Did you find Fallout 3's Karma system less than spectacular? Obsidian is looking to address that with Fallout: New Vegas' "Reputation" mechanic.
Fallout 3 was a great game in many respects, but one of the parts where it fell short was how the game handled morality - more specifically, how characters reacted to you. Sure, you lost Karma for robbing that one guy and shooting him in the face, but his next-door neighbor still greeted you with a friendly smile. And did more than two or three people treat you any differently if you blew up Megaton?
Karma isn't going away in Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas, but there's a new addition now: The Reputation system will affect how any given group or faction treats you depending on what you do for (or to) them. In practice, Obsidian is aiming for a system where your standing with a group will have "real-world implications and will affect the dialogue options you are given, the quests available to you and how people treat you in the world."
"With reputation, it's really supposed to represent what people know about you," says New Vegas Project Lead Josh Sawyer. "It is important to us that your standing [with] factions change, and as factions react to you, you get a palpable benefit from it."
Every action you take will change your reputation modifier, whether positive or negative, and that will change how the NPCs in the game treat you.
"This can manifest in a number of different ways," Sawyer says. "People might give you free things, they might give you discounts at places. If you terrorize a town, they might actually be terrified enough to give you a tribute. If you screw around with one of the bigger groups, like Caesar's Legion or NCR, they might send hit squads after you.
"It's not just good and evil, it's basically whatever you do with that group so you can have a lot of different relationships with different groups in the game."
To read more, check out The Escapist Editor-in-Chief Russ Pitts' preview of Fallout: New Vegas.