Why I love Fallout New Vegas’ Storytelling

If you have ever talked to me about story telling in video games for any period of time you will inevitably mention my favourite quest of all time, Fallout: New Vegas’s Come Fly With Me. This quest combines superb storytelling with the branching and complex quests that New Vegas is famous for.

In this quest you are contacted by the people of Novac to get rid of some ghouls from a nearby abandoned rocket testing facility. When approaching the facility you are contacted by a voice asking you to report to a room high up in the facility. Once you arrive at the room you are greeted by a number of sciencey looking ghouls. Their leader, a ghoul by the name of Jason Bright informs you that they are attempting to build rockets to undertake a ‘Great Journey’ to a ‘Sacred Place’. But before these sentient zombies can go on their trip to outer space you must first clear the basement of Nightkin, strange invisible purple warriors.

Mr Brightside

Sadly you cannot help these Nightkin on their own cosmic voyage but there are still several ways to clear out the basement. The first way is to simply pull out your personal weapon of mass destruction and shoot all your problems away, but there are a few more subtle ways to go about the clearing. If you go talk to the leader of the Nightkin, he will inform you that the Nightkin are looking for a large shipment of stealth boys. Stealth boys are small devices that render the operator invisible, and so are greatly needed by the Nightkin who hate being visible.

Davidson, the lead Nightkin tells you that his Nightkin have searched the entire facility save one room, which is guarded by a very angry ghoul by the name of Harrison. Making your way downstairs to find this armed and angry ghoul, you find out that the Nightkin have captured this ghouls friend and he is not leaving without him. Back you go to the Nightkin area, where you must either kill the Gaoler, or sneak through and unlock the cell door. So far so good, except the ghouls friend is lying on the floor in several pieces. Returning to Harrison and informing him of his friend’s demise, he will become friendly and wonder off back upstairs to the rest of the ghoul research division. Making your way into the room, find no sign of a stealth-boy shipment, but you do find a shipping invoice on a computer in the room.

There are 4 messages on this computer. An invoice stating that a shipment of stealth-boys was shipped to this facility, an email from one worker to another stating that he found the stealth-boys downstairs, a company wide email mentioning some ‘incidents’ and reminding all employees to have a read of the company sexual harassment policy, and a letter to (who makes stealth boys) saying that the erroneous shipment has been returned and an apology for a few missing units.

With just a few lines of text, a whole story has been told. In these few messages we are given a glimpse into a whole other world. We learn about what this place was like before the great war, what kind of people were working here and how they acted. In a game world where so little remains from past times, this original first hand memory from long ago,

Farewell brave explorers

Returning to Davidson to show him the shipping invoice will send him and his group of murderous Nightkin off in search of pastures new and stealth-boys invisible. Returning upstairs to Jason Bright, you find the preparations in full swing. You are then sent off to collect several parts for the rockets, such as control parts and fuel. There are several ways of collecting these parts, such as using little rocket toys for fuel instead of the actual fuel you were supposed to collect. Returning to the facility, you must wave farewell to the ghouls as they march towards rocket ship, a image not too dissimilar to NASA astronauts making their way to the shuttle.

Bright has given the task of launching the ships to you, so off you go to the launch pad to press the big red button. Here the final choice of the quest is given to you, how do you program the rockets? Programming them to take the intrepid ghouls to their destination will earn you more experience but isn’t very fun, or, you could program the rockets to smash into each other on launch. This is slightly evil and you will lose karma for this, but the denizens of Novak will be very grateful to you.

This quest is one of my favourite quests of all time, in part because of how well it shows off how amazing the quest system is in Fallout New Vegas. None of this watery ‘go here and shoot people’ stuff that you see in modern games *cough* *cough* fallout 4 *cough*. Multiple choices and ways of going about things, tied to your skill set and equipment.

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