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The first preview is at Yahoo! Games:
Take the game's companions -- heavily armed characters that could be recruited to follow you about. Fallout 3 made it too simple, frustrating players by giving them useful-looking escorts that couldn't be controlled closely enough to be effective. So the system's been gently filled out, offering players far closer control over their buddy's armor, equipment, and tactics. And the karma system, previously a simple good-to-evil continuum that measured morality, is de-emphasized in favor of a deeper reputation system where actions that impress one particular group may be looked down upon or ignored entirely by others.
Combat, too, has been tweaked rather than overhauled. Like before, New Vegas is outwardly controlled like a Halo-style first-person shooter, allowing players to pause the game and queue up shots to specific vital areas of their enemies. But Vegas adds some spice: different weapons come with different, more potent "special moves" (like a powerful melee swing with a nine-iron, dubbed a "Fore!" attack) and guns can be customized with a bewildering array of bolt-on goodies that increase magazine capacity, boost rate of fire, add advanced scopes, or increase damage.
And the second preview is at Giant Bomb:
There's also the reputation system, which tracks your standing with specific groups like the residents of Goodsprings and the New California Republic. This is separate from your good/bad karma and will determine how those groups react to you (hostilely or as friends) and even what kind of missions will be available to you. Obsidian gave an ironic example where the townspeople might fear you so much they'd actually tithe you with money and gifts when you passed through town, just to avoid your wrath.
On the flip side, the NCR or the slavers of Caesar's Legions will probably attack you on sight if your rep falls too much, when they might have given you quests or sold you items otherwise. Some missions will let you raise and lower your rep according to your decisions. One quest involved a solar power plant called Helios One that let the player decide which faction to shunt power to, which will have obvious effects on what those groups think of you. Later in that mission, the guy driving the demo took control of the power plant's massive super laser and incinerated a few encroaching NCR troops who were getting too close. I doubt that did much to raise their opinion of him.
Moving on to the interviews, we have a Q&A with Obsidian's Chris Avellone at VG247:
You detailed Hardcore Mode today in the demo, and said that it was a new feature for the game. Can you explain that a little bit more in detail?
Avellone: We recognized that there were some comments on the forums that Fallout 3 wasn't difficult enough. We wanted to make sure that if you really wanted, you could go for the full-on difficulty option.
So we were like, (Why don't we make this a special option mode and we give ammo away which always made sense to us regardless?) Then there's things like you always having to deal with dehydration, which makes sense even though you have to manage your water supply, stuff like that, and the idea that healing items would not heal instantly.
Like, if that mechanic was a precedent in Fallout 3 that game would have been much, much more difficult.
I mean, personally, there were so many times that shooting a stimpack gave me instant health back, and saved my life so many times.
If I would have had to wait two seconds, four seconds or six seconds for my health to return to the maximum amount that would have changed those combats completely, and I definitely would have had a tougher time in fights.
Another with Bethesda's Pete Hines at Joystiq:
Fallout 3 presented users with this gigantic world and a lot of options and things to do. Then you had a ton of DLC that came out for it. Are you guys worried at all that people are tired of that space or do you think that New Vegas is just a completely new game?
I think it's the latter. I think it's a new game. At the end of the day, we've sold a ton of downloadable content. But the truth of the matter is that a fair number of folks played Fallout 3, liked it, enjoyed it and moved on. That guy that played the game for 300 hours is not the norm. He's not uncommon, but he's not the norm. So for most folks, I think, you know, they play Fallout 3, they got out of it what they wanted, but Fallout: New Vegas is a new experience and offers up an awful lot of new stuff. And I think if you like Fallout 3, I'm not sure how you don't get excited about all the new features, the new content, the new location, all that stuff that Obsidian is bringing to the table. I think it's a compelling argument to play Fallout but not more Fallout 3 to do something that feels new and different.
And then there's a six-and-a-half minute video interview with Obsidian's Josh Sawyer at Giant Bomb. Topics include the ex-Black Islers return to the Fallout franchise, how the new reputation system builds upon F3's karma system, what we should expect from the new weapon modifications, and more.