'New Vegas is a very, very important game to us,' says mildly exasperated Todd Howard, who will never stop getting grilled about New Vegas

Vault overseer
Chris Parnell in the Fallout show, with a somewhat similar expression to Howard's but with one fewer eye. (Image credit: Prime TV)

If we keep bugging Todd Howard about Fallout: New Vegas, I wonder if he'll get so irritated that he eventually turns against the game for real? For now, at least, the Bethesda Game Studios director has reiterated that he likes New Vegas, the 2010 Fallout spin-off developed by Obsidian, and also likes Obsidian, and also respects New Vegas' lore, and also isn't trying to erase it from history.

The question posed was a benign one, actually: On a Kinda Funny Games stream, a fan asked whether Bethesda and Obsidian now both being owned by Microsoft opens up the possibility of another collaboration. To that, Howard said that he can't say: "I can't speak to things that we're doing with the franchise in the future, obviously."

While posing the question, host Greg Miller joked that Howard didn't have to answer at all given his rumored disdain for New Vegas. Taking the cue, Howard once again put it on record that he is not and has never been an Obsidian hater.

"First I'll say, [Obsidian] did an amazing job with New Vegas," said Howard. "And I'll say to everybody, that's a game that we published … and I would say Feargus [Urquhart], who runs Obsidian, is absolutely one of my favorite people in the videogame industry … New Vegas is a very, very important game to us, and our fans, we think they did an incredible job. If anything, the show is leaning into the events [of New Vegas]."

It was the Amazon Fallout show that Howard's alleged resentment toward New Vegas was supposedly evidenced by most recently, mainly due to its treatment of Shady Sands, a location from the original Fallouts and New Vegas. Chris broke down that whole controversy in an article, but the short version is that it took some strenuous stretching to find a coded anti-New Vegas message in the show's plot, and Howard later said that, no, they were not trying to retcon the events of non-Bethesda Fallout games.

In this week's Kinda Funny interview, he said again that he wants to respect the experiences of Fallout players, but that it's tricky. The second season of the Fallout show will involve the events of New Vegas in some way, but "it is obviously difficult to deal with when you're going back to an area where a game had multiple endings."

"We have some answers there, but it's hard," said Howard. "I'll just admit—everybody realize, it's hard to canonize, or say, 'This is exactly how that game ended.' And so, whenever we can, I like to avoid it: Don't refute anything that happened, be careful when you're specific about what happened. We want that game and what the players did to be their reality and truth."

Howard went on to further break down the complexity of adding lore to a long-running series.

"Like, where do you draw the line between what's true and what's not true?" he said. "What we tend to do is, the most truthful thing is what people saw on the screen, right? That's the most truth. And then things that are written officially along with the games are kinda second truth. And then, other things that are written or done outside of that—spin-off things, or somebody answering on the internet—those things are kinda third place. 

"And when you go do something new, you kind of look back over that and go, 'OK, how much do I want to lean in on this truth down here, versus this other one?' Or if you have a really really good idea, or you want to move things forward in some way, how do you acknowledge that [history] while still moving things forward? And obviously it can be tricky when some of those things refute [each other]."

Whether or not Fallouts 1, 2, and New Vegas present better renditions of The Wasteland than Bethesda's Fallout games and the Amazon show is up for debate, but I think we can safely say that the web of resentment some suppose exists among the series creators doesn't really exist. Original Fallout creator Tim Cain loved the show, and Fallout: New Vegas director Josh Sawyer said that he doesn't care what Bethesda and Amazon do with the events of New Vegas.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.