use for emotionally unstable techno-fetishists. Just wipe them out, will you?"
- "Caesar is of great use to me. I don't want you harming a hair on that man's head - assuming you can find one."
- "To your untrained eyes, it may look as though mankind is making a comeback. In the NCR, you have something that resembles a nation state. Savage as it is, in Caesar's Legion, you have an organized society. But neither of these offer a future. They're regurgitations of the past. Bring me the Platinum Chip, and in ten years you'll hardly recognize this city."
- "If you find Caesar's Legion so frightening at this remove, imagine them rampaging across the Strip. We have a chance to see them destroyed, to see New Vegas become the harbinger of a new age."
Behind the scenes
- Cut dialogue indicates that if the Courier had killed House and then went back to the Strip, a pre-recoded public announcement by House would have been broadcasted in the streets, declaring himself to be deceased, along with an encouragement for people to pick up a copy of his obituary at the nearest Securitron, explaining why his death became public knowledge so quickly.
- Cut scripts and dialogue indicates that a female Courier could have gotten inside the control room without raising the alarm, as she could seduce House into letting her visit him in more up-close and personal fashion, if she agreed to undergo some sort of body and brain scanning process first.
- Finally, Offer to permit annexation indicates that at one point, the player would have been able to coerce Mr. House to join the Republic.
- Mr. House had another Securitron gal named Marilyn (based on Marilyn Monroe) that was apparently cut. However, she appears alongside with Jane in a card from the deck of card of the collector version, the texture file for her "face" is still in the game's files and there's a reference to her in the G.E.C.K. Also, after meeting Mr. House, Veronica will say she's surprised he only has two robot sex slaves. This was likely meant to reference Jane and the absent Marilyn, but the line was never removed or changed.
- David Lieu created House's console.
- In casino parlance, "the house" refers generally to the gambler's opponent, the casino itself, as in the idiom, "The house always wins."
- Mr. House's personality is based on that of Howard Hughes. His obsession with snowglobes is a reference to another work of fiction, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, itself based on the life of William Randolph Hearst. A snowglobe falls from the hands of the dying 'Hearst' in the beginning of the film as he utters the famously cryptic line, "Rosebud".
- Jane, House's computer companion, is likely an allusion to the filmstar Jane Russell, who was under contract to Howard Hughes and also his lover for a time.
- If the player opens House's life support chamber to kill or disconnect him, House will ask "Why?" One of the responses is "Because I don't like you." This may be a reference to lines spoken by Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey in the David Mamet film "Glengarry Glen Ross".
- One of the challenges in the Gun Runner's Arsenal, A Slave Obeys, which requires you to kill House with a 9 iron golf club, which is a reference to Bioshock's Andrew Ryan, who suffers a similar fate.
A portrait of Mr. House standing in front of a large robot, located in the House Resort
Mr. House and Vault Boy, as they appear in the achievement/trophy for The House Always Wins
- A Medicine check of 35, gaining XP each time, can be accessed as many times as you want.
- setally 1267AB 0001B2A4, resetquest 00147885, setstage 00147885 5, setobjectivedisplayed 00147885 1, prid 001264c5, setdestroyed 0. Activating Mr. House fails to start dialogue, rendering him useless (the mainframe). This might be the result of resetting ally status of Securitrons when they are hostile due to a faction error with vault 11 robots. To fix this, enter the following commands into the console: