New details of Fallout: New Vegas have emerged from PC Gamer Magazine, and Bethesda released plenty of screenshots to highlight the changes and improvements made.
The most immediate thing you'll notice is that the surroundings look quite similar to Fallout 3. That would happen, with a post-apocalyptic landscape and all. What's different is in how developer Obsidian is making the whole world of New Vegas feel like an atomic Western.
Screenshots released by Bethesda don't show a lot of New Vegas itself - which will be reconstructed unlike the destroyed surroundings - but they do display an abstract sense of humour in the dressing up of Super Mutants and 'Fore!' options in the VATS combat screen. Fallout fans complained that Bethesda's third instalment had lost some of the wit and magic from the classic PC RPGs, which is something New Vegas aims to set right.
Obsidian is known for its work on Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2 and the upcoming Alpha Protocol, but it's worth noting that the studio is formed of ex-Black Isle Studios members - the same developers behind the original Fallout games. Fallout 2 designer Chris Avellone and Fallout 1 and 2 concept artist Brian Menzie are among the old-school working on New Vegas.
The focus of the new game was to focus on a new city, in the same way that Fallout 3 was exclusively set in Washington D.C. - but Avellone said that the team wanted to see a "real world" example of what Bethesda's game accomplished. "So, if we have a western version of Fallout 3, what’s a key western city that people will immediately get when they hear the title. And also, what’s interesting to us?
"So individually, Vegas came up for a number of people without a community discussion about it. That kept coming. So we said, OK, if within this small sample group that city keeps coming up, and we understand why, that’s the city to use."
Your character in the game amounts to a glorified postman - sending mysterious packages from client to client for caps. When you're shot in the head by an attacker and left for dead, the experience changes your personality from a meek and shy person to a gung-ho, adventurous type ready to tackle the worst of Nevada. That and you want revenge on the guy who shot you and nicked your gear.
Other details include a new Hard Core mode, which makes the world even more difficult by throwing dehydration, ammo weight and delayed stimpack healing into the mix. A new weapons modification system will allow you to attach objects to your artillery to improve stats - a feature that Obsidian credits the PC Fallout modding community for.
Take a look at the screens above and let us know what you think in the comments below.