Until recently, I had seen "Fallout: New Vegas" on a leash. One of the developers would plop me down in a region of the map and let me explore that area, but the moment I started to venture, I was stopped. It's painful to see a "Fallout" game that way, as the franchise is so focused around exploration and discovery. Thankfully the latest press event for the game was the open, unguided experience I was hoping for. After starting the game and watching the standard "Fallout" intro, I was told to go wherever I wanted in the Nevada wastes.
Like "Fallout 3," much of the map in "Fallout: New Vegas" is inspired by real places. And although you can't play the game until October, you can visit these places with the magic of Google Maps!
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In "Fallout: New Vegas," Camp Searchlight is a military installation that was once held by the New California Republic (NCR). The NCR is basically the lawful faction of "New Vegas," acting as the police force for the area in and around New Vegas. The NCR's primary foe is Caesar's Legion, a band of crazed slavers and mercenaries out to conquer New Vegas for their own needs.
In the case of Camp Searchlight, Caesar's Legion managed to sneak a nuclear device into the base, thereby turning once-loyal NCR soldiers into mindless, feral ghouls. I managed to stumble upon this town while wandering the wastes, and the ghouls quickly chased me down and killed me. The high levels of radiation didn't help matters, either. Camp Searchlight is not the sort of place you really want to explore at level 2.
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Nipton is not doing well at all in the world of New Vegas. When I happened upon the sleepy desert town, the dusty streets were lined with people tied to crucifixes. Yikes. Approaching the town hall, I was set upon by a band of Caesar's Legion soldiers.
The leader of the group was named Vulpes Inculta, and he told the dark story of Nipton. Apparently the city was overrun with gamblers, thieves and prostitutes. Vulpes came in and decided to "save" the lot of them by holding a lottery. Winners of the lottery would be strung up, the rest would become slaves. Vulpes seemed pretty proud of this, even though his men managed to turn Nipton into a ghost town. Thankfully I was able to talk them out of stringing me up (they had me seriously out-gunned), and Vulpes went on his way. Bethesda's producer on "New Vegas," Jason Bergman, said that Vulpes returns throughout the game, and offers missions similar to what we saw in the Dark Brotherhood of "Oblivion."
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