Fallout: New Vegas is considered by many fans to be the best game the series has to offer. The world feels more expansive and gritty, the Wild West theme is intoxicating and immersive, and your faction loyalties and unlike most RPGs, your quest choices, feel like they actually matter and have a lasting effect on the world around you. Unlike Bethesda's Fallout 3 and the most recent entry Fallout 4, New Vegas feels much closer to what the original two Interplay games were aiming for. New Vegas gave the player an unparalleled amount of choices to determine the fate of the Mojave. You choose from one of four factions to fight for: the New California Republic (NCR), Caesar's Legion, Mr. House, or Yes Man.
Released in 2010, New Vegas is a really fun ride, and now considered one of the greatest video games of all time. It's managed to keep a large fanbase and robust modding community. Yet, while almost every gamer has played New Vegas at this point, there are still numerous unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions. Fallout as a series has always had a sense of the farcical and mocking, with its subversive sense of humor and 1950s retro-futurist aesthetic. But there are characters who never got the proper send-off they deserved, storylines that ended in more mystery than they started, and plot holes that you may have noticed when wandering around our beloved radiation-filled, crazy post-apocalyptic world.
Here are 25 head-scratching plot holes, questions left unanswered, and unresolved mysteries that Fallout: New Vegas left hanging.
25 House Goes Bust
Despite founding the New Vegas Strip, Mr. House is not a popular guy. If the Courier goes with any of the possible story routes in Fallout: New Vegas except working for House directly, the faction you're working for will eventually want him gone. The Courier does this by going from the penthouse of the Lucky 38 casino to a control room where Mr. House's stasis chamber rests, then finishing him off in any number of creative ways.
There's even a convenient elevator down to it
But hang on one minute: there is absolutely no reason for Mr. House to have a door to his chamber open with an unlocked computer terminal in the first place. There's even a convenient elevator down to it from the Lucky 38's penthouse! While these must have been required for construction, in his 261 years of life there's no reason House couldn't have had it sealed off, or at least locked or removed the terminal.
24 Howdy, Pardner!
Victor, the Securitron you encounter in Goodsprings, is nothing if not suspicious. There's something about his "aw shucks" cowboy persona that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. He seems overly-friendly, refuses to answer questions about his past, or tell you who he works for. He also follows you, startling you by popping up randomly on the road to New Vegas and forcing you into dialogues. You can't even waste him: he just inhabits another Securitron. Everything about Victor screams that he has some sinister motivation that the game will eventually reveal.
Except it never does. After you reach New Vegas he more or less stops mattering. If you get rid of Mr.House, he simply goes offline and stands outside his shack forever. Cut content does reveal that he was meant to duel you after disposing of House (there's a mod that restores this), but even that seems anti-climactic.
23 Snack Cakes Are Forever
Food is vital for Hardcore mode, and take a stroll anywhere in Fallout 3, New Vegas, or 4, and you're bound to discover many unopened boxes of Sugar Bombs, Cram, Nuka Cola, BlamCo Mac and Cheese, Dandy Boy Apples, Potato Crisps, Fancy Lads Snack Cakes, and many other pre-war goodies. Somehow, boxes and cans of food remain intact and edible even 200 years after the bombs fell. All you get is a small dose of radiation poisoning from consuming them.
While processed food does last longer, there's no reason pre-packaged food should last as long as it does in the Fallout Universe. Most of it should've rotted away by now, or at least give you food poisoning; instead, you gain health points from eating food that expired centuries ago. The packaged food of Fallout is clearly there for the 1950s aesthetic of the world, rather than making logical sense.
22 The Mystery Of Vault 19
Any fan of Fallout knows that the Vault-Tec shelters central to the plot were actually all designed for unethical experiments on their human dwellers. Vault 19 was one such experiment, with the survivors split into "Red" and "Blue" teams, each with its own Overseer, with minimal contact. When the sulfur caves beneath the vault began to leak into the ventilation system, each team was convinced the other was responsible.
It's never revealed what the ultimate fate of Vault 19 was
It's a great set-up, but it's never revealed what the ultimate fate of Vault 19 was. When you find it, the Powder Gangers are using it as a hideout. Logs indicate that when they explored the upper floor, they found it was empty, indicating it might have been abandoned. There are fire geckos living underneath it, but no sign of bodies or skeletons near them. There's just no indication of what happened to the vanished people of Vault 19.
21 "Legion Ears" - Haha, Get It?
The Mojave is a rough place, and in Fallout: New Vegas you can take a quest from Private Sexton in Camp Forlorn Hope called "An Ear to the Ground." Your mission is simple: he wants you to bring back Legion ears, which can be looted from the bodies of slain Legion soldiers. Sexton gives you caps in exchange for ears, and you also get NCR fame and a running tally in the mess hall.
Here's what's strange about that: Legion ears are not unique. They just look like normal human ears. There's no way to prove that they belonged to Legionaries in the first place. An unscrupulous person could just bring in the ears of innocents and profit from it. Now, there is the equivalent Legion quest where you collect NCR dog tags, but these items would be much harder to forge and would have identifying information about the person.
20 Mysterious Stranger, Lonesome Drifter
We all enjoy when multiple games in the same franchise are connected, and the Mysterious Stranger from Fallout is no exception. A perk known as "Mysterious Stranger" has appeared in every Fallout game since the first one. If you get it, there's a chance that during hostile encounters a temporary ally wearing a fedora and an overcoat will appear and one-shot your enemy with his unique .44 magnum.
Who is the Stranger?
In New Vegas, another connection can be found if you speak to the Lonesome Drifter east of El Dorado Dry Lake. Through conversation, hints, and the fact that he wields the unique magnum as a sidearm, it becomes apparent the Stranger is the Drifter's father. This is the first clue we've ever gotten about the nature of the Mysterious Stranger, but it leaves as many questions as it answers. Who is the Stranger? Is he human? Why is he a deadbeat dad?
19 Ain't That A Kick In The Head
The Courier starts Fallout: New Vegas by being shot in the head and buried six feet under. After being saved by Doc Mitchell, you embark on a quest of revenge against the man who shot you, and that's what kicks off the story. While a gunshot to the head isn't a death sentence in 100% of cases, there are some pretty unlikely elements of the Courier's survival.
Firstly, it's difficult to believe the Doc's run-down house in a post-apocalyptic wasteland is a sterile enough environment to do open brain surgery. It's also a remarkable coincidence that this one random doctor is enough of an expert on brain injuries that he can heal a gunshot wound to the head with no ill effects. Finally, it's hard to believe that with all the punishment the Courier takes throughout the game, the brain injuries somehow never act up again or have any effect.
18 Scientists Move Faster Than Time
In the opening narration for the Old World Blues DLC, the voice describes how the scientists of the Big MT were first brought together: "The Great War brought a new energy to Big Mountain and its scientists. Although sheltered from the frontlines, the scientists waged their own war." It adds that they were focused "toward one solution: winning the war."
It's impressive that the scientists accomplished that much during the Great War, especially since according to Fallout lore the Great War lasted for all of one day – October 23, 2077, during which the USA, China, and the USSR, all launched their nukes, leading to the nuclear apocalypse we all know. The narration probably meant the Resource Wars, a series of global conflicts over the last of the world's resources that led up to the Great War, but unless the Think Tank has a time machine, it's still an error.
17 Inventor Unknown
Radio New Vegas is a comforting presence in the Mojave Wasteland. It's hosted by the mysterious Mr. New Vegas, who plays music and reads the news, including reports of the Courier's latest adventures. He is frequently heard in-game but is never actually seen. There's a good reason for that: players who found the broadcasting center in a trailer know that Mr. New Vegas is an AI programmed before the Great War to be the host of Radio New Vegas.
Who built Mr. New Vegas, and why?
This would seem to be the solution to the mystery, but there's one thing the game never solves: who built Mr. New Vegas, and why? It's clear they were a technical genius given he's still doing his job 200 years later. Mr. House is a possibility, but that remains unconfirmed. Who were you, mysterious inventor that gave us our most reliable DJ?
16 Fascist Fighting Force Just Disappears
The main antagonists of Fallout 2 and 3 are the Enclave; a xenophobic and militaristic organization made of the descendants of the pre-war United States Government. They have some of the best armor and weapons in both games and face off against both the Chosen One and the Lone Wanderer, who destroy their bases at the Poseidon Energy Oil Rig and Raven Rock, respectively. Players hoped to learn what ultimately became of this fascistic threat in New Vegas and especially Fallout 4.
Unfortunately, we never really find out. While the Enclave Remnants are a faction in New Vegas, they're a minor one at best, made of elderly retired squad members. There's no trace of the Enclave in Fallout 4's Commonwealth. It's astounding to think that a massive evil fighting force just disappeared. Perhaps a future Fallout game will show us what became of the Enclave, and if they still somewhere, plotting their return.
15 Invented Replicators... For A Casino
All signs indicate that pre-war civilization in Fallout was pretty awful, even before the Resource Wars, military invasions, war crimes, and finally, nuclear annihilation. Case in point: the vending machines at the Sierra Madre casino in the Dead Money DLC. So why are these devices the perfect symbol of societal rottenness?
Well you see, they're actually matter conversion devices that use Sierra Madre casino chips as base matter to convert into food, medicine, tools, or ammo. Basically, pre-war society invented the Replicators from Star Trek, and instead of using them to cure war, poverty, famine, and disease, they... used them as vending machines for a casino. Even more incredible, according to Dean Domino, the technology was not uncommon before the war.
Pre-war civilization had unimaginable prosperity in the palm of its hand and squandered it to make money. I've got to stop before this gets too real.
14 Like Gold For Water
NCR dollars have appeared as the currency of the republic since Fallout 2. While they appeared as minted coins in 2 and even replaced bottle caps in some regions, they appear as printed bills similar to pre-war money in New Vegas. The reasons for this are economic: the NCR dollar is in a recession because of the war with the Brotherhood of Steel and is no longer backed by gold since the supplies ran out, forcing the NCR to back their currency with water instead.
Water should have already been more valuable than gold
The problem with the idea of a "water standard" is that the NCR was based in California, and New Vegas itself is in Nevada-two very parched states with frequent droughts. Water should have already been more valuable than gold.
13 Just Roman Around
Dialogue in New Vegas makes it clear that Caesar's Legion controls large swaths of land to the East, particularly Arizona, and its capital is the city of Flagstaff. Sadly, none of this territory appears in any Fallout games. The player spent Fallout and Fallout 2 being able to wander through NCR territory, and they control 80% of the map in New Vegas, but the only signs of Legion life we ever see are in military camps like Cottonwood Cove and Caesar's Fort.
What is civilian life like in Legion-controlled territory? We only have first-hand experience from merchant Dale Barton, who only says the trade routes are safe. We only see soldiers and slaves in the Legion bases, no ordinary people living under Legion control. Let's hope a future Fallout game gives us more of this underused faction.
12 California Dreamin'
The New California Republic (NCR) is first mentioned in the ending slides for the first Fallout, and became a major faction in Fallout 2. In Fallout 3 and 4 they don't appear but are mentioned, because they don't control territory that far East. That makes sense. But fans of the series have to wonder how the largest functioning government of the Wasteland is doing these days.
What happened to big cities like the Hub? Is Shady Sands still the capital? How is Junktown doing? The Boneyard (known to us as Los Angeles) became Angel's Boneyard, and that's about all we know about it. Don't even get us started on the wars the NCR fought with the Raiders, the Enclave, the Brotherhood, the Legion, the details of which remain a mystery.
11 Homeless Shelters? Who Needs 'Em
During development, time and budget constraints forced limits on what New Vegas could do. One infamous example is the Strip, which was originally supposed to be much bigger than it was, and technical limits necessitated it also being separated into loading zones. These unfortunate cuts were not limited to New Vegas itself, but affected Freeside, too.
And that's why in the slums of New Vegas, which should be teeming with pickpockets and beggars and makeshift homeless shelters, seems so empty. Varied and unique NPCs were supposed to live in Freeside, including more vagrants to show the harsh realities of life in New Vegas, and pickpockets to keep the player constantly on edge. As it stands, the slums are remarkably free of homeless people and encampments.
10 Why Shoot First?
Seeing as how human civilization has been destroyed and the world is an irradiated hellscape, the Great War is the central historical event of the Fallout Universe. The conflict lasted just two hours. Since most records have been lost, the question was raised by fans: who shot first? Contradictory information has surfaced from the Fallout Bible and other sources, and it's been variably stated it was the United States, the Enclave, aliens, or even Vault-tec itself to fulfill their vision of an apocalypse.
We know the USA and China were in a war for 11 years prior
Now, thanks to Fallout 4 and New Vegas, terminals scattered throughout heavily imply that China shot first. That's one mystery solved, but it raises another one: why? We know the USA and China were in a war for 11 years prior, but what caused them to push the button? Were Power Armored American soldiers outside Beijing? Sadly, we may never know.
9 They Just Don't Make Them Like They Used To
Weapon degradation is a controversial mechanic in video games. It's often added to increase gameplay difficulty and make players still feel vulnerable after they've gotten the Killgun 9000 or whatever. However, the rate at which firearms degrade in Fallout: New Vegas is massively exaggerated, even for an irradiated world.
In fact, some weapons in the game are only able to fire 100 or so rounds before they break. This doesn't make sense even with pre-war weapons being centuries old. In real life, even cheap guns can fire thousands of rounds before they even need a cleaning, much less break completely. High-quality firearms can fire over ten thousand rounds. You might think that it's still justified because Fallout's guns have been around for longer, but people have dug up guns buried for over a century and successfully fired them hundreds of time.
8 Ride Off Into The Sunset
The gang of raiders known as the Great Khans are one of the few factions to survive the Wasteland until Fallout: New Vegas. They've been with us since the first Fallout, when they terrorized the small community of Shady Sands and were just called the "Khans." Though they might be nothing more than a pack of chem-dealing Mongol warrior wannabes, you have to admit their longevity is impressive.
But do the Khans live beyond Fallout: New Vegas? Well, it doesn't look good for them. Most endings have them outright annihilated by the NCR, Legion, or other factions. You can also choose to wipe them out yourself. But another path where you convince Papa Khan that they should claim their own legacy gives them a "ride off into the sunset" ending where their fate is left ambiguous. Time will tell if one of the most long-lived factions in the Wasteland lives to make Psycho another day.
7 The Plan to Infiltrate Jabba's Palace Made More Sense Than This
The Platinum Chip is a textbook case of a MacGuffin, or a plot device that everyone in the story is after. In this way, it's similar to the GECK in Fallout 3. Robert House, who the game continually reminds you was a big enough genius to predict the Great War, had it printed at great expense a day before the war, but it was subsequently lost.
He waited decades and spent millions of caps to find it
Here's what's weird: House is essentially immortal and has virtually unlimited wealth, and had 150 years to make a new Platinum chip, yet didn't. The chip itself simply activates new weapons on the Securitrons, which they already had but were unable to use. Wouldn't it have been easier for the technical genius to "jailbreak" his own creations? Instead, he waited decades and spent millions of caps to find it.
6 Forbidden Penthouse
When you first enter the Lucky 38, your goal is to head up to the two-level circular penthouse so your Courier can finally "meet" Mr. House for the first time. However, there's a bump in the road: Victor explains that companions are not allowed to visit the penthouse. They can't go in the Cocktail Lounge either, and will be left waiting in the previous room. That's a bit classist, don't you think?
Well, here's the bizarre part: this remains the case with the penthouse even if you dispose of or incapacitate Mr. House. Same with the Cocktail Lounge. Your followers will remain wherever the Courier left them (usually in the casino level or the Presidential Suite if you're staying there), idling away their time in "wait" mode. Clearly, your character gets a little conceited in House's place. We can't have "the help" dirtying up the place, now can we?
5 When In Rome...
Several characters in New Vegas imply that relationships between men are accepted, or even the norm, in Caesar's Legion. It seems counter-intuitive, but Major Knight of the NCR remarks how, while they're more accepting back West, the Legion is strangely more accepting of "friendships" as he calls them. Cass also alludes to this fact. However, Jimmy claims first-hand experience that such relationships are punishable by death in the Legion. It's never made clear how the two claims can be reconciled.
Could it that the Legion has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
One theory states that "friendships" are not actually allowed, but are used to slander the Legion by portraying them as unmanly or hypocritical, though the lack of homophobic dialogue by the NCR or anyone else makes this less likely. Could it that the Legion has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
4 The Last Survivor of Vault 11
Vault 11 is probably the most horrifying of the Vault-tec shelters. Like many others, it was a social experiment. In this one, the inhabitants were told they must sacrifice one of their own each year, and if they refused all the vault dwellers would meet their end. This awful practice continued until there were only five dwellers left. In an act of defiance, they refused to sacrifice any more of their residents, only to discover there never was any danger and the vault was unlocked the whole time.
After learning the terrible truth, the five survivors discussed ending their misery to prevent the outside world from learning but were not in agreement. The Courier finds an audio log detailing the argument between the five, which ends in a shootout. Four bodies are found near the entrance to the vault. The log is ambiguous as to the fate of the fifth.
3 Steel Hanging In There
In Fallout: New Vegas, the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel is in serious trouble. They've been trying to contact the BoS headquarters in the Capital Wasteland, but haven't been getting responses. Given that the NCR and the Brotherhood have been at war, it's possible that all the chapters in NCR territory have been wiped out, and it's stated that the Mojave chapter is probably one of the last remaining chapters in the West.
What accounts for the wildly different attitudes of the BoS? They went from being the good guys in Fallout 3 to being xenophobic cultists in New Vegas. Don't get us started on 4, where they're so bad it's ridiculous. Isolation perhaps? Or maybe more and more members are realizing their withholding of technology is counter-productive? The current status of BoS remains murky.
2 King Of The World
The Yes Man ending acts as both an alternate ending for players who prefer to become the ruler of New Vegas themselves, and a fail-safe to ensure the player can't break the game. With Yes Man around, no matter what you do or who sleeps with the fishes at the end of your game, it's still winnable. Yes Man's ominous ending dialogue about becoming "more assertive" was interpreted by some as a betrayal, but the developers clarified it meant he would only take orders from the Courier.
What was life like under the Courier's rule?
But big questions still linger about the "Independent Vegas" ending: what was life like under the Courier's rule? Was it an enlightened dictatorship enforced by Securitron guns? A techno-autocracy or a radical free market zone (or both)? Did the NCR or Legion ever retaliate? There are vague hints that an independent Vegas has problems, but it's never stated what they are.
1 The Biggest Mystery Of All: Who Won?
It's the biggest unanswered question of Fallout: New Vegas: which of the four endings is canon? Players were hoping to get answers as to who ruled New Vegas in Fallout 4, but almost no references to the Mojave were included in the latest game. All these years later and the fate of Vegas is still unknown.
Chances are the writers wouldn't favor the Legion or Mr. House, and the game seems to steer you toward the NCR. But it's also stated that the NCR aren't the straightforward good guys they were in Fallout 1 and 2, and have become just like the corrupt, war-like U.S. they idolize. If you play your cards right the Yes Man ending can work out, and this would give a fresh canvas for future stories. Where did Vegas and the Courier end up? Hopefully, the answer will come in a future Fallout game.