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Fallout: New California is a mod for Fallout: New Vegas that has been in production for almost a decade. The project is meant to be a prequel to New Vegas and has seen many tweaks and iterations since it began in 2009 as “Project Brazil.”
In the most recent update, lead programmer Branden Lee reports that the latest beta is complete and will be released soon.
“So after many years, not only is BETA 200 playable from start to end credits with no major interruptions but it’s stable and finally coming together as a finished thing,” said Lee. “We still have bugs, and we still have defects, but it’s approaching a level of polish you’d expect from a release ready product most of the time.”
What has taken so long?
For one thing, this is not some cosmetic mod that tweaks the environment within Fallout: New Vegas, or one that adds new weapons and armor. Fallout: New California has been intended from the beginning to be a unique experience with its own branching storyline and side quests.
The game takes place on a newly created map based on Black Bear Mountain National Forest in California. The mod has an all-new radio station called “New California Republic Radio.” It also features more than 14,000 lines of new dialogue. These things alone are pretty impressive coming from a small team of fans who work on this project in their spare time.
Then there is that wildly branching main quest. Lee describes the programming of the campaign as “a labyrinth the density of a neutron star, it’s just a web of branching conditions and checks on unexpected player behavior.”
For now, the beta is still being tested internally. Lee shied away from saying when it would be ready for public testing, just saying, “You can't play it quite yet. But soon.”
It is encouraging to see such an ambitious mod for Fallout so close to completion. Another big Fallout project that aimed to recreate Fallout 3 as a Fallout 4 mod was cancelled last month thanks to the legal complications of importing the original voice acting into the mod.
Project Brazil was previously given the thumbs up by Bethesda and uses its own dialogue, so it is not likely to run into any legal trouble.
Update 4/11/18: Branden Lee contacted TechSpot to correct something that has been misreported at several media outlets.
According to Lee, Fallout: New California has only been in development for six years, not the nine that is being reported. The idea for the mod was not even discussed publicly until 2010, and he and Rick Hukkanen did not start working on it until 2012. Lee's full statement is below.
"[I] really gotta nip this 2009 thing in the bud, cuz that is nonsense. I had designs online for the idea in 2010 (September to October) but Rick and I didn't actually start development until 2012. So we've been in development for 6 years, not 9."
We stand corrected and anxiously await the final release.