While many fans are ecstatic about the announcement of Fallout 76, some are nervous about the rumors that it might be a (gasp) multiplayer title. These fans have taken to Twitter and YouTube with the hashtag #SavePlayer1, referencing a post from the official Bethesda blog in December 2017 affirming the company’s commitment to narrative single-player games in an increasingly multiplayer world. Even the official trailer for Fallout 76 has already been flooded with #SavePlayer1 comments.
The fans of #SavePlayer1 may not get their wish with Fallout 76, but they can find some solace for their broken hearts with Fallout: New California.
Fallout: New California is a mod of 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas made by a team of amateur developers and headed by Brandan Lee. With the blessing of both Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda Studios, this unofficial expansion takes place shortly after the events of Fallout 2, in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California. The expansion follows a resident of Vault 18 who’s embroiled in a civil war when one of your own is discovered to be a secret member of the Enclave, an enemy faction in the Fallout series
The second installment, which is set to release on October 23, will feature the growing New California Republic and the remnants of the Master’s super mutant army from the original Fallout. Because of Fallout: New California’s focus on lore established in the first two games, it’s the game that many hardcore fans of the franchise wanted Fallout 3 to be.
As fan projects go, it’s a remarkable undertaking. Fallout: New California has been in development from seven years, amassing 16,000 lines of dialogue and a 20-30 hour campaign, by Lee’s estimation. Few mods in gaming history have had this level of dedication for a product that won’t generate any money for the makers. Everyone who worked on Fallout: New California did so as volunteers and the mod will be freely available to anyone who owns a copy of Fallout: New Vegas.
According to Lee, his team worked closely with the team behind Fallout: The Frontier. Fallout: The Frontier, another fan project headed by Andrew Lee (no relation) and mod of Fallout: New Vegas set after its parent game, follows a team of New California Republic soldiers who are exiled to the far northern territories in Oregon by President Aaron Kimball. Together, Fallout: New California and Fallout: The Frontier are the bread of a fan sandwich trilogy that places Fallout: New Vegas right in the middle of its timeline.
If you’re interested in testing the final installment of the game, beta sign-ups are planned for July.
As a lifelong fan of the series, seeing this project come to fruition feels like coming home to a family reunion. I’m actually looking forward to the possibly of Fallout 76 being a multiplayer survival shooter set in rural America, but California will always hold a special place in my heart as the great wellspring of the Fallout mythos.
Plus, Fallout: New California begins with a football game. For a series that’s all about Americana, you can’t get any more American than that.