In Defence of New Reno

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by Jogre, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    So, I've become aware that pre-Fallout 3, lots of Fallout fans took issue with New Reno, claiming that it was implausible, and not fallout like.

    Instead of gravedigging, I decided to write this up as a separate thread, writing up a general post defending New Reno.

    From what I can tell the main criticisms were as follows: It is too rebuilt, It economically doesn't make sense, the Mafia theme is too silly and that the gang politics don't make sense. I'll address all of these criticisms
    Too Rebuilt
    So one common criticism I've read on old threads is that New Reno is too rebuilt. A lot of this is simply people who want to maintain the chaotic atmosphere in Fallout, and don't want full infrastructures even a full 200 years after the war, however some of this is legitimate.

    I've read a lot more intelligent criticisms of New Reno being too rebuilt in this thread: however(Not going to respond directly there because gravedigging).

    A few users pointed out that the NCR is still relatively new, and the majority of the wasteland hasn't really seen proper infrastructure by the time of Fallout 2, and so it feels out of place compared to the rest of the wasteland, with no real explanation.

    My response is: New Reno is in a perfect position for rebuilding.

    Reading the travel log from Vault City, we find out that New Reno wasn't hit hard by the bombs, and therefore maintained a lot of it's infrastructure. Not only this, but a larger amount of the population would have likely survived.

    Not only that, but geographically, Reno is near two fairly large lakes(Lake Tahoe and Lake Pyramid).

    So while other towns would have had to rebuild from scratch or from bombed out towns, New Reno has the advantage of building on top of a town that stayed mostly intact.
    Economically Doesn't Make Sense
    This criticism mainly stems from the fact that A. We don't see many farms so how do they feed themselves?, and B. The City relies on tourism for an income, but it doesn't make sense to have a tourism based economy in the Fallout Universe.

    For the first part, a user on another thread pointed out that the first area of New Reno we see isn't the outskirts of it, but rather we start on Virgin Street, which is in the middle of several buildings and one of the main casinos.

    For all we know, there could be plenty of farms on the outskirts of New Reno, but the game throws us right in to where the main action in New Reno is, rather than walking us through the outskirts first.

    The tourism criticism on the other hand, points out that New Reno's main source of income seems to be as a tourist trap, but realistically it doesn't make sense for a town to live off being a tourist trap, since why would your average wastelander travel across dangerous wastelands to visit New Reno to begin with?

    Firstly I'd like to point out it's not their SOLE source of income. As Frankie in the den points out: (Dialogue File Here:, he imports his booze from New Reno, and they charge "An arm and a leg" for it.

    Sure, lots of towns have distilleries producing it on its own, but if the families of New Reno were able to produce it in much larger quantities, they could realistically make a profit.

    Secondly, tying back to the point of how rebuilt New Reno is, it'd make perfect sense for people to want to travel across dangerous wastes to visit as tourists.

    Most towns we come across are simple farming or trapping towns, with limited entertainment, just enough fresh water to get by, and not much in the way of electricity.

    New Reno by comparison is a Wasteland paradise: Electricity, Working phones, high-stakes gambling, boxing matches, ect.

    While not exactly the kind of place you'd want to live(It's kinda a seedy area with huge amounts of drug dealers and prostitutes on every street), visiting New Reno would be an incredibly nice change of scenery for your average wastelander, who would otherwise live a fairly drab and dreary life.

    Also, for the record, I feel this idea that tourism couldn't work in New Reno only really holds up because people are imagining people trekking across dangerous wastes alone to reach New Reno, when really this isn't the case.

    Ariel from Vault 13(Dialogue File Here:, was travelling with a caravan to get to the NCR.

    Sure this is one example, but this demonstrates a way in which your average wastelander could get from place to place in relative safety(Since caravans are fairly well guarded).

    You may wonder why a traveller would head to New Reno, when they could travel a little further and get to the NCR, but I'd say for the same reason a traveller would head to Vault City instead of the NCR: They all appeal to different crowds.

    Vault City has hundreds of people waiting in the Courtyard in fairly poor conditions, those people could all move to the NCR, but Vault City is renowned for it's medicine, so it appeals to many people who have serious conditions, who may need a continuous source of medicine.

    NCR has fairly strict laws, and wouldn't accept anyone with a less than perfect history, and outlaws jet and prostitution.

    New Reno has the advantage over those two that anything goes. Anyone can wind up in New Reno regardless of their past, Jet addicts and other junkies won't have to worry about going clean if they visit New Reno, Even gambling and the Golden Globes would have an appeal for tourists, because some wastelander's may be after fame or fortune in Reno.
    Mafia Theme too silly
    One complaint that came up was that the mafia theme was too overt and silly. Having outright gangster hijinks in a city felt too silly and not grounded in realism.

    My response to this is: Fallout has ALWAYS had areas with silly gimmicks and themes. It's not meant to be a 100% serious series.

    Even look at Fallout 1: Junktown is built around being a cop show. Quests there involve you wire tapping, getting in shoot outs with gangs, gathering witness statements, going undercover, ect. , and it's fairly obvious that this is all built around the fact that the mayor played MacGyver.

    More overtly: The Brotherhood of Steel are built around being a knights order in the wasteland, literally calling their soldiers "Paladins", and acting like an old knights order.

    Were Fallout a serious representation of life after the apocalypse, it'd likely have a paramilitary order that hoards technology, a town ruled by gangs, and a town with a tough, somewhat authoritarian leader. The reason they have cop-show hijinks, wasteland knights and the mafia is because it's more fun that way.
    Gang Politics don't make sense
    The final criticism I'll address is that the gang politics of New Reno don't make sense.

    Many people on previous threads have pointed out that it wouldn't make sense to have multiple mafia families vying for power over New Reno.

    It's been pointed out that in the real world, the reason gangs exist in stalemates is because of the police, so with no organised structure, why is there a stalemate in New Reno.

    This is one criticism that I do partly agree with. The New Reno families probably would have tried to upstage each other at one point or another.

    But one thing that this criticism doesn't take note of is that: We don't know how long this stalemate has lasted for. By the time of New Vegas, the main power players in New Reno have completely changed, with the Mordinos and Salvatores no longer being a power.

    We don't know how long it's been those specific 4 families ruling over New Reno. For all we know, families could rise and fall in New Reno. We don't know how long the political situation in New Reno has been the way it is, so we can't really comment

    And a stalemate does make some sense, given that there are 4 families keeping each other in check. If one goes to direct war against another, what's stopping the other two from ganging up on the weakened victor.

    That being said though, I do agree that it'd be more realistic if one family had taken power by the events of Fallout 2, but it's not as big a deal as it's made out to be IMO.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
    • [Like] [Like] x 10
  2. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    Good post. I like most of the things you wrote.
    I personally never took any major issue with New Reno, other than the mafia theme. It just didn't feel right with me having Tommy guns on your bodyguards who also wear that stereotypical mafia outfit, while very single roughneck out in the wastes wears leather armors and what not. I get it being the uniform and exclusivity could explain it being something else than just a pop-culture reference, but it was still a bit silly.

    Tommy gun on the other hand makes almost no sense. I guess you could say that (like in real life), where Tommy is no longer made, there are similar guns manufactured by other companies, but it's still quite a stretch. In the retro-futuristic world where much better, cheaper and efficient weapons were produced, which are still scattered around the wastes, for these bouncers to use such a weapon was a bit...immersion-breaking I guess. They went a bit too far there if you ask me.

    Still, it's a minor issue. New Reno was a bit of a wtf moment when I first played FO2, but I grew to love it and appreciate it (unlike some other areas like San Fran).

    My main criticism here is directed at OP - @Jogre, you fucking suck at post formatting. This was excruciating to read.
  3. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    Yeah, I tend to overdo paragraphs to the degree that whatever I'm writing becomes a jumbled mess. Sorry.
  4. mfkndggrfll

    mfkndggrfll Still Mildly Glowing

    Feb 26, 2018
    Why not just accept the criticism rather than dismiss it. This is quite hilarous.
  5. CerberusGate

    CerberusGate I should save my game in a whole new slot

    Jun 6, 2016
    Pretty good post on New Reno. I personally was not too turned off by New Reno and even though part of me thought that New Reno was an oddity for being so rebuilt, I was able to enjoy the setting. It was better than San Francisco at least.

    A longer time skip between 1 and 2 probably would have made New Reno make more sense. Though as the Kings from New Vegas wound up demonstrating, a group can get inspired by motifs and styles enough to emulate them in everyday life. Plus you already addressed it with how Fallout always had silly gimmicks and themes.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  6. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010

    He didn't dismiss my criticism, so I'm not sure what you're referring to.
  7. James Snowscoran

    James Snowscoran Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 1, 2011
    Good thread. I've been diving back into FO2 recently and enjoying New Reno in particular immensely. The city's role in the gameworld feels consistent and involved- as long as you consider that many of the more mundane functions are abstracted (presumably there are outlying farmsteads as well as more mundane workshops under the control of the local kingpins, like T-Ray's chop shop). With drugs, alcohol, entertainment and shady deals with NCR and the Enclave being the more interesting endeavours in the area, it makes sense that the gameplay is focused around those elements.

    My one gripe with the city is that they went a bit overboard with the mafioso theme, especially with regards to those ridiculous oversized sprites with suits, fedoras and tommy guns. They look almost as bad as the NCR police.
  8. The Man From Nowhere

    The Man From Nowhere It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 28, 2017
    New Reno lacks a visible "productive" population to support all the mobsters, whores, porn stars, and drug dealers. Realistically none of these things can even exist without manufacturing, farming, skilled workers and the likes.

    It's like having Las Vegas, The Roman Colosseum, or Disney World thriving in the smack dab of the black plague.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  9. James Snowscoran

    James Snowscoran Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 1, 2011
    But you have manufacturing with slave labour in the stables, as well as a research operation, an automobile workshop staffed with a team of mechanics...all that's missing from your list is the farms, but do you really have to walk through a map of cornfields before entering the city?

    (I personally agree that it would improve the design to have some outlying farms on the outskirts of the first entry map, but that's neither here nor there- these things are clearly abstracted in much of the gameworld.)
  10. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 26, 2007
    The only problem I had with New Reno—wasn't really a problem per was just odd. How is there a chop shop in a region with only one working car?
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  11. James Snowscoran

    James Snowscoran Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 1, 2011
    Other cars are implied. Also, they presumably take apart some of the many wrecks scattered about the city and strip them of valuable components.
  12. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 26, 2007
    Implied only by the presence of a chop shop in New Reno... And there were no other cars in the city parking lot; or anywhere in the game world. Every car seen was pre-war junk, or they were repurposed as wagons, pulled by Brahmin. Even if their were ten working cars... or twice that... the chop shop was kind of silly IMO. (Yes I know it was abstracted... but still.)

    **It was still a great gag though.

    It was more jarring that their were no bicycles in Fallout 1, Fallout 2, and FO3.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  13. James Snowscoran

    James Snowscoran Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 1, 2011
    NCR has Ratch, who will sell you an upgrade that could fit "most any car." There's also the NCR Rangers' garage (with a wreck out in the yard). You park in what seems to be a designated parking spot in the Bazaar, and there's even that dude who makes a living by watching the parked cars.
  14. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 26, 2007
    I know that of course...:ok: It's a must buy for motor efficiency... The car is too expensive without it. But just because it would fit most cars, doesn't mean the rest of the car actually runs... It would fit most of the wrecks just peachy; it probably came off of one of them.

    *Which never made sense to me, because what does a blower do for an electric car?

    Missing from Fallout 1 & 2, was a wind car. They lived in an expanse of flat deserts, a wind car would have been their fastest (non motorized) form of cheap transportation; (the perfect thing for a courier).

    **Steel Dawn really had most of the vibe for Fallout, ten years ahead of them... and it came out the year before the game, Wasteland—from which Fallout was heavily inspired. :roll:

    It's hard for me to believe it... but I have never seen them mention it; (the Fallout 1 dev team).
    That doesn't mean that they didn't—of course (...or that they ever saw it!?), but I don't remember ever reading or watching interviews where anyone mentions it, and they often mentioned several films.

    Minus the heavy-on-the-retro-50s aspect... many clips from this film could pass for having coming from an official Fallout theatrical movie. IMO FO3 should have played like this.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018