Fallout: New Vegas' central motif that tethers all the webbing strands of plot, character and event in the sprawling Nevada wastes is clearly the attachment to the past and emulation of by-gone concepts, people, places, events and civilizations. What I'm wondering is, what is everyone's idea on what the "take-away" message of the game is? As you can see by my title, though I'm not at all sure of my position, is that the universal "point" to the game is to let go of the past. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to play all of the DLC, which I am sure delves into these themes more extensively, so I will have to focus on the vanilla game. The most I can say is that Old World Blues' title and focus on primitivistic tribes seems an apt microcosm for the whole point of this chapter in the Fallout saga. The three main factions all represent this in different ways. But one similarity is their joint fixation on the Battle of Hoover dam that occurred 4 years ago, and each spend the course of the game's narrative in preparation of repeating this event in the hopes it will go the way they wish this time. Firstly we have Mr. House; a decrepit man kept alive by his own machines for the purpose of preserving the Las Vegas of the pre-War days. Even though at first glance his eyes may appear to be set on the stars and the future, his heart remains attached to a ruined city of a bygone era - local tribes forced with the brute strength of his robotic servants to either serve as revivals of gambling establishments or forced out into the wastes, unfit for House's dream city. While admirable on some level, House's one-minded ambition does not make him a fitting autocrat for the new age (as he appears universally reviled by everyone under his leadership and, perhaps, it is not fit for the destiny of the new generation finding its footsteps to be dictated by a man from the old world); his dreams of New Vegas will dissipate after his inevitable and long postponed death. [Vegas] was a place of splendor. As magnificent as today's Strip may seem, it's but a shadow of the neon paradise that was Las Vegas. I grew up not far from here, and though I traveled the old world extensively, I never found another place like it. By 2065 I deemed it a mathematical certainty that an atomic war would devastate the Earth within 15 years. Every projection I ran confirmed it. I knew I couldn't "save the world," nor did I care to. But I could save Vegas, and in the process, perhaps, save mankind. - Mr. House The New California Republic are, as pointed out by their ideological detractors within the game world, an emulation of the type of state that led to the circumstances of the Great War. Reminiscent of the fascination of European statesmen with Rome following its collapse, the NCR represent a direct throwback to the last great civilization known to the inhabitants of the post-nuclear age. And while the values of democracy, free trade and rule of law have brought relative peace and economic prosperity to the lands of the NCR, so too has it brought all the tell-tale problems of the Old World; corruption, over-expansion, and stagnation. Tandi seems like a fitting icon for the NCR; a young girl first encountered dreaming about traveling the wasteland, and last encountered stuck in the very same place we first met her (and, to add insult to injury, is making the rest of the Wasteland into Shady Sands through imperialism). We must always remember that wherever Californians stand, we carry our principles with us: equal respect, representation, and protection under the laws of a just republic. This was the same fire that burned in the heart of the Old World that preceded us. We are the heirs of that civilization, torchbearers eastward of the Pacific, into the darkness of this wasted land. - President Aaron Kimball The most extreme manifestation of this underlying psyche of the Mojave Wasteland is Caesar's Legion, a viscerally neo-Roman collective of wasteland tribes led by an educated and thoroughly well-read despot who fashioned his own empire out of the knowledge of ancient civilizations he learned from his time in the Followers of the Apocalypse - throwing back this motif of the past about 2,000 years before any else. Interestingly, Caesar - despite his being the most reactionary of all the factions - also has arguably the keenest awareness of his own place in the history of the world to come; framed in Hegelian dialectics, he sees the synthesis of the Legion and the NCR as the way of the future and a solution to the problems endemic in both. What's ironic about the Legion's existence, however, is that Caesar fashioned his new Rome based on having read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. So too is the Legion's fall almost assured once Caesar is killed and his autocracy has no more ideologue to rally around. Who else can preserve the new Rome when all knowledge of the old Rome rests in one central authority? Just as my namesake campaigned in Gaul before he crossed the Rubicon, so have I campaigned, and will cross the Colorado. - Caesar I won't go into as much detail with the minor factions, but the richness of the game and the flavour it adds to this theme deserve some recognition. Brotherhood of Steel: dying out because of attachment to isolationism Boomers: have spent generations literally blowing up the outside world to prevent it coming in, but must change in the face of the growing threat of the new world The Kings: literally Elvis impersonators, I guess that can get a bit limited in scope once strangers with seriously different plans for your home start showing up en masse Great Khans: unable to move past the tragedy they faced at Bitter Springs Van Graffs: still acting like New Reno thugs even after being forced out Powder Gangers: continuing to commit the criminal behaviors that got them hard time in the first place, despite a desire for something more among some Followers of the Apocalypse: I don't really know lol White Gloves: internal conflict over how to address cannibalistic tradition Omertas: unable to move past their tribal barbarism and treachery Chairmen: not sure, Benny was trying to raise the Chairmen to a higher position in New Vegas but in doing so he (according to the wikia wiki) had to violate the code of honour of the family against betrayal Enclave Remnants: speaks for itself All the companion quests involve moving on from the past in more personal terms. Boone: avenges his wife and has to come to terms with his involvement in the Bitter Springs massacre Arcade Gannon: has to settle his inner conflict caused by his Enclave origins and his own identity Cass: gain closure on how her caravan got destroyed and move past her tethering to the business Veronica: stops running away and decides to try and settle her problems with the Brotherhood's modus operandi Lily: settle the psychological trauma of being a nightkin triggered by memories of her grandchildren Raul: something about his old career, to my shame I've never had him as a companion ED-E: enclave Rex: dog brain bad And this is where the Courier comes in. I saw a post on the Fallout subreddit while searching for other opinions on the content of this post that described, in the aforementioned Hegelian dialectic, the Courier as the antithesis. Unlike every other bloody thing in the game, the Courier doesn't really have a past. Well, he got shot in the head, but he deals with that pretty quickly and begins involving himself in the affairs of every single person, place and organization in the game with a fresh perspective and radically alters the future of the Mojave as a result. I can't say he "solved" the problems given the branching decision-making inherent in the game but the Courier is the catalyst for the new direction that the Mojave wasteland must go in after a long stalemate caused by people clinging to the past. What are your thoughts?