Fallout: New Vegas locations project
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 the primary location of the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Dead Money. A mystic place close to the Grand Canyon, travelers and prospectors alike risk their lives to find the legendary city, and obtain the treasure that lies within. 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 the 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 its construction.
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 in place 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 locked its guests inside and the holograms killed everyone they came across except Vera. Sinclair had, in his own words, turned it into a deathtrap in a fit of revenge. Though he reconsidered his plan he was unable to reverse the change and came to believe that the only safe place left was the vault. 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 reported as "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 mere casino – it is the material testament to one man's inability to let go. Seeing the Great War nearing, Frederick Sinclair, the chief architect and financier of this grand fortress, wished to save Vera Keyes, his love, from the looming destruction. To this end, the Seirra Madre Villa and its capstone Casino were built. But that was not enough for Sinclair: deep within the basement of the Casino, a nearly impenetrable vault was constructed as well, to make sure he and his love could ride out the apocalypse, together.
Accordingly, security was of the utmost importance and National Electric was contracted to provide it. Anything foreign that entered the casino was detected by security measures and instantly rendered comatose and moved to another location within the hotel. Further into the casino, an emergency broadcast emitter could triggered and the myriad of holograms designed specifically for Sinclair would activate, patrol the casino and executive suites, and exercise lethal force on unauthorized visitor to protect the hotel guests under their charge. The entire casino was also lined with a metal that interferes with radio reception and broadcasts out of the casino; this was put in place to ensure that the radio frequencies from within the casino would not interfere with the hologram beacon in the Villa, which would send out an emergency signal so others would be alerted to Ms. Keyes' presence within the casino.
After all this preparation, Sinclair failed to anticipate one thing: Vera's complicity with lounge singer Dean Domino's plot to break Sinclair's heart and steal the treasure of the Sierra Madre for themselves. Domino had enlisted her aid in his planned heist, later blackmailing her with evidence of her Med-X addiction, completely unaware that she was terminally ill. This news broke Sinclair's heart and he became embittered and vengeful, transforming 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 he could only do so much and the casino remained a deathtrap. He died in the vault, unable to return to the casino and his love.
Created as an experiment by the Big MT execs, the Cloud is a product of the Z-43 Innovative Toxins plant located in the crater. When Frederick Sinclair came to Big MT for technology to purchase for the Sierra Madre, he unwittingly signed a Faustian pact: Apart from holograms and matter recombinators, the Think Tank would also place the Cloud at the Sierra Madre, using the casino, villa, and its inhabitants as guinea pigs in its experiments. Sinclair likely saw no other way to get the technology he needed, as he was already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy when he started negotiating with the executives. Of course, he was not informed that he would be receiving more than just harmless prototypes. The Sierra Madre was the only testing ground that was protected by the Cloud, which was hardly a prize.
The Cloud manifested itself for the first time when the cheap Villa ventilation system ground to a halt, a victim of cutting corners and Mr Yesterday's dubious practices. The pipes backed up, spewing out the red cloud. Workers in the area started choking and vomiting. Hospitalized in the Villa clinic, the damage to their health was extensive enough to put them out of commission for good.
To deal with the problem, Sinclair negotiated with the Big MT executives for yet another technology: The Darklight hazmat suits. Although considered creepy by the maintenance crews, they allowed the crews to explore the ventillation system and try, in vain, to identify the source of the Cloud.
The teams managed to find the source of the problem in the main ventilation pipe. However, traces of the dust cloud were present and eroded the metal of the suit's locks, exposing them to the Cloud and sealing them within. The crewmen retreated and headed to the Villa Clinic to get medical attention. Much to the displeasure of the attending physicians, they cut themselves out of the suits with steak knives.
However, despite the problems, the ventilation system was eventually restored to working order... Barely. When the War hit shortly afterwards, it continued to work for a few more years, before finally giving up the ghost. The Cloud gradually seeped into the area, climbing out of the damaged vents, eventually blanketing the area, blotting out the sun. It became a grim, uncompromising guardian of its secrets. The maintenance crews who donned their hazmat suits and tried to fight it, succumbed to its effects, mutating and becoming the violent, savage guardians of the Sierra Madre.
For centuries, the Cloud protected the casino and the villa, killing scavengers or weakening them so that they would become another victim of the tribe inhabiting it, the hazmat suited ghost people. It wasn't until the 23rd century that it became important once more. Father Elijah, a disgraced Brotherhood of Steel Elder, learned of its existence from Ulysses. It inspired him. When preliminary samples taken from air on the edges of the Sierra Madre yielded promising results, he set up a chemistry set to allow it to replenish itself and traveled to the Madre in person, to perform research on site.
Upon further research, Elijah decided to weaponize the Cloud as a weapon of mass destruction, to wipe the slate clean. It was intended to be used to reclaim the Mojave and destroy the New California Republic.
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.
- Dead Money intro: intro begins with a slide of the Grand Canyon and cuts to a slide of the Sierra Madre
- Dead Money intro slide #3
- Sierra Madre Casino terminals; Vault Control Terminal, To Vera
- Elijah: "You inside. Can you hear me? Power's fluctuating... emergency power. Oh! You are in. Good... thought that might be the end of you. Unfortunately, your... "friends" also found their way here. Knocked unconscious... just like you. Wondering what happened? You were hit by casino security. Detects anything foreign - radioactive, it subdues the "visitor," moves them if needed. Hnh... getting interference from old recordings... the guests who were trapped here... eh, shut that noise off... Looks like the casino moved your "friends" around once inside... might be useful. Or not. Wonder if they came to help or kill you. Still... My signal should work through the speakers, now that you're inside. Heh, heh! Welcome to the Sierra Madre, in all its glory. This is what the Old World stood for, even with bombs about to rain down on them. Now look at it. Beautiful... now its guests are all dead. Better this way. Quiet. How the Mojave should be. Now - with the casino sleeping, it's got places closed off - won't let you go yet. We'll get there, trust me, just need to wake it up."
- Sierra Madre Casino terminals; Hologram Control, Sinclair: E.B.E.
- Z-38 lightwave dynamics research terminals; Terminal, Requisition Order: Holograms
- Elijah: "_ Casino's woken up, paying attention to us. Good. Wondering what happened to your team...? Looks like they got moved to other floors. Interesting, maybe that's why... hmmm, yes... yes. Perhaps the casino recognized specific guests... or guests with a voice or look close enough for them to be... assigned to that floor. We'll see. Had hoped with the power restored, the systems would fully awaken... especially the sound archives. But no... your teammates' collars on each floor are interfering with the systems. It's the white noise filters embedded in their construction... they're blocking the casino speakers, the music. You'll need to recalibrate... or destroy... each collar. To do that, you need to get close, re-set the signal - or blow their heads off. I'll leave the choice up to you - my preference? End them now. They're of no use. After all, it's safe to kill them now, provided you make it quick. You see, the collars don't work inside the Sierra Madre... well, between floors. Else, I'd set off the collars, be done with it. So find them, deal with them, as long as you're fast and can get off the floor after killing them. The floors... whatever they lined this place with, interferes with the collar frequency... so if you kill them, you should have some time to run. Uh... just not sure how long, may not be consistent. More... less... whatever, it doesn't matter. What we need is in the basement, we need to go to the top first and ride our fortunes down. After we deal with your team on the other floors."
- Dean Domino's blackmail evidence
- Villa clinic terminals; Terminal, Appointment Calendar
- Sierra Madre vault terminals; Vault Control Terminal, Sinclair's Personal Accounts.
- Z-43 Innovative Toxins plant terminals; Terminal, Requisition Order: Chemical Suits
- Y-0 research center terminals; Terminal, Dispenser Funding Update
- The Courier: "I don't understand how an Old World casino helps you do any of that."
Elijah: "The Cloud is unique in my travels. Its proximity to the Sierra Madre isn't a coincidence. Right now it protects this casino, preserves it. It can be used to preserve other Old World relics - and cleanse them, at the same time. And as much as I've researched hologram technology, the Big Empty facility was clear - only the Sierra Madre got Holograms working... properly."
- Puesta del Sol switching station terminals; Terminal, Status Report
- Puesta del Sol switching station terminals; Terminal, Suits are here.
- Puesta del Sol switching station terminals; Terminal, Maintenance Report
- Puesta del Sol switching station terminals; Terminal, Suit Damage
- Villa clinic terminals; Terminal, Safety Suits
- The Courier: "Tell me about the Cloud."
Dean Domino: "The Cloud? Showed up after the Bomb. I think. I got used to it in small doses. Now, it covers the city. Over the years, it kept climbing up out of the Sierra Madre, until it was curtains for the sun. Didn't see the sky again. Doesn't seem to bother the Ghost People. Can't see through it too well, though, so sometimes I can use the Cloud for cover... if I get desperate."
(Dean Domino's dialogue)
- Dean Domino: "Cloud wasn't always here. Grew over the years, even without cars or factories."
(Dean Domino's dialogue)
- Salida del Sol terminals; Terminal, Infrastructure
- Little Yangtze terminals; Little Yangtze Log Terminal, Elijah's Journal - Day 3
- Abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker terminals; Terminal, Science Entry 112
- The Courier: "I can't argue that."
Elijah: "Sources of food, supplies... medical assistance, ammo... make more collars, even print currency. Make a nation. The Cloud allows me to wipe the slate clean. Collars ensure cooperation. Holograms - defense. The Vending Machines provide... everything else. The Sierra Madre can kill nations and build them, using its technology with the right applications."
- The Courier: "You want to attack NCR? All of NCR?"
Elijah: "Attack? No, not attack them. Wipe the slate clean. Make the Mojave like it was meant to be... undisturbed by man. I'll send the Cloud, the Holograms. Bring ruin in my hands until only I stand atop the HELIOS One tower again. I'll scour Hoover Dam with the Cloud, rain its walls with spears from the sun... with an army of Old World ghosts behind me, Holograms all. I'll kill them until it's only me, me alone... in a quiet world. In a world that's nothing like what happened at HELIOS One."
- Megan Parks' portfolio