Fallout: New California is a prequel mod for Bethesda Softworks' Fallout: New Vegas that has been in development for almost a decade, and it has finally moved into the beta stage. While Bethesda developed Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, in addition to publishing both titles, it was Obsidian Entertainment that developed Fallout: New Vegas - the fourth main, but first non-numbered, installment in the franchise - which released in 2010.
Obsidian had hoped to return to the ongoing series and develop another Fallout game in the future, possibly even a sequel to New Vegas, but Bethesda had other plans. They went into development on Fallout 4 not too long after New Vegas came out and eventually released the game in 2015. Since then, there hasn't been much news on the future of the series, aside from routine updates and new content additions to Fallout 4, of course, as well as sporadic rumors about Fallout 5 being in various stages of development. But soon, fans may be able to return to the world of New Vegas in an upcoming prequel mod that has been in the works for a long time.
Fallout: New California project leader Brandan Lee provided an update on the prequel mod on Mod DB last week, saying that the Beta 200 is fully playable from start to finish and they are nearing the final stages of completion.
"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. 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."
The Fallout: New Vegas prequel mod is much more than a simple off-shoot; it contains an entirely new story, with a new character and a whopping 14,000 lines of new dialogue, which is about one-fourth of the amount of dialogue that was included in Fallout 4. That's a significant amount for something that's not exactly profitable. The only problem is - aside from various bugs and glitches, of course - is that the game's story is "so replete with branching narratives, it gets extremely dense." Right now, Fallout: New California contains several branching storylines that can lead to 12 different endings. They are looking to streamline everything, but in the end, there's enough content in this mod to roughly equate to one-fourth of a triple-A game.
Given how much effort has gone into this passion project, as well as how much new content New Vegas fans will be getting, it seems the nine years it's taken to get to this stage was well worth it. Perhaps Fallout: New California will reinvigorate interest in Obsidian to pursue a New Vegas 2. If not, at least it will tide fans over until Bethesda eventually decides to return to the Fallout franchise sometime in the future.