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Joystiq starts us off with a preview (as well as the new screenshots):
Speaking of making people happy -- New Vegas sees the return of the karma system from its predecessor, joined by the tracking of your character's reputation among the populace and various factions, including the Brotherhood of Steel, the New California Republic and Caesar's Legion. Depending on your standing with these groups, they'll do everything from ordering hits on you to treating you like royalty when you visit them. Companion characters are also back, though this time you'll have a new "companion wheel" you can use to quickly issue them a wide variety of orders, manage their inventory and more.
In addition to being twice as large as Fallout 3's, the arsenal in New Vegas consists of fully customizable weapons, with various mods to be bought and found on your adventures. These will include everything from special ammunition to larger-capacity clips, scopes and more. If new weapons such as a grenade machine gun and a golf club are anything to go by, there'll be a lot of new, outlandish and highly desirable armaments to acquire. Also, in an effort to make the game more FPS-player-friendly, you'll now be able to do a proper zoom aim down the sights of all weapons. The non-V.A.T.S. combat presentation has been enhanced with dramatic slow-mo as well, which can be turned off should it get to be too much.
Kotaku follows them up with their own article:
Specifically, for the serious Fallout fan, New Vegas introduces a Hardcore option from the get-go, allowing them to bypass early tutorials and live a more difficult post-nuclear life. Players opting to go hardcore will have to stave off hunger and dehydration, and will be required to visit doctors for more serious injuries. Hardcore also more harshly limits the amount of ammo one can carry, applying weight to bullets. Stimpacks won't heal instantly, but will heal over time.
Players can choose whether they want to go Hardcore during the game's opening, which doesn't begin in a Vault, but at the offices of New Vegas' medicine man Doc Mitchell. He'll patch you right up after your whole "I've got a bullet in my head" ordeal that starts off the next Fallout. Yes, finding out who was trying to blow your brains clean out and why they left you for dead will play some part in the story of Fallout: New Vegas.
Then The Escapist jumps in with both a preview:
Not satisfied with simply adding a ton of new weapons, Obsidian, in a nod to the PC community, implemented one of the more popular community-created Fallout 3 add-ons: weapon modification. As a result, many of the weapons in New Vegas can be modified.
"You can buy mods at a lot of different places," says Sawyer, "like one of the most prominent groups you'll find in the wasteland are the Gun Runners. And there are a lot of different groups that sell mods. They make them for explosives, energy weapons, all sorts of different stuff. You simply have to buy them."
And an interview with Feargus Urquhart:
TE: When Bethesda was doing its rounds with Fallout 3, they talked a lot about how they weren't consulting with the original Black Isle team and how they wanted to make it their Fallout, and they weren't too concerned with the past. How has that shifted now? You guys are essentially taking responsibility for the Vegas portion and extending the original Fallout 1 & 2 storylines. How has that integration worked out?
FU: It's like thinking of a Star Wars game. We could run everything by Lucas, but there's ... all these things and - you just get to know it.
For Star Wars, that's what Chris Avellone did, he's the designer for Knights of the Old Republic 2. He literally just went and read everything. I mean everything - I mean really bad junior Jedi books. I'm like "Why are you reading that?" and he says "Well, there might be something in here."
When it comes to Fallout, and what's easy for the internal team, they have all of our design documents, they have all of our materials, they have the games, they had Chris's Fallout bible, they had all this stuff. Would it have been helpful to ask five or six questions, but that would have probably been it. With us, in working on New Vegas, we just already know it, for a lot of us it was something that we created. We still go back, because it is Bethesda's Fallout, it's not Black Isle's Fallout.
We all played Fallout 3 to death. One, because we wanted to, two, because we needed to really understand it. So we really wanted to understand what they were trying to accomplish and what their vision was. And then we followed up with questions. We haven't asked a ton, but things get run by Todd Howard all the time. The amount of conflict that has existed - like "Why can't we do this?" "Well you just can't," - it's been like four things. A lot of it has to do with that they have ideas for the future and so they just don't want us to go playing with where they see their future.
This is similar to what happened with the Star Wars stuff. One of the first things we wanted to do with KOTOR was we wanted to use Alderaan and LucasFilm came back with "No." So it's a collection of that, it's the knowing and the asking of important questions and being upfront with them about everything we're doing. We over-document everything. We're like "Here." And they're like "Stop writing."
Before we make our way back to IGN for a video interview with Josh Sawyer. Topics include the interface improvements they've made, the addition of weapon modifications, the return of a reputation system, and more.