Changes in the responsible developer favored the launch of New Vegas as a standalone
Launched in 2010 as a standalone Fallout franchise, New Vegas almost arrived as the first DLC for Fallout 3. Commercial success was in Bethesda's hands, but a change in plans about the game's developer resulted in a turnaround in development.

In an interview to honor the 25th anniversary of the RPG series, Todd Howard, executive producer at Bethesda, confirmed the intention to release New Vegas as an additional set.

The plans took place during the creation of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and were motivated by capitalizing on the success of the third canon game.

“We knew the folks at Obsidian, and it was kind of immediate. There's only one group that we'd really like to do that," Howard said. “Actually, [New Vegas] started out as a big expansion pack for Fallout 3.” However, he felt "strongly" that he should publish the title as an independent project.

It was then that Obsidian received all of Fallout 3's engine and expertise, as well as its intellectual assets. New Vegas director Josh Sawyer confirmed the understanding of the game's proposal and reinforced the development of a project without the need to reinvent the concept of the original game.

Interestingly, according to a 2015 survey by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (via Wikipedia), Fallout 3 and New Vegas each sold approximately 12 million units.
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