A massive Megamod for Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout: New California adds an all new campaign, basically a small game, replete with 16,000 lines of voice acting, a full worldspace, and expands on the lore as a prequel to the iconic franchise. All for free.
*Images above are predominantly made by me, a team member, or a contributing artist. Very few assets original to the game are shown unless retextured (with newly baked normals) or in some way meaningfully modified.
Fallout: New California is difficult to describe. Starting out as a Mod for New Vegas, the title "mod" doesn't really do it justice. Made predominantly by me, Brandan Lee, and my partner Rick Hukkanen, from January 2012 til May 2018, FNC is a massive total-conversion add-on, serving as an Unofficial Prequel to Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment's 2010 classic Fallout: New Vegas.
It starts out with a brand new intro video launched from the Main Menu (embedded above), allowing you to choose between starting New Vegas and New California.
And the branching narrative choices just begin compounding from there.
You play as a Vault Dweller, an adopted resident of Vault 18, catching a Vault Ball on the last big game of the season. You fateful decision to tackle or dodge Johnny Matheson, the tank of your later party of companions, either sets you down a path of getting sent to the infirmary with a busted leg or praised as a winner by the enigmatic Coach Bragg (played by Roger Owen.)
As a Scientist under the tutelage of the legendary Wasteland Scout Dr. Kevin Rossman (played by Duke Standberry) you spend you night limping across Vault 18 repairing terminals and reading about the lore, while conversing with other nerdy technician type NPCs and the Vault's assortment of Robots and central AI.
As a Warrior, you meet all the NPCs and are treated like a star player, praised by most, you're viewed by suspicion by others for your proximity to John Bragg and his freaky sister down in Security. John's Pro-America rhetoric verges on cult brainwashing, and he's hogtied your fellow adopted tribal kids with his Patriotic war rhetoric.
The following night Vault 18 is attacked from with by Bragg's Patriots, revealed to be a recruitment campaign by the Enclave.
You may join the Enclave, or defend your home with the Wasteland scouts.
In either path your home is destroyed, sending you and your ragtag band of robots and friends into the Wasteland, where hours of adventures awaits with even more profound branching narrative decisions that affect the fate of the world, and who you are as a human being.
You can become a hero. Or a monster. Or something in between.
As a story, the New California plot line wraps up so much in it that it's overwhelming. The lore is deep and the dialogue enriching, from intro to the ending credits.
It's also a 6 year long journey for me as a developer and as a person.
You're not just seeing game assets in those images, but me growing up. I came into my own through this project, and learned how to do what I do through this. By learning from my successes and my mistakes.
Whatever we do after FNC will always be informed by it.
People ask me why I made this for so many years.
The obvious reason is because I wanted to make games and no one would hire me! XD I was too young and inexperienced, so I had to teach myself everything from story writing to 3D art. I can now hold my own with industry veterans and not skip a beat, largely thanks to the years sunk into this project, treating it like a 2nd job.
But the honest answer is because FNC told a story, and it meant something to me. I'll never be able to replicate it or explain it, but to everyone who played it, it's become very special to them too.
People write fan fiction about our characters, they role play in our world, they send us impassioned fan mail and donations -- it's a very rewarding experience seeing our creativity and sacrifice inspire other artists and developers.
So while FNC will never make money, and it will never be a "game" in its own right, it was worth it to me.
Not just for the contacts I've made and praise we've won, but because it was extremely fulfilling.
I hope you try it out, or watch one of the hundreds of lets plays that are sure to explode after release this year.