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Fallout: New Vegas kills post-endgame exploration for a strong ending. Good idea or big mistake?

If you want to carry on exploring the western wasteland of Fallout: New Vegas after you've finished the game, you'll have to start again from scratch or travel back in time. That's the word from Director Josh Sawyer, who has just clarified recent statements that once the game is done, it's done. There will be no post-endgame exploration, and if you want to complete more side-quests you'll have to go back to an old save, Zelda-style. Or just start again.

The reasoning is that the ending Obsidian wants to give the game will be stronger if the player can't continue after it. But is a strong narrative resolution more important than maintaining the illusion of a real, persistant, living world in a game like this? And how will the probably inevitable DLC get around this? Won't we end up with the same problem of narrative dead-end that Bethesda saddled itself with at the end of Fallout 3, which then resulted in the need for a messy plot retcon with the first add-on? More explanations and quotes are beyond the jump.


Above: Your adventure. Cut short. With a blunt metaphor

"We want to make it a definitive ending. Initially, we talked about trying to support post-game play, but because the changes that can happen at the end of the game are pretty major, this is what it basically came down to: either have the changes feel really major in the end slides and then have them not be very major after the end of the game, or make them really minor and not that impactful."

That's Sawyer's explanation, and in a lot of ways, I agree with his sentiments. Having to re-engineer a huge open-world in order to accommodate multiple variations of big narrative events would be a nightmare, and having played through a huge open-world for tens of hours, I bloody well want big narrative events come the climax.

But I also - and this is a personal thing, so feel free to disagree - absolutely hate finishing an RPG set in a vibrant world which I know contains plenty more stories I haven't even touched yet, and then being forced to reboot that world back to an earlier save in order to see more of it. Yes, I can still play everything without restarting the whole game, but it murders the narrative flow and my sense of progression through a real, reactive world.


Above: "Defeat me all you like. In 20 minutes it's going to mean bugger all, mate"

At the end of a game based entirely around those concepts, essentially being told that my final actions and climactic struggle didn't count for anything (and in fact didn't even happen) as soon as I want to play more is a bit galling, as well as a bit archaic. Fable II unlocks new quests after the main game has been completed, which lead directly on from the events of the finale. And after 'completion', Dragon Quest VIII even opens up hours-worth of new gameplay that fills in every gap from the game's already huge main story. And that, to me, just feels like a much more evolved way of doing things.

Sawyer explains that Fallout: New Vegas' endings will tell the stories of the game's characters for decades after the main story, and obviously anything the player did post-endgame to change those events (say, killing a character who we've been told lives to old age) would make a mess of things. But surely there's a better, more organic way of doing things than just skipping back to before the last boss fight, like nothing ever happened. That approach felt creaky in A Link to The Past. And what will happen with the DLC? Will it all be set before the ending, thus messing with the levelling and character progression? Will it be based on side-stories and different protagonists? Or will it be another Fallout 3-style retcon?

But what do you think? Would a lack of post-ending exploration be a jolt for you, or could you not care less about narrative flow? And how do you think this means the DLC will turn out? Let me know in the comments, or via our throbbing social portals on Facebook and Twitter. 

Source: 1up

62 comments

  • andy-bruce-wang - August 10, 2014 1:01 p.m.

    The ending really just tells you which groups you destroyed and which ones you helped. There's nothing deep about it and all they needed to do was just remove factions/characters/groups from the game after completion. If the player sides with NCR/Legion, simply remove the other one after completion. There are really two options for the Fiends, either eradicate them or leave them be. It doesn't matter if you killed a few Fiends leaders, the Fiends are always there. Just decrease the spawn rate and problem solved. Followers of the Apocalypse can either be drove out, destroyed or remain. Not that big of a problem neither, just remove them or leave them be. SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND OVER. Obsidian is just complicating things for themselves, they just had to either remove a faction, or just leave them be. IT'S NOT THAT FUCKING HARD. Then maybe add a few lines of dialogue to NPCs congratulating the Courier just like Bethesda did with Skyrim. If you sided with the Stormcloaks/Imperials Bethesda just removed the other faction COMPLETELY. Why can't Obisidian do the same?
  • patrich-urso - April 13, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    Reading about all of these whiners a few years later is so hilarious.
  • Jeddy2 - July 30, 2011 4:05 a.m.

    To everyone who says do everything before the end: "THAT'S FUCKING POINTLESS." It's torture, why not just let you continue playing, Obsidian Entertainment, you fucking bastards. I don't care about a good ending in A FALLOUT GAME. I'd want to continue playing after I beat the game, regardless of changes due to your "AMAZING CINEMATIC ENDINGS" exsisting or not. If they do release a DLC which will continue, It will prove how shitty they are to not do that in the first place. I've heard so much saying they're not, to me if it doesn't happen I'll be fucking pissed, I wouldn't mind paying $10 to fix a problem that the designers were to fucking lazy to deal with. Obsidian Ent. "Fix" this please, otherwise your a bunch of dumb fuck-shits. Everyone wants to continue after beating it, so why don't you drop your "Amazing Endings."
  • matt-brandow - January 31, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    I totally agree wit u
  • t3knoman - July 20, 2011 2:07 p.m.

    The above is so ridiculous, if they really cared about the games ending they would not release anymore DLCs or release DLCs at time of release. Instead they are really more concerned with taking every nickel from the fallout fans. This is not a complaint about paying for DLCs, i would gladly pay for any EXPANSIONS for the game, the issue is just make the ending open ended or have the ability to explore, so i can enjoy any new DLCs that come out with the hours of game time i poured into it. AGAIN I am not complaining about the cost of DLCs. Just saying if they really cared about the "impact" and their vision; the game would be released with just the game and when its done, it done. So enough with your bull crap reasoning.
  • animecollector - May 5, 2011 4:32 a.m.

    I didn't like that way of ending furthermore remembering Oblivion and Fallout with dlc you can keep on playing after the endings.At first I thought that it was a glitch because I missed something(needless to say how glitchy the game is)but this time it wasn't.This is the sort of things that makes me not much satisfy with the game but I hope with a future dlc you can keep on playing after the ending. The thing I liked was the option to not be sided with the NCR or the Legion and makes things your way at least that was a cool option to make.
  • JmAn - December 7, 2010 5:47 a.m.

    This is rubbish, every other game i have (nearly) has post game playing, for example, NFS Hot pursuit, u can go back and do all the races again, same with FABLE 3, there are more main missions unlocked by completeing the story and same with Assassin's creed Brother Hood, u can go back n do all the other missions that u havn't done yet. You'd a thunk after the last Fallout and having to bring out another DLC for u to continue the story they would've changed it, Wake up Obsadien, i dont give a blind mole rats poo bout the bloody story not being ending bloody well, MAKE POST BLOODY GAME PLAYING! Now odsedian, you cant change (except with a patch DUH)SO MAKE A DLC SO everyone CAN CONTINUE THE GOD DAMN GAME!! Thank-you for reading my rant, AND WAKE UP OBSEDIAN!!
  • Wolfie175 - November 28, 2010 11:44 a.m.

    i doubt they will leave it like this for too long, there will, enevitabley come a DLC like broken steel to bring to life the at the moment non existant post endgame play what with all the complaints about it they have been getting. but one thing i dont get about this is they said it would be way too hard to put the descisions you make in game into the post endgameplay, i dont think this is the case, for example, if you chose the mr. house ending, all you would have to do is make freeside more glamourous and kick out various factions according to what happened (the changes to the factions arent that dramatic anyway), oh and fix the monorail. its just a classic example of bethesda being lazy again. hopefully obsidian will whip them into shape :)
  • ryno - October 12, 2010 3:01 a.m.

    i dont care about a strong ending i want post endgame exploration. people play through the story in these types of games just so they can be free to do all the sidequests. this is a kick in the balls
  • Gurkog - October 2, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    The mainstream gamer has become so used to being spoon-fed extremely linear plot-lines from titles such as the Final Fantasy franchise that they can not savor a story that is told organicly through a large and completely open world such as Fallout. Many people want to "have their cake and eat it too" without realizing ahead of time how their interaction with almost everything in the world may influence the content of the ending sequence. Fallout 1,2 are probably what we should use as a reference for what to expect, but possibly this game will take it to another level in detail. I know in Fallout 2 there were loads of different endings based on not only how you completed the major quest lines in every area and faction, but also how thoroughly you quested them. Completing that same content AFTER "finishing" the game resulted bland, cookie-cutter ending sequence that will self-fulfill any prophecies of the naysayers because their journeys lack the context for a deeply personal and gratifying one. I know that what I have said may be a bit dramatic, but I feel that every inch of the game world has something to contribute toward context of the conclusion (figuratively and literally). My perspective of RPG's is a bit skewed since I always explore every inch of every area possible before advancing the storyline in any game (even shooters and RTS). I know most people just want to rush through for the high points, but I find the main story is never quite as fulfilling if I do not experience all of the details that add context to it. Games with complete freedom like Fallout have no linear progression, and to me that means the end should occur when there is nothing left to explore. Exploring after the fact kind of defeats the purpose, IMO.
  • Cleanser247 - September 27, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    Better be a damn good ending then. Fallout is about exploration, and I kind of wish it let you keep wandering the wastes.
  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - September 27, 2010 1:56 a.m.

    the decision really makes sense, but it dosent make it any less frustrating. you can always do that thing called "who gives a crap about the story if its not even mandatory for game progression?" and do pretty much everything before getting bored of tooling around and completing the main quest.
  • justingriffin - September 1, 2010 4:09 a.m.

    they will probably end up doing the same thing they had to do for fallout 3 DLC Broken Steel,(make it so it never ends until you want it to end).
  • GamerKing96 - August 25, 2010 5:27 p.m.

    if they do come out with DLC they should do i BEFORE the game comes out to make it easier on the player, and incorporate a choice to continue or stop, if they DO come out with DLC before it comes out those who payed extra for the collector's edition like me should get it with the whole collector's edition package
  • ZenRobot - August 25, 2010 12:24 a.m.

    I never finished Fallout 3 (my roommate was obsessed with it though). But i'm very surprised to hear that you couldn't keep messing around in the world after the ending. Cause i know that once my friend finished the game i would still come out to the living room and find him playing for long hours in the middle of the night even though he finished it. Dude must have played the game 3 times...
  • Limbo - August 24, 2010 10:39 p.m.

    Having to worry about completing all the side-quests before the main storyline takes away from the narrative, so this is a bad situation all around. The main storyline's ending will only have a shocking impact once for most, possibly 2-3 times (depending on the number of endings) for those who see all the endings before they are spoiled by friends or the internet. If they really stick with this decision for release day, I'll just wait for the inevitable DLC to continue post-game. A good solution to this would be to release DLCs for the different outcomes. An example would be if New Vegas is destroyed by some sort of catastrophic event, have a DLC that reshapes the world in the aftermath of that event. I would be very pleased with that even if the DLC didn't add new quests. Sure, it'd be a ton of work, but I guarantee you it'd get a ton of money. Even if that means pulling a MW2 and overpricing it except, you know, having a reason for it.
  • starhaw - August 24, 2010 8:23 p.m.

    @ elpurplemonkey: the whole point of what he was saying though was that he'd like to finish the actual story without having little mini stories interrupting the main one, then going back whenever he feels like it and finishing up those mini stories, instead of having to worry about doing them all before he beats the actual game. I loved having GOTY edition fallout 3 because after I beat the main story I still felt like I had things to do...now I have do to them all before I complete the main story if I want them done.
  • starhaw - August 24, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    I have to agree with you David on the narrative and story being interrupted by side missions, when I think of RPG I think of game that never ends even after the main story, I think of being able to go back through and CRUSH enemies I used to have a hard time with but now don't because my Character is godly.I'm all for a good story but between you and me and everyone else who will read this comment, fallout3 didn't have THE BEST story, it was good but it needed work..which I'm fine with in a game like fallout, what really matters to me is the games whole focus which is infact being able to explore all of these places, discovering stories aside from the main quest whenever you'd like...adding an ending that stops the game completely when you have a chance to go and continue on after the main story seems a little over the works for a game like fallout..thats why I got the game of the year edition in the first place, so I would have broken steel and it wouldn't feel like I had to download DLC just to continue on, it was already on the disc and ready for me to continue whenever I pleased...to be honest I'm still doing side missions, I haven't even come close to completing Broken steel....well thats my view on it.
  • Outlander - August 24, 2010 6:25 p.m.

    I'm one of the few people it seemed who actually liked fallout 3's ending and appreciated it for it's narrative and sheer balls at killing you off. So, if the story is good enough I'll stick behind obsidian's decision. The only problem I see so far is the main story seems to be "guy shoots me, I wanna find him and kill him" so... that kinda feels like something that would be urgent on your characters mind. He wouldn't go lolly gagging around! So, I think it would be better in that case to let me continue after it's over. But we don't know the whole story yet so I think we should reserve judgment until we've played the game.
  • SumthingStupid - August 24, 2010 1:50 p.m.

    i bet they'll end up patching it like in fallout 3 i think it would be easy to do better then the end of fallout 3

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