What happened to the ending of Fallout: New Vegas?

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Despite the widely lauded story and player choice in Fallout: New Vegas, the ending was a disappointment. Siding with Caesar, House, Yes Man, the New California Republic, or doing your own thing got you a slideshow of narrated results and dumped into the end credits. That was it. You couldn’t even continue wandering the wastes for random adventuring. It was doubly perplexing because a similar ending in the original Fallout 3 was soundly criticized and later updated to allow gaming past the main quest’s finish. How did Obsidian drop the ball with New Vegas?

Chris Avellone admitted to Eurogamer that it was a missed opportunity. The studio originally planned to have post-story content, but they just ran out of development time. It wasn’t going to be anything fancy, but the player would’ve been able to go on walkabout and some NPCs would even comment on the character’s choices. The threat of adding more bugs to an already error-prone game, and the prospect of wasting resources on something that might not even matter to players was a significant roadblock. The idea of adding this feature with one of the DLC packs was suggested, but the plan was ultimately shot down.

“I even offered to pay for one of the milestones myself to allow for additional polish time on existing content, but that was refused because they didn’t want to extend the release date for the DLCs.”

Thus static images, narration, then credits. But there’s something to be said for having an actual ending, rather than anticlimactic aimless exploring, followed by ennui. Always leave’em wanting more!