IGN AU: Yeah – Wild Wasteland. What's the deal with that perk?
Josh Sawyer: Okay, so basically – the Fallout franchise has, in its past, had a lot of goofy humour in it – and people seem really polarized by it. Some people were like, 'Ah – I love it! Put more Monty Python reverences in it!' and some people were like 'I can't stand it—it really irritates me in every way, shape and form.' I generally do not like the pop-culture references.
IGN AU: No kidding. Why not?
Josh Sawyer: I dunno – it just kind of pulls me out of the world. And a lot of times it just seems kind of cheesy and goofy. I mean, I kind of appreciate it in a 'ha ha ha –fine' kind of way, but once it starts to go overboard and the world is full of it, it just starts to irritate me I guess.
In any case, a lot of our designers wanted to put that stuff in there and I'd be saying 'no, no, no, don't do it.' Eventually we thought, you know, there's probably an easy way to do this, which is a perk that basically says 'I wanna see all the goofy shit.' So we have Wild Wasteland. You opt into it at the beginning and then you get to see all the goofy crap.
IGN AU: Sure. But if you don't opt into it at the beginning of the adventure, are you missing out on missions and things?
Josh Sawyer: No, no – one thing that I made very clear is, anything that you put in Wild Wasteland has to have a normal equivalent – or you really can't gain any advantage from Wild Wasteland. So if there's something there in Wild Wasteland, there needs to be something of equal value in the normal wasteland. There's not a huge amount of Wild Wasteland content – just a few goofy things here and there, but ultimately we wanted to make sure that people weren't being locked away from content if they didn't take it.
In-jokes and references abount in Fallout: New Vegas - but only for those who really want them.
IGN AU: Okay. Can you give us an example of one of these pieces of content?
Josh Sawyer: Let's see – there is a certain grenade that people might remember from Fallout 2 that is a pop-culture reference that you can find. And if you don't find that specific grenade, you will find a mini-nuke instead. So either way you get something cool, and if you have Wild Wasteland you get something funny out of it – and if you don't, you still get a mininuke, which is pretty nice.”
How can the player interact within the environment between the Vegas world and the customization and progression of your character?
The character customization really comes more from the S.P.E.C.I.A.L.S. that you pick, or whether or not you pick any traits in the beginning. Traits is something that we brought back in Fallout: New Vegas where you can now pick up to two traits when you first create your character. Most of which have a positive and a negative effect so you can do your skills that are more pacifist go up by a certain amount but your combat skills go down by a certain amount, kind of a trade off. The perks that you pick along the way obviously have a big effect. But then beyond that it is really the player's actions that determine how your character is customized. So you are not going to go down to the Vegas strip and start gambling or do quests to find new entertainers for a hotel that wants entertainers for their shows, those aren't going to dramatically change your character customization. It's your actions and how you do stuff that is ultimately going to change. These guys like me better or I've gambled a lot and I've won a lot so I am getting comped now. They are bringing me drinks, they are giving me a room for the night, that sort of is the benefit in oppose to my character does something different now that he couldn't do before. The Vegas stuff is more additive and flavor in terms of how you want to play the game or what kind of things you want to be doing.
You mentioned earlier how interacting with factions will change the story, could you be more specific?
Not without giving too much away, but in general you've got two main factions in the game fighting for control over the Mojave wasteland, NCR and Caesar's Legion. We've tried to have everything in Fallout: New Vegas not to be so black and white. These are the good guys these are the bad guys, if you join with these guys you are bad, if you join with these guys you are good. It's not quite that cut and dry. When you talk to folks, things you are doing may feel a bit more evil or feel more good guy, but you can join either side and help their cause in terms of helping them buy more control of the wasteland. There are a lot of smaller factions in the wasteland that maybe neutral in terms of which way they are leaning. And working through some of those factions and how they act, or the quests that you do for them, or how you resolve things related to those smaller factions as well as those larger faction, you're kind of helping chart the course of what is going to happen in the Mojave and who is going to win. To put it more simply, if you join Caesar's Legion and spend a lot of time wiping out the NCR then you are helping Caesar's Legion win out over the NCR. While if you join NCR and start wiping out Caesar's Legion then you are helping them take control. So that is a more obvious example of getting involved with factions and helping determine outcome and who is going to the whole.”