Senior designer Chris Avellone pens a developer diary for the Fallout: New Vegas website, looking back on the franchise's past and how much work Obsidian had going through it all.
It translates into our work day as well -- we live with that every day working on Fallout. Obsidian's worked on a number of franchises over the years, and it's part of the training as a designer that you have to boil down a franchise into not only its game mechanic elements, but the more abstract aspects of what makes a franchise what it is and how to represent it in-game. It's not only the 1950s-view-of-the-future-then-drop-bombs-on-it feel of Fallout, the dark humor, the SPECIAL system, Vaults, Ron Perlman's narration and end slides... Fallout's also about being able to design for choices, about a world where all the options you use to build your character are viable and carry reactivity, where the simplest of actions can make the rounds and be mentioned by people you meet you'll see that in the reputation system, and the consequences of your actions in the Mojave wasteland.
It's also a testament to Josh Sawyer as project director that he went back through the Fallout games and analyzed what mechanics and hooks that could be incorporated into New Vegas. Traits, certain weapons, caravan companies, character descendants, familiar faces, creatures from the West Coast, the remnants of older factions... seeing them all play out in New Vegas has been a fascinating process, and seeing these older elements in a new light in the Mojave Wasteland has been great to watch and experience.