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It’s crazy to think about what Fallout New Vegas could have been. Despite being one of the most highly regarded and celebrated games ever made, there were a handful of folks at Obsidian that wanted the FNV to be a more satirical experience in line with the old Fallout games.
Ultimately, the team decided this wouldn’t fit in with the serious tone and themes that they were going for. Rather than axing the silly content altogether, though, they compromised by allowing a lot of it to be optional. That’s how Wild Wasteland was born.
Rather than being a trait that adjusts some stats, it completely changes the feel of the game. It doesn’t drop the serious nature of New Vegas altogether, but it does add in a whole bunch of fun references and easter eggs for you to find.
I’ve taken the liberty of compiling every single possible encounter that Wild Wasteland comes with, as well as what those encounters are a reference to. There’s a lot and I’m not a pop-culture guru, so I’m sorry if I miss one here and there.
So, with that being said, here’s your definitive Fallout New Vegas Wild Wasteland guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
Wild Wasteland is a trait, meaning you have the option of picking it at the start of the game during the character creation process. If you don’t take it here, or at the point of no return out of Goodsprings, you will not be able to obtain it again.
Wild Wasteland adds a large number of references and easter eggs to the game, including exclusive weapons like the Alien Blaster from Fallout 3.
No major game components will be changed if you take Wild Wasteland. The story and all mainline events still play out the same way.
- Perk Location: Goodsprings.
- Affected Quests: None.
- Level Requirement: None.
- Exclusive Gear: Alien Blaster/Holy Hand Grenades
How to Get Wild Wasteland in Fallout New Vegas
Wild Wasteland is a playthrough-altering perk. So, it’s only natural that you get to choose it at the start of a new playthrough.
I say perk, but Wild Wasteland is a trait. Traits are those pseudo-perks that you get to pick when you talk to Doc Mitchell at the start of the game. You get to choose two of them, so you can take Wild Wasteland, as well as a stat-altering one if you want to.
If you have any sort of alternative start mods installed, you’ll be able to get Wild Wasteland whenever the game prompts you to pick your traits. Whenever you’re presented with that long list of starting traits, scroll down to the bottom and you should be able to choose it.
Wild Wasteland Missables
The first major missable weapon with Wild Wasteland is the Alien Blaster. If you don’t have the WW trait, you’ll encounter a merc camp instead of the alien crash site.
These mercenaries will have a unique Gauss Rifle called the YCS/186. This weapon is incredibly powerful in its own right, plus it won’t permanently run out of ammo like the Alien Blaster.
However, the Blaster is a better weapon and a hell of a lot of fun to use. It’s almost worth taking Wild Wasteland solely for getting your hands on it.
Holy Hand Grenades
The second, and only other worthwhile missable from not taking Wild Wasteland is the Holy Hand Grenades in Camp Searchlight.
Without the trait, the grenades will be replaced by Mini Nukes, which is a big step down compared to the situation with the Alien Blaster.
Aside from being a fun easter egg, the grenades are incredibly powerful. They’re more akin to shots from a Fat Man than actual Frag Grenades. They can single-handedly win you some hard fights on higher difficulties, including the final battle against Legate Lanius.
While they’re not enough to justify taking Wild Wasteland alone, they’re something worth considering.
Fallout New Vegas Wild Wasteland Encounters
Base Game Wild Wasteland Encounters
The Aliens and Alien Blaster
This is arguably the biggest and most important difference between Wild Wasteland and vanilla Fallout New Vegas. Without the trait, you won’t be able to get the Alien Blaster. Instead, you’ll have access to a unique Gauss Rifle called the YCS/186.
You can find the Alien Crash site just North of Horowitz Farmstead outside of Vegas. It’ll be fairly hard to miss it given the classic Fallout 3 Alien Saucer, as well as the three Aliens that are running around in a panic.
There are two regular Aliens and a remarkably tanky Alien Captain. Once the Captain spots you, all three become hostile. However, if you take the Captain out before the other two, they won’t turn hostile at all.
The Captain is holding the Alien Blaster as well as about 200 Alien Power Cells. These are the only Alien Power Cells in the game, so use the Blaster sparingly.
Down a Well
This next Wild Wasteland encounter is a reference within a reference. First, it’s a reference to a quest from Fallout 2, but that quest itself is a reference to the 1954 Lassie TV show.
At some point during your travels with Rex, he’ll randomly approach you with an “aroo!”. The Courier, being a dog whisperer, deciphers this and determines that someone has fallen a well. Rex then, somehow, manages to relay the location of this well to the Courier so that they can mark it on their map.
Once you arrive and enter the well, you’ll find a child’s skeleton, a Rawhide Cowboy Hat, a Super Stimpack, 200 BBs, and the Abilene Kid Le BB Gun. The BB Gun is useless, obviously, but it’s not a Wild Wasteland exclusive.
If you don’t have the WW trait, it’ll be on a shelf in a nearby shack.
This is the first in a long line of Monty Python references buried into Wild Wasteland in Fallout New Vegas.
I wasn’t a Monty Python fan myself the first time I ever played New Vegas. The comedy troupe was before my time. While I’m more than familiar with their work now, you could imagine my utter confusion upon being attacked by a group of three old women.
What makes it worse is that they attack you when you leave Cerulean Robotics. If you’re familiar with that building and Fisto, then you know what goes down.
The women are called Irate Ida, Rancorous Ruth, and Malefic Maud. They’re wearing Pre-War Spring Outfits that are just pink dresses, and they’re collectively using a mix of Switchblades and Rolling Pins.
This entire situation is a reference to the “Hell’s Grannies” Monty Python sketch in which a bunch of old ladies goes around attacking defenseless young men. I don’t know if I’d call the Courier defenseless, but you get the idea.
Crystal Skull Revised
This is a direct reference to a specific scene in Indiana Jones 4. You know, the really bad one. It’s a revised ending to the film that, arguably, would have made the whole thing a much better watch (I like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but I can’t just tell people that openly).
You should encounter this Wild Wasteland event pretty early on in your playthrough. It takes place on the road leading Southeast out of Goodsprings. You’ll encounter a busted-up fridge lying on the ground.
Inside, there’s a skeleton as well as a Suave Gambler Hat that coincidentally looks exactly like Indiana Jone’s hat. This is a reference to the scene in Crystal Skull where Indy survives a nuclear blast by hopping in a fridge.
Too Close, Shamus
This reference is far too niche and old for me, but there might be a few of you out there that get it.
During I Put a Spell on You in Camp McCarran, if you tell Captain Curtis that you know about the mole, you’ll be ambushed by him while staking out the control tower. If you have Wild Wasteland, he’ll exclaim “you’re getting too close, Shamus” before going to town on you.
This is a reference to an old-school game called Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen Sandiego. The game was released in 1989 and seemed to be pretty niche. Still, it had a fan amongst Obsidian’s development team.
The Princess Bride
This is another reference that nods to both a quest in Fallout 2 and an external piece of media that inspired that Fallout 2 quest.
In this case, I’m talking about the Rodents of Unusually Large Size that you can encounter in certain locations around the Mojave, notably in Broc Flower Cave. These rats are about twice the size of regular rats and are a nod to The Princess Bride and the R.O.U.S (rodents of unusually large size) that inhabit that world.
In Fallout 2, the town of Klamath had an issue with large rats called R.U.S.
A New Hope
I’m surprised that there aren’t more Star Wars Wild Wasteland encounters, given that there are Star Wars easter eggs in the vanilla game.
There is one, though, that can be found by the burned-down houses in Nipton.
Once you deal with the Legion there, you can do a little bit of exploring. During that time, you might come across a pair of named skeletons. These skeletons are called Owen and Beru.
These are the names of Luke Skywalker’s adoptive parents in Episode IV, A New Hope. They were killed by Imperial Stormtroopers and their home was burned, so the skeletons are in a clear reference to that.
More Monty Python
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is what got me into Monty Python in general, and this is a reference to that film. It also involves some missable unique grenades, just like with the Alien Blaster. If you don’t have Wild Wasteland, you’ll be able to get two Mini Nukes, instead.
In Camp Searchlight, there’s a church. In the basement of that church, you’ll be able to find three Holy Hand Grenades, provided you have Wild Wasteland. We rarely get unique explosives in a Fallout game, although the only physical difference between these and regular grenades is the white cross painted on each one’s side.
However, the Holy Hand Grenades explosions are more akin to Mini Nukes than fragmentation grenades, and the damage reflects that. Only getting three of them is a shame, but they’re fun while they last.
Even More Monty Python
The Fallout New Vegas dev team were massive Monty Python fans because we’ve got yet another reference to them. This is more subtle than giving the player three throwable nukes, though, which is a shame.
This particular Wild Wasteland encounter can be found in Cottonwood Cove. Specifically, just outside of the Cottonwood Cove HQ.
On the wall of the HQ, you’ll see some spray paint depicting a phrase in Latin. It reads, “Romanes Eunt Domus”, which is the same misuse of Latin that is the focus of a sketch in Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
For those interested, it is meant to say “Romans go home.” Instead, it translates to “people called Romanes, they go, the house”.
During the quest, you’ll end up finding a dead investigator in one of the Ultra-Luxe hotel rooms. If you decide to do a bit of snooping, you’ll discover that the dead guy’s name is Crusoe, which is a reference to the actor that plays the lead character in CSI: Miami David Caruso.
Given that the cops on the Vegas Strip are robots, it would be a massive missed opportunity to not squeeze at least one Robocop reference in there. The devs agree because having Wild Wasteland will change the dialogue that some Securitrons give during one of the outcomes of the previously mentioned Beyond the Beef.
If you decide to frame Heck Gunderson for the disappearance of his son, the Securitron arresting him will say “Your move, creep” and “dead or alive, you’re coming with me”. Both of these are lines that are delivered in the 1987 Robocop film.
Ron Burgandy Reborn
Any avid listeners of Radio New Vegas might recognize one or two of the lines that Mr. New Vegas uses to introduce pieces of music. Specifically, the lines “You know, I tried to measure my charisma on a Vit-o-Matic Vigor Tester once. The machine burst into flames.” and “stay classy, New Vegas.”
Both of these are remarkably similar to lines spoken by Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgandy in the first Anchorman film.
It took 12 Wild Wasteland encounters to get one that isn’t a reference. At least, it’s not a reference that I can find. It may be a nod to the giant nuke in the center of Fallout 3’s Megaton, but there’s not much that points to that being the case.
Either way, you’ll be able to find this event Northwest of The Devil’s Throat. It’ll be pretty hard to miss, given that it’s a massive undetonated nuke called “The One.” Ominous.
The area around the bomb is irradiated, but if you get close, you’ll be able to scavenge a healthy amount of energy ammo from it.
Four-Ball Time Travel
This is a niche reference that was put in Fallout New Vegas for very few, a select group of people. It’s a nod to a failed game development project known as Zybourne Clock. Yeah, I hadn’t ever heard of it either. It was an attempt to make a steampunk RPG run by a group of users from the Something Awful forum. Keep in mind that these people had absolutely no development experience, hence the project failing.
One of the Obsidian devs was either on the forums at the time, or on the actual development team itself. The NV reference isn’t just to the game itself, but one of its characters, and how Zybourne Clock explained time travel.
During the unmarked quest Barton the Fink, Barton Thorn will beg the player to save his girlfriend from some Geckos.
With Wild Wasteland, when you get towards the outlook where Barton’s girlfriend is meant to be, you’ll encounter a dead prospector called Johnny. There are five aces on a table next to him, as well as four balls lined up on the edge of the cliff.
No, not the wimpy little green aliens of the Fallout universe. Instead, this is a reference to Ridley Scott’s Aliens movie franchise.
At the very end of the game, at the Battle for Hoover Dam, you can listen to the NCR Emergency Radio broadcast. Typically, all this contains is information regarding troop movements and the like. However, if you have Wild Wasteland, you’ll occasionally hear an NCR Trooper yell “game over man! Game over,” and “they’re coming out of the walls, man! They’re coming outta the damn walls.” Both of these are iconic lines from Aliens.
As a little bonus, during the same battle, you can encounter a dead Trooper named Private Hudson. Private Hudson is also the name of the Aliens character responsible for the “game over” quote (although, Hudson’s actor Bill Paxton improvised the line).
This small Wild Wasteland encounter takes place during the King’s Gambit quest. At some point, you’ll end up meeting with Ambassador Crocker to discuss Pacer. During this conversation, you can inform the Ambassador that Pacer has a heart condition and a drug addiction, insinuating that he can sign off on an assassination.
In response to this, however, Crocker exclaims “Damn it, I’m an ambassador, not a doctor!” This is a reference to Leonard McCoy from Star Trek.
Donnie and Marie
Here’s a reference that’s from way before my time. If you have Wild Wasteland and tell head-Fiend Motor-Runner that you’re there to kill him, he’ll refer to his two dogs as Donnie and Marie. This is a callback to a variety show that aired back in the late 70s.
If you decide to pick up the Pimp-Boy 3000 while using Wild Wasteland, you’ll get a disco sound effect when you swap your regular Pip-Boy out for it.
If you get on the bad side of the North Gate Securitrons, they’ll repeatedly shout “Exterminate!” while trying to kill you. You don’t need to be a Doctor Who fans to understand that reference.
They’re a Witch!
Once again, we’ve got a loving nod to a Monty Python sketch. In this Holy Grail scene, a village is trying to convince a soldier to burn a woman at the stake for being a witch. To back up their claim, one of the villagers explains that she turned him into a Newt but that he “got better.”
If you’re vilified in Freeside, some of the residents will shout something along those same lines at you, although it takes some work to get that level of reputation.
While traveling around Freeside with Cass, she may occasionally be catcalled by members of the Kings. If you have Wild Wasteland, her response to these comments and whistles will be “ain’t nothing but a hound dog,” as opposed to her typical, more aggressive, rebuttal.
Dead Money Wild Wasteland Encounters
In a complete break away from the serious, gloomy tension-filled atmosphere of Dead Money, Dog and God will gleefully chow down on Ghost People while saying “OM NOM NOM” if you have Wild Wasteland.
Army of Darkness
This Wild Wasteland Dead Money encounter is a reference to the 1992 film Army of Darkness. When Dean Domino kills his first Ghost person, he’ll say “he’s not dead… it’s a trick, get an axe.” A nod to a similar line from the movie.
More Dr. Who
The phrase “I AM NOT YOUR MUMMY” is scrawled on one of the walls near where you trigger the Gala Event. This is a reference to The Empty Child episode of Doctor Who’s first season.
Honest Hears Wild Wasteland Encounters
Here’s a reference to the Fallout community itself. If you remember way back to Doc Mitchell’s Rorschach Test at the beginning of the game, you might recall an inkblot that looked a lot like two bears high fiving. A lot of the Fallout fanbase seemed to think so, anyway, and were enraged that was not a dialogue option you could choose.
Fast forward past a popular mod that added that option in, and Obsidian added a Wild Wasteland NPC called Two-Bears-High-Fiving into Honest Hearts. You know, as a way to say sorry.
During Rite of Passage, White Bird will tell you to “Take drugs! Kill a bear.” This is a nod to an old meme format that was popular around the time Honest Hearts was being developed.
Old World Blues Wild Wasteland Encounters
The Venture Bros
The first Old World Blues Wild Wasteland reference is towards the Walking Eyes from the Venture Bros cartoon. The cartoon ran from 2003 to 2018, with the Walking Eye appearing in several episodes throughout the series. You can find four entities inspired by these walking eyes in the Magnetohydraulics Complex.
Further, while strolling around Old World Blues, you might just hear Doctor 0 on the intercom telling the Lobotomites to clean the eyes.
Gremlins, but Worse
This Wild Wasteland easter egg was a nasty surprise for me. If you’ve ever seen the film Gremlins, you’ll be familiar with Stripe. Well, you can find the Fallout version of Stripe in Higgs Village.
Rather than being a Gremlin, though, it’s an Alpha Deathclaw scaled down to be small enough to fit into a dog house. It still retains all of its regular stats, so have fun with that.
Explode and Die
I couldn’t find any source material for this one, so sorry if I’m not aware of the specific niche piece of media this is a reference to.
While you’re inside the X-7a “Left Field” Artillery Launch, you can hear an interference-riddled radio message. The end of the message is audible, though. It says, “and then explode and die.” It sounds like a reference, but I’m not cool enough to understand it.
I’m sure you’re aware of the Dogs Playing Poker painting. It’s super famous and pops up all the time in pop culture, including Fallout New Vegas.
If you explore the X-8 Research Center with Wild Wasteland, you’ll come across a live reenactment of the scene with five Police Cyberdogs sitting around a poker table.
There’s another small encounter in the X-8 Research Center if you decide to explore its high school testing area. You’ll see the word “Wolverines” spelled out on the wall. It won’t be there without Wild Wasteland.
I don’t get this one, either, but I can take an educated guess and assume it’s a reference to the high school that one of the devs attended.
Snow White Was Here
Okay, this one I know!
In the Construction Site on the northwest part of the map, there are seven Garden Gnomes dotted around some large crystals, pickaxes, and lanterns. This is a fairly self-explanatory easter egg.
Even More, Dr. Who
This is another Dr. Who reference, this time to the Vashta Nerada.
The Trauma Override Harness enemies are littered around the Big Empty. Occasionally, you’ll hear them say “Hey, who turned out the lights?” which is the same line uttered by the aforementioned Vashta Nerada in Season 4 Episode 8.
If you head North East of the BIG MT West Tunnel, you’ll come across an abandoned truck with a license plate reading Rokit 88.
This is a reference to an old 80s film called The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. If you’ve seen that film and get the reference, I’d be super impressed.
I’m not sure if this one is a reference to anything, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it was. When you’re speaking with Dr. Mobious, he’s supposed to mention the implementation of “Plan C”. If you have Wild Wasteland, he’ll call it “Plan 9”, instead.
Kilroy Was Here
Does this count as a reference? I’m not sure. Kilroy Was Here is an old meme. A really old meme. It originated as a popular form of graffiti for GIs during World War II. The very same graffiti can be found on the exterior wall of The Think Tank.
Lonesome Road Wild Wasteland Encounters
The Seymour episode of Futurama left a permanent impression on my young psyche, so having to relive it isn’t fun. Obsidian doesn’t seem to agree, though, because they’ve included a petrified dog by the name of Seymour inside of Lonesome Road. You can find the pooch in the Cave of the Abbadon.
Fist of the North Star
Sometimes, the best easter egg references are the simplest. If you have Wild Wasteland, the unique Deathclaw gauntlet Fist of Rawr will instead be called.
I’ve spent far too long trying to figure out if this is a nod to something with absolutely no results to show for it.
Inside Third Street Municipal Building, there’s a terminal. With Wild Wasteland, that terminal is automatically unlocked using the password “Guest”. I have no idea what this means, but maybe you do.
As one last additional Wild Wasteland easter egg, the game’s final credits (not the ending slides) will be changed, for the better, I might add.
Question: Is Wild Wasteland Worth it in Fallout New Vegas?
Answer: There’s no real downside to taking Wild Wasteland in Fallout New Vegas. All the trait does is add in several easter eggs and affect two possible unique weapons. It’s worth playing through the game with it at least once.
Question: Does Wild Wasteland Change Anything in Fallout New Vegas?
Answer: Aside from a unique weapon encounter, Wild Wasteland doesn’t affect anything major in Fallout New Vegas. The main quest will play out the same, and New Vegas gameplay will not change.
Question: What Does Wild Wasteland do in Fallout New Vegas?
Answer: Wild Wasteland adds in a large number of easter eggs and references, including two unique weapons and a handful of unique dialogue.
Phew, that’s a whole lot of information to take in. I’ve done my best to identify every single reference, but there’s no way I managed to get them all. If I’ve missed one that you recognize, I’m sorry. I’m far from an encyclopedia of all things nice pop culture.
That being said, I hope you’ve found this Fallout New Vegas Wild Wasteland guide helpful. Aside from the encounters themselves, there’s not too much to know. You get the trait at the start of the game, it comes with a handful of missable loot, and that’s about it.
If you’ve never done a Wild Wasteland playthrough of NV, it’s more than worth creating a fresh save for. It’s something that everyone should experience at least once.