When I reviewed "Fallout: New Vegas" before the new year, there were a few things I left out of the piece to avoid spoiling plot points. Now that more time has passed since its release, I felt like it was a good time to examine some of the hints in "Dead Money" which point to the future of DLC for "New Vegas." If you're planning on playing through "Dead Money," and are concerned about spoilers, you should stop reading now.
The Big Empty (aka The Big Mt. Training Facility)
One of the characters you meet in the Sierra Madre is Christine. She starts off as a mute, but eventually you discover that she's actually a member of the Brotherhood of Steel. Her mission was to track down Father Elijah, the main antagonist of "Dead Money," and bring him to justice. Unfortunately, in tracking him down, she was captured and held in something she calls The Big Empty. It's here that she was experimented on, as evidenced her numerous scars.
So what is The Big Empty? That requires some history.
Before Bethesda took control of the Fallout franchise, the developers of "New Vegas," Obsidian, were actually working on a follow-up to "Fallout 2." It was code-named Van Buren, but for all intents and purposes, it was "Fallout 3." The project was eventually canceled, but so much pre-production work went into the game that the developers had plenty of ideas to go off of, should they ever end up making a new Fallout game.
One of the ideas was a place called The Big Empty. Years ago, after Van Buren was canceled, No Mutants Allowed interviewed Chris Avellone. In that interview, he mentioned the Big Empty as one of his favorite locations from the project:
"...my favorite was the Big Empty (the Big Mt. Training facility run by Mr. Handys). There was lots of military-inspired goodness, plus an obstacle course we planned for a player to be able to run, using their different skillsets to outwit the mechanical judges and training officers."
Granted the details surrounding The Big Empty are subject to change, but the basics (about it being a secret military installation run by robots) seem to match what is discussed in "Dead Money." Don't be shocked if one of the future DLC chapters for "New Vegas" have you exploring this location.
The Grand Canyon And The Burned Man
The Grand Canyon is mentioned several times throughout "Fallout: New Vegas," usually in reference to The Burned Man. Once a loyal member of Caesar, Joshua Graham was punished for losing the battle of Hoover Dam by being covered in tar, set on fire, and tossed into the Grand Canyon. Throughout the game, you hear rumors and see graffiti saying: "The Burned Man lives!" You never come across him, though. Seems that the Grand Canyon would be his most likely location, right?
Also convincing is that, at the end of "Dead Money," Christine says that your character, the courier, would eventually face another courier in a battle at The Great Divide. What greater divide could there been than the Grand Canyon?
The (Other) Courier
Perhaps the most interesting clue about the future of "New Vegas" DLC is that reference to another courier. Once again it's Christine who hints at this courier, who she says rescued her from The Big Empty. He's described as a courier "who wore the flag of the old world on his back."
It's not the only time another courier is mentioned. When tracking down the main quest line of "New Vegas" in Primm, you learn that you were not supposed to be the one carrying the Platinum Chip. But, upon seeing your name on the list of potential couriers, this "flag of the old world" courier gave up the job and passed the responsibility on to you, thus sealing your fate.
So who is this courier? It must be Ulysses! You can read all about him in the excellent Fallout Wiki, but those who purchased the special edition of "New Vegas" already know what he looks like, as he appeared on one of the trading cards that came with the game.
In truth, Ulysses was actually supposed to be one of the companions in "New Vegas" but he was eventually cut. In an interview with Lightspeed Magazine, Chris Avellone said the following about Ulysses:
"There's a character on one of the trading cards, Ulysses, who was supposed to be a companion. Oddly enough, tearing him out of the game was almost as hard as putting him in because companion scripts touch almost everything (and he also was a complicated character in terms of some of the hooks into the storyline). Maybe he'll come back at some point. I miss him."
Seems like Avellone is getting his wish after all.
Any other hints about the future I missed? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!