Fallout: New California (originally Project Brazil) is a fan-made modification for the 2010 action role-playing video game Fallout: New Vegas developed by Brandan Lee and Rick Hukkanen, along with many members of the Fallout Modding Community. New California serves as an unofficial prequel to New Vegas.
The mod was initially supposed to release in an episodic format with the first instalment released on May 31, 2013, and the second on December 15 of that year. In the years that followed the mod was reimagined as a single game which was released to other modders in a private beta in spring 2018. On October 23, 2018, the complete mod (BETA 2.0 - Codename: Project Brazil) was released to the public and great critical acclaim. Patches have continued to be uploaded since release and will continue to be released until the final version of the mod when development will permanently stop at 1.0.
Although technically a total-conversion mod, Fallout: New California works as a separate campaign from the base game; players select which game they wish to play when starting a new game. The mod features a standalone storyline set in 2260, 21 years before the events of New Vegas and 19 years after the events of Fallout 2.The player takes on the role of the Star Player an adopted resident of Vault 18 and the game follows his journey through the vault and the wasteland of The Pass, still suffering from the events of Fallout 2 several decades previously. FNC takes considerable inspiration from the classic Fallout games, sharing world space with both and placing a focus on player choice, with branching storylines and near total player freedom.
Project lead Brandan Lee of Radian-Helix Media, LLC was inspired by the games Fallout and Fallout 2 from Black Isle Studios. With the help of friends in the film, TV, radio, and live theatre industries, Lee set out to create a modification of Fallout 3 for people who appreciated the style of the original Black Isle games. Eventually, with the release of Fallout: New Vegas in 2010, development of the mod was converted and moved into the updated New Vegas engine with help from Lead Programmer Rick Hukkanen. Lee states that he headed up a team of three people, with occasional community donations, who would spend four years creating the modification; eventually ending up with 13,000 lines of dialogue from twenty different actors and three hours of gameplay for the first installment alone. Lee christened the mod "Project Brazil" partly due to inspiration by the Terry Gilliam film Brazil , and as a nod to Black Isle Entertainment through the Irish myth of the mythological island of Brasil, although this would later be changed to New California.
Project Brazil 's First Installment assets were created between December 2011 and May 2013. New California was then created from January 2015 to May 2018. Lee created a worldspace the size of that found in Bethesda's Fallout 3 and wrote the dialog in tandem with level and character design. Freddie Farnsworth joined in January 2013 as lead project technician; applying a global NavMesh, and re-rendering the level of detail mesh on a computer custom built for the task. Although as of 2018, most assets, especially those of Vault 18, have been remade.
New California is no longer being developed as a multi-installment franchise and is instead a single, continuous gameplay experience. The mod is currently nearing the 1.0 release date and only the mod is technically completely playable with multiple endings and each player choice impacting the game world.
As a mod New California takes gameplay elements from Bethesda's Fallout games but follows a style closer to Interplay's classic Fallout games, with focus being placed on Roleplaying over shooter mechanics and free choice - for example player's S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats have a greater impact on dialogue choices than the base game. Like with Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, New Californa has a radio station with two DJs who comment on the actions of the player as the story progresses further, however, the mod includes music from the 60s and 70s in addition to 50s and 40s style music associated with the franchise.
New California is a large, overarching story that focuses on you and your choices to affect the whole of the New California wasteland, set 60 years before Fallout: New Vegas, the player must focus on multiple different groups and factions, culminating in a huge decision to determine the fate of the wasteland. Following the decision, the player wanders for years, and 20 years later, while working under a fake name and the guise of a courier, is shot in the head and so beings the story of Fallout: New Vegas.
Reviews for the mod have been very positive. The official Obsidian Entertainment (developer of New Vegas), and the official Fallout Facebook both praised the mod and recommended it to New Vegas players. It was praised mostly for its "Out of the box" compatibility, strong storyline, professional voice-overs, and content. It was 9th on Mod DB's Top Mods of 2013 list.